The Forgotten Sounds Of Cinema: Our Favourite Soundtracks of All Time

A movie is only as good as its soundtrack. And sometimes, the power of a movie’s soundtrack is taken for granted by viewers. Every song has the potential to add another layer of meaning, emotion, and development to the film, yet it also has the power to distract from the overall experience. This fine balance is what makes curating soundtracks an art form unto itself. It is also what makes the perfect soundtrack so memorable and so enthralling.




Curated by Lou Barlow, the song choice leans heavily on Lo-Fi music with Daniel Johnston contributing multiple pieces. Despite this, the soundtrack remains incredibly diverse; the song choices range from the Beastie Boys to Coltrane to Slint. Due to the sporadic, shock value, nature of the film, however, such variety appears coherent. Uniting all the different genres is a sense of anger, sadness and confusion that will ultimately leave the listener either drowning in self hatred or wanting to punch something.









Masculin Feminin


Chantal Goya, the female lead in the film, sings every song on its soundtrack and the result is pure perfection. This soundtrack consists entirely of sugary French pop songs from the 1960s made for dancing or schmoozing. While remaining cute and upbeat, nostalgia and heartbreak are at the forefront of this soundtrack which epitomizes the yé-yé style of music in France at the time.









The Virgin Suicides


Filled with dreamy 1970s pop and nostalgia, this soundtrack manages to beautifully encapsulate teenagehood. Although it is undoubtedly of an era, it could be played in any bedroom today and not seem out of place in the slightest. French duo Air provide the spacey score to the film that is at once beautiful and menacing. If there was any one soundtrack that represented growing up, this would be it.










Down By Law


John Lurie and Tom Waits, both the stars of the movie and the musicians dominating the soundtrack, make this soundtrack effortlessly cool. Tom Waits’ songs have a groove to them that is hard to replicate; while John Lurie of No Wave band Lounge Lizard‘s score manages to be dark without being sombre. You want to dance to it, but there is something so sinister ingrained within the music, it leaves one deliciously perplexed and uneasy as you follow the tale of three delinquents.









A Clockwork Orange


Consisting mostly of synthy versions of classical tunes, this soundtrack eerily reimagines the past in order to score a dystopian future. It leans heavily on Beethoven, the protagonists favourite composer, and is an ominous, desolate, collection of songs that greatly contributes to the film’s overall meaning.










Donnie Darko

This soundtrack serves as a greatest hits of 80s post punk. The film opens with Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” and follows through to Joy Division’s classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” It’s moody without being morbid and feels as if it was curated by a teenager at the time.










Fire Walk With Me


David Lynch, the film’s director, contributed lyrics to this dark jazzy soundtrack. There is something about each song that will stick in your mind and haunt you. It absolutely rings with evil and is so deeply enthralling, you will find yourself completely absorbed. This is a soundtrack that adds layers to the film by providing such a distinct atmosphere for both the characters and the viewer.








The Graduate


Every Simon and Garfunkel song that you know and love is on this soundtrack. This classic film is accompanied by songs that have, in turn, become classic in themselves. Each song is distinctly melancholic, yet there is a duality to this sadness, there is a beauty found within it. No aspect of this soundtrack wallows, and it is nothing short of delightful.











The Darjeeling Limited


Wes Anderson’s soundtracks are like beautifully curated love letters to his audience. With each song, the viewer is invited into a different aspect of his world. This particular soundtrack is a really weird mix of 60s hits, traditional Indian music and French pop. Listening to it is like sitting in the passengers seat of a car on a sunny day with your eyes closed, it is absolute happiness.

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