I recently read a rather interesting argument as to why a certain summer film is “one of this year’s best soundtracks” and began to think about where that may stand in the realm of soundtrack greats. I suppose one could argue that simply combining tracks that came out several decades ago offers a sense of familiarity and fun, but after a certain point won’t we be ultimately just hitting shuffle on the same few tracks over and over again?
To have a great soundtrack you need to be willing to gamble, to find songs that aren’t necessarily popular, but that speak to the film. With that being said, below are my top ten favorite soundtracks, what are yours?
10. Garden State
I’ll give you one minute to get all of the “pfft! Zach Braff” and “Greg! What? I…UH!” out of your system.
Ok, I counter with “Lebanese Blonde” by Thievery Corporation, Frou Frou’s “Let Go,” “Such Great Heights” by Iron & Wine, “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel, and of course, The Shins. I discovered The Shins because of this film and I regret nothing. Your argument here is invalid.
This would seem somewhat easy to understand but this particular soundtrack broke down walls and brought a lot of fantastic artists into some great light; deservedly so. Plus, it is pretty fun to sing along with.
This is probably a rather crazy selection in the eyes of most, but when you can line up Robbie Williams with James Brown, Stone Roses, The Stooges and Dusty Springfield, in a way that works so well, it is hard to imagine exactly how much time went in to making this soundtrack. I truly believe this is one underrated soundtrack.
It almost seems a given that in a movie about obscure music, and people smelling of patchouli, it had to be a great moment in movie soundtrack history. Face it, a film adaptation of a Nick Hornby book is almost always a great soundtrack. Both combined, it is. Icing on the cake: Barry Jive & The Uptown Five:
Let’s dwell on why, allow me to argue: Suicidal Tendencies, Flying Lizards, Sponge, The Cranberries, Dire Straits, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Better Than Ezra, Dishwalla, Gin Blossoms, and Coyote Shivers (Yeah, I went there). “We mustn’t dwell… no, not today. We CAN’T. Not on Rex Manning day!”
Through the 80s into the early 90s I think most people had a cassette of this laying around. Rightfully so, it is a great lineup of everything from The Band to (good) Steve Miller Band, Three Dog Night to Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones to Procol Harum and many many more. It is nostalgia in a tape.
While I don’t support his lack of clothing, any time you have Iggy Pop in the same place as Blur, Lou Reed, New Order and Brian Eno you know you have something great. The edgy compilation spoke worlds when linked to the film, but did nearly as much on its own.
3. Forrest Gump
A massive collection of fantastic music. In what was released as a two disc set (that’s 32 mp3s kids), up to this point no one had truly gone to the lengths this soundtrack undertook. CCR, Buffalo Springfield (the obligatory Vietnam scene track), The Doors, The Byrds, Harry Nilsson, and who could forget Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser,” make this an almost too easy pick.
The hooks are clearly laid out with Goldfinger ‘s take on “99 Red Balloons” and The Jam’s “In The City,” but the rest of the lineup, including The Hoff’s “Du,” are an entertaining romp only complimented by the outrageous scenes they pair with in the film. I can, and do, listen to this on repeat.
There are thirteen reasons why this is the best soundtrack. Quirky, fun, appropriate for the film, and, well, they had the balls to include (covers or not) “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Butthole Surfers and one of my favorite bands, Crash Test Dummies . This is without a doubt my go-to soundtrack and follows me every time I take a road trip.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He openly admits to loving all of these films and how excited he is for Dumb and Dumber To.