In lieu of Kim doing a top ten list this month, I asked if I could take a crack at it and do my top ten favorite film soundtracks. Since I’m the blog’s film reviewer, I thought it would be appropriate to do a film themed top ten! In a well-done film, the soundtrack is almost as important as the acting or directing. In scenes where there is no dialogue, the music helps tell the story and convey the emotions that words cannot. Let me know what you think of my picks and what some of your most memorable soundtracks are.
10.) The Social Network
This score is incredibly powerful for such an amazing film. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Atticus Ross were able to create this soundtrack using many different musical styles and techniques that go against traditional musical scores. There were no big orchestral pieces where you could picture a room of old man playing their instruments for hours. Instead, it was very technologically based, which worked for the tone and style in which the film was filmed. Being a film that is so largely about technology, it made sense that it wasn’t violins, harps, flutes, and saxophones playing the highlights of the score. A personal favorite would be the main theme, “Hand Cover Bruise”, which played in some of the most poignant scenes in the film.
This list may look like the nominees from last year’s Academy Awards, but that’s only because the scores were so incredible. Hans Zimmer, the composer, was able to translate the feelings of the world that Christopher Nolan had visually created through music. Zimmer creates these musical pieces that are so dramatic in style yet very traditional with the choice of instruments. This score literally makes the dream sequences in the film come to life and jump off the screen.
8.) Across the Universe
Across the Universe took a big gamble with its soundtrack. To take Beatles songs that we all know and love and change them was an incredible risk because they are such well-loved classics. So many people relate to these songs, and to do these songs an injustice would be considered a crime. Even so, they took the risk, changed the songs enough to make them true to both the film and their original roots, and fans still loved the music. The composers used many different styles of music to rework the original compositions, from gospel all the way to a slowed down, acid-tripped feeling melody. Any Beatles fans be it new or old will be singing these songs days after seeing the film; they’re so original that you can’t help but have them stick with you.
Hitchcock was and is the master of suspense films. All of his films are perfection, from the screenplay to the acting to the twist endings that he was so known for. Music was a huge reason why his films were so successful. The man who composed the score for Psycho, Bernard Herman, (he also did Vertigo, North by Northwest, and the Trouble with Harry), was able to encapsulate the fear that comes with watching a film like this. The way he was able to create the element of suspense without even showing you anything visually was incredible. The main theme to this film is something that haunts the viewer. Even if you aren’t looking at the screen, you’re still scared somebody or something might pop out behind you. The most terrifying part is the screeching (which was actually done with violin strings) when Norman Bates attacked.
6.) West Side Story
West Side Story is my favorite soundtrack for a traditional musical. The story of the Jets vs. Sharks comes to life with this music, which was composed by the infamous Leonard Bernstein. This musical has everything: comedic songs, love songs, fighting songs, and death songs. The songs are each musically different and distinct, which is one of the reasons why they’re so good. The funny songs are upbeat and played in a fast pace with loud instruments, whereas the love songs are delicate and played with very light instruments like strings and flutes. West Side Story is a perfect date night film, where you can close your eyes and let the music tell you this sad tale.
I hope you liked my first five picks for the best film soundtracks! Come back tomorrow and see what my top five picks are.
Until then, happy listening!