In real life, TV, and in film, music is instrumental to setting the right mood. (Insert pun-induced groan here.) A few of my favourite soundtracks come from less-than-stellar movies, but no matter. A good soundtrack is a great way to uncover new artists and reconnect with old favourites, not to mention come way with an instant mixed tape. Here are a few of my favourites:
Anna sent me this soundtrack after we saw the movie together. It’s a real mixed bag, with some lovely instrumental numbers followed up by classics from Sly and the Family Stone and Neil Young. Throw in some traditional French and Indian music, an aria from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”, and an Eddie Vedder ballad with world-renowned Qawwali musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and you have one eclectic hour.
Zach Braff won a Grammy for this one and almost 10 years later, I think it still holds up. The indie movie includes songs from great indie rockers like The Shins, and more lounge-y/acid jazz numbers from Zero 7 and Thievery Corporation. Most of the music is moody and as soon as I got it I thought, “Oh, this is what the cool kids are listening to!” I love “Let Go” by Frou Frou. Too bad they disbanded.
Baz Luhrmann and his music man Anton Monsted have put together an evocative and haunting soundtrack. I love Beyoncé and Andre 3000’s spin on “Back to Black”, as well as “Together” by The xx. And who can forget Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful”. Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” livens things up – could be the party tune of summer ’13.
One of my favourite movies of all time, this is a great Christmas album that bears listening to all year round. A collection of older (Joni Mitchell, Otis Redding) and “newer” artists (Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5), my favourite tune may very well be “Christmas is All Around” by Billy Mack, the movie’s aging rock star played by Bill Nighy. He definitely stole the show.
Luhrmann and Monsted do give good soundtrack. Songs by David Bowie, Christina Aguilera, Bono and Beck are featured here, but my favourites are the ones performed by the movie’s cast, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Jim Broadbent. McGregor gives a passionate performance in “El Tango de Roxanne”, a mash-up of The Police’s “Roxanne” done tango style.
I have every soundtrack and each is better than the next. Artists include everyone from Bruno Mars and Cee Lo Green, to rockers like Muse and Green Day, to the more indie-leaning Metric and Death Cab for Cutie. But I especially love the moody ballads from Iron and Wine, Feist and James Vincent McMorrow. Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” and Iko’s “Heart of Stone” get me choked up every time I listen to them.
I’m looking to load up my iPod for the summer, so please send along your soundtrack suggestions!
Top photo: guidosportaal/flickr