Everyone likes to say they have a soundtrack for their lives. There is a song that reminds you of how happy you were with your ex-girlfriend or one that helps you feel better.
Movie soundtracks try to evoke emotions in the films, but the process of picking the songs is more selective than the “soundtrack of our lives.”
Sometimes, songs in a movie soundtrack can only relate to the same time period or genre as the film. Some films will just use one band for their soundtracks, while others try to get as many popular artists at the time on the soundtrack. But no matter the selection of songs in the soundtrack, they always enhance the film.
Below are my favorite soundtracks of the past decade… but first, the runner ups:
“The Fall” — This film technically doesn’t have a soundtrack. Besides, the score consists of only one actual song: “Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.” The piece is used in such a powerful context, however, that it is instantly memorable.
“Shrek 2” — Say what you want about my choice, but I love this soundtrack. Pete Yorn’s cover of “Ever Fall in Love” may not be as good as The Buzzcocks’s version, but it goes well with the film. Having Eels and Counting Crows in this soundtrack makes it just fun to listen to as well.
And now for my Top 5 soundtracks of the past decade …
5. “Spider-Man 2” — The best film from the “Spider-Man” series also has the best soundtrack. With artists who were popular a few years ago (aka Maroon 5 and Train), this soundtrack is a little dated. All of the songs give a lot of weight to the themes in the film, however. Most of the songs were made specifically for the soundtrack. The soundtrack also features some score by Danny Elfman.
Best Songs: “Gifts and Curses” by Yellowcard and “Hold On” by Jet
4. “Control” — The soundtrack for “Control” is mainly British Punk, but for a film about Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, it isn’t that surprising. Besides Joy Division songs, New Order (the band that was reformed after Curtis’ suicide) provided instrumental music for the film and soundtrack. The soundtrack also includes live recordings from The Buzzcocks and The Sex Pistols and a cover of “Shadowplay” by The Killers.
Best Songs: “Transmission” Cast Version and “What Goes On” by The Velvet Underground
3. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” — This soundtrack not only features Cake and Belle and Sebastian, but also songs from the “Dracula” musical by Peter (played by Jason Segel) and songs by the fake band Infant Sorrow. Mainly upbeat, the soundtrack follows the same mood of the film and features some Hawaiian bands. Unfortunately, the soundtrack does not include any of the demos Jonas Hill’s character tries to pass of to Aldous Snow (played by Russell Brand).
Best Songs: “A Taste For Love” by Cast and “Inside of You” by Infant Sorrow
2. “Stranger Than Fiction” — “Stranger Than Fiction” is one of those films that features music heavily from one band. The soundtrack is comprised of four Spoon songs. Spoon’s lead singer, Britt Daniel, also worked with Brian Reitzell to compose the score, some of which is featured on the soundtrack. The collaboration works well. “Stranger Than Fiction” has a non-conventional story and by most accounts, Spoon’s songs are not conventional. What’s weird though is how accurate “My Mathematical Mind” fits in with the character of Harold Crick — even though the song was written years before the movie was released.
Best Songs: “Whole Wide World” by Wreckless Eric and “Writer’s Block” by Britt Daniel and Brian Reitzell
1. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” — Most of the tracks on the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” soundtrack are from the score done by composer/producer Jon Brion. I have no problem with this. For a one of a kind film you need a one of a kind score and Brion’s score is perfect for the film. It is so unique and beautiful that when you hear the tracks you can imagine with perfect clarity the scenes that correspond. The soundtrack also features “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” by Beck and “Light and Day” by The Polyphonic Spree.
Best Songs: “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO and “Peer Pressure” by Jon Brion
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.
. . .
Follow Allison Higginbotham on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allisonbh.