| Sputnikmusic
 

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I find myself analyzing the music behind a movie just as much as the film itself. It’s difficult to determine to what extent a soundtrack influences my opinion of a movie’s quality…technically it shouldn’t, but I always favor movies with indie-geared soundtracks (500 Days of Summer, Garden State) all the same. It’s something that annoys the hell out of my friends, which is why I’m not sure if this is common or if there is just something really wrong with me. But anyway, I glanced through my library and pulled out notable soundtracks (some good, others very bad) and decided to evaluate them for their contributions to the movie and their overall quality. Since it’s Halloween today, let’s begin with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is one of those movies with a cult following, and I totally get why. It’s stunningly original, visually appealing for its time, and it features a thoroughly enjoyable plot. For music enthusiasts, the soundtrack has to be another reason. It follows the storyline extremely closely, sometimes even narrating through song or spoken word (via Danny Elfman). It has been remade, but nothing touches the original which, if you ask me, is a classic.

Sample: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: A

Across The Universe

Now this one I never understood the hype for. I was a sophomore in college when I first watched this, and I couldn’t see for the life of me what my girlfriend saw in it. The cliched love story was probably the culprit, but then again I never thought the characters were all that interesting either. Anyway, for as much as I have always loved the Beatles, I couldn’t get into a soundtrack with so little variation stylistically. And even though I just got done telling you how much music means to me in a movie, I still can’t enjoy a film that forces the musical aspect on you as much as this does (maybe it’s an elaborate metaphor for how the Beatles are shoved down our throats as kids growing up in this society…but I doubt it). I know, I know, it it pretty much a musical so maybe I’m in the wrong here but anyway I give this a C, because I hated it but you can’t deny the genius behind the Beatles’ songwriting.

“All My Loving” – Originally by the Beatles

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: C

(500) Days of Summer

This is one of my favorite films of all time, and I promise you it doesn’t have everything to do with Zooey Deschanel’s leading role in the cast (it still has a lot to do with it, though). It’s very unique in its method of presentation, and even though many people seem to have unfairly assigned it the “chick flick” tag, it is not a love story. Well, at least that’s what the narrator wants you to think during the opening credits. To be honest, it is pretty much the epitome of what you would call a “love story”, only it is much more realistic. Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is, like many women, fickle. Furthermore, she is strong willed, independent, and (contrary to Hollywood stereotypes) utterly against relationships. In what is essentially a chick flick from a male’s perspective, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has his heart shattered…and it became, at least for myself and many friends who endured similar hardships, a representation of every girl who ever cheated us out of happiness for reasons we couldn’t comprehend. If you pay attention to the movie closely, however, you will realize that Zooey’s character isn’t malicious and that perhaps, after all, every girl has a reason for making her decisions.

Oh yeah, and the soundtrack rules. Has a few weak songs I guess but the good tracks really grab your attention. Here’s one:

“Hero” by Regina Spektor

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: B+

Hannah Montana: The Movie

I was tricked! I don’t even remember what movie we were supposed to be seeing that night, but my college friend of the female persuasion somehow coerced me into watching this once we got to the theater (presumably I didn’t get anything truly worthwhile out of it) and it was every bit the nightmare I expected it to be. Even a nine year old girl turned around and snickered at the sight of me in the theater. Anyway, Hannah Montana sucks and so does this soundtrack, minus this one by Taylor Swift – which you can stream below!

“Crazier” by Taylor Swift

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: F+

August Rush

Between this “movie” and the one that preceded it, I will no longer hold you accountable for accusing me of bad taste. But if it makes you feel any better, I hated this film just as much as the last one – the only difference is that I actually like the soundtrack. It barely contributes to the actual movie itself, but as a separate entity it isn’t so bad. Some of the instrumental tracks are pretty cool, and as a whole it is nice to relax to during my morning commute. My personal favorite is Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ performance of “This Time”, a song that I’m sure will make an appearance on somebody’s mixed tape for a girl at some point. It’s just too romantic not to induce googly eyes.

“This Time” by Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: B-

Despicable Me

The previews led me to believe that this would be a pretty dumb movie, so I avoided it altogether until a couple weeks ago when it came on television. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong about this. The film more than exceeded its hype, and the soundtrack, headed by N.E.R.D. mastermind Pharrell Williams, is equally as brilliant. The bouncy, hip-hop vibe lends Despicable Me a sense of youthfulness and, more importantly, separates it from the run of the mill “Disney sing-along” approach that every kids movie seems to adopt. Consider me hooked, both on the movie and its super fun soundtrack.

“Prettiest Girls” by Pharrell

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: B+

Black Swan

All the trailers and previews the media had to offer didn’t prepare me for the sheer brilliance of director Darren Aranofsky’s masterpiece, one that was made even grander by Portman’s dedicated preparation (she trained extensively in ballet dancing and lost a considerable amount of weight) and utterly believable portrayal of someone suffering from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. The storyline is plenty elaborate, complex enough to deceive you, and packed with enough palpable suspense to leave you feeling a mixed bag of emotions ranging from alienation to empathy. But throughout the whole thing, there is a nagging feeling that something else is behind the steering wheel…taking each turn in the plot with frightening instability and recklessness. That subtle push comes from Clint Mansell’s haunting soundtrack – one that introduces the movie with magisterial elegance and sees it all the way through to its terrifying end. Allow yourself to be enchanted, transported, and devastated.

“Perfection” by Clint Mansell

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: A-

Garden State

Saving the best for last.

The Garden State soundtrack swells with an even-keeled spontaneity; a sort of modesty brought about by its unequivocal beauty and effortlessly fluid progression. The album could be seen as a blend of several indie subgenres, each one surfacing with unique temptations designed to rope you in. There is the way that the sinister undertones of ‘In the Waiting Line’ invite you to further explore all of Zero 7’s ethereal creations, the way that Colin Hay’s ‘I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You’ introduces a heart-on-your-sleeve acoustic style of balladry – and least we forget, the spiritually uplifting nature of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Only Living Boy In New York.’ With songs spanning nearly four decades, Garden State truly feels like the definitive retrospective of alternative and indie music – a timeline, if you will, of the genre leading up to its present glory. Some of Garden State’s most breathtaking moments are made so by the accompanying musical backdrop. At its most poignant, Remy Zero’s raw and emotionally profound ‘Fair’ leads the way. Iron & Wine’s cover of ‘Such Great Heights’ lends itself to the film’s soft-spoken sense of sophistication. The Shins, making two contributions, highlight the slowly unraveling plot with their brand of chilled, atmospheric mid-tempo rock. Upon hearing those tracks now, it is hard not to be taken back to the scene where Natalie Portman introduces Zach Braff to their song ‘New Slang’, stating “You gotta hear this one song. It will change your life, I swear.” In a way, that’s how Garden State’s soundtrack works. If you have never gotten into indie before, all bets are that you will find something stunningly you in here.

“Fair” by Remy Zero

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grade: A+





SowingSeason
11.01.11
My first blog ever, not just my first for Sputnik

Hope you enjoy

Xenophanes
11.01.11
Oooh, congrats! Will read later, looks interesting.

tkxxx7
11.01.11
I agree with Despicable Me's paragraph.

Deviant.
11.01.11
Needs more Drive soundtrack

iFghtffyrdmns
11.01.11
Hannah Montana: The Movie
Grade: F+


I CALL SHENANIGANS

theacademy
11.01.11
Needs more Drive soundtrack
and less Garden State soundtrack

Waior
11.01.11
"The film more than lives up to the Pixar name"... not a pixar film? Unless this is a joke then my loss!

Good first blog indeed! My favourite soundtrack is the one for Fantastic Mr. Fox... love it to death.

theacademy
11.01.11
"The film more than lives up to the Pixar name"

jesus christ between you and hans im going to have to quit Sputnik.

robertsona
11.01.11
hahahahahaha

Acanthus
11.01.11
Sweet blog sir, I love film soundtracks - keep this one going!

thebhoy
11.01.11
I also thought Across the Universe ruined pretty much every one of those songs

SowingSeason
11.01.11
Yeah it's not Pixar, sorry for the error. I fix'd!

vanderb0b
11.01.11
Nice to see you writing blogs, Sowing, this is very well-done. As for soundtracks, my personal favorite was always For A Few Dollars More, also pretty much all the ST's written by Prokofiev, Schnittke, etc. Of the ones listed here, Nightmare is by far my favorite.

americanohno
11.01.11
"Needs more Drive soundtrack"

you should check out wang chung's soundtrack for 'to live and die in la' which drive's score seems to be influenced by.


Ignimbrite
11.01.11
Happy first blog, breh

Waior
11.01.11
I liked U2's song on across the universe

robertsona
11.01.11
the version of "because" and the version of "happiness is a warm gun" are both great iirc (the former is just an a cappella version a la the one on the "love" soundtrack, so it doesn't really count, but still). and then that was it. i remember "blackbird" being a travesty

theacademy
11.01.11
this is like the girliest list ever

SowingSeason
11.01.11
I like girly movies

and sometimes girly music

Trebor.
11.01.11
Hannah Montana > Taylor Swift

theacademy
11.01.11
i like girly music and girly TV

but this is EVERY HIGH SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND EVER

Waior
11.01.11
truth

but there are a few good highschool girlfriends out there

theacademy
11.01.11
no doubt... not necessarily a bad thing just a clear theme. needed acknowledging.

FromDaHood
11.01.11
Crazier is one of Taylor's worst songs

SowingSeason
11.01.11
---just a clear theme. needed acknowledging.---

Are you implying I am a high school girl? I don't get your angle, other than that you don't like my taste in anything. Which is fine.

Trebor.
11.01.11
I love (500) Days Of Summer and Garden State and I'm not a teenage girl

Vesper
11.01.11
I think acad's just saying you have the TASTE of a "typical" high school girl, Sowing.

I was going to dispute your selection of Black Swan's soundtrack of all Clint Mansell's work, but then I realized that would be stupid nitpicking when I wouldn't have picked any of the other soundtracks on here, except Nightmare Before Christmas, hahahaha. :)

SowingSeason
11.01.11
No I know it isn't all Mansell's work, a vast portion of it is Swan Lake

theacademy
11.01.11
I like (500) days of summer, hate garden state, hate both their soundtracks, love nightmare before christmas and black swan, love both soundtracks (although the latter is really more of a score); hated across the universe and everything associated with it, have long-term plans to see despicable me eventually, and thought august rush was ok.

there was no angle. all i implied was black sky took the needle and nothing else


Vesper
11.01.11
Yeah, he got rejected from the Academy Awards for it, since it wasn't considered original work.
But, just saying, The Fountain and Requiem for a Dream are his most well-known soundtracks with good reason.

theacademy
11.01.11
the fountain score. swoon.

SowingSeason
11.01.11
never saw those, guess I should!

Vesper
11.01.11
Yes, you should!
Requiem for a Dream is depressing as fuck, though, and The Fountain is quite sad, but one of the most visually beautiful movies I've seen. It's also a triple love story, so try popping it in instead of (500) Days of Summer the next time you're hankering for a love story. (Not quite the same, but still, haha.)

I also quite like the soundtrack for Pan's Labyrinth.
I think the Inception soundtrack would get a notice from me too, since it's significantly tied to the plot.

AngelofDeath
11.01.11
Yeah, Inception for sure. Zimmer rules.

I really hate Requiem for a Dream, though. (The movie, that is. Soundtrack is pretty good.)

Vesper
11.01.11
Any reason why, Angel?

AngelofDeath
11.01.11
The story's just kind of pointlessly depressing. The film has a lot of things going for it, but I just don't find any redeeming merits in the story.

theacademy
11.01.11
"pointlessly depressing" ?

AngelofDeath
11.01.11
Yeah, everyone's a drug addict. They fuck up their lives. End of story. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Romulus
11.01.11
dude.

SowingSeason
11.01.11
dude.

Romulus
11.01.11
sorry i was referring to this:

"Yeah, everyone's a drug addict. They fuck up their lives. End of story. Boo-fucking-hoo."

blog is pretty awesome sowing. i'd differ on 500 days of summer because it manages to draw up all kinds of unpleasant memories but that's kind of funny given the movie itself

SowingSeason
11.01.11
I was just saying sup, dude

Yeah 500 days of summer has some unpleasant memories for me too but I have forgotten them...and ever since that happened it became even more awesome

ninjuice
11.01.11
"Yeah, everyone's a drug addict. They fuck up their lives. End of story."
Requiem For a Dream sucks, and Hans Zimmer is a great composer? What?

Would've liked blog more if it was scores I guess. If The Nightmare Before Christmas is there I feel like something Disney should be too.

SowingSeason
11.01.11
Thought about it but what's the point in grading Disney when they're all A's, right?

Vesper
11.01.11
But the point isn't the substances that they're addicted to, but that they make the wrong sacrifices and fuck up their lives chasing a dream. The drug part isn't depressing for me at all (although a lot of people seem to take this movie as the ultimate "Don't do drugs, kids!!" instructional video).

"Thought about it but what's the point in grading Disney when they're all A's, right?"
Classic Disney, yes. Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid are probably my favorite.

Masochist
11.01.11
Good blog, Sowing!

Gotta say, the soundtrack to Garden State did wonders for me. Aside from introducing me to Zero 7 and finally getting me to pick up 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', it also showed me how good Coldplay were at making pop music back then ("Don't Panic" remains one of my all-time favorite Coldplay songs). Good, good stuff.

And, of course, TNBC has many, many classic songs.

Masochist
11.01.11
"Classic Disney, yes. Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid are probably my favorite."

Tsk, tsk...not just classic. May I direct your attention to Mulan?

SowingSeason
11.01.11
Mulan is one of my favorites

Xenophanes
11.01.11
Really wonderful read man. Although I actually really, really disliked The Garden State.

SowingSeason
11.01.11
What, why??? : (

klap
11.01.11
not going to lie was never a fan of garden state the movie. soundtrack is ace tho

Vesper
11.01.11
I can't like Mulan. Way too overplayed in my circles.

Xenophanes
11.01.11
Well, it was supremely melodramatic. After Zach Braff (no I don't remember the character's name) asked his dad to "just let him feel," I turned it off. Way to heavy handed of a delivery.

AngelofDeath
11.01.11
Fox and the Hound, bros.

SowingSeason
11.01.11
Yeah I can see why people wouldn't like the movie, nothing really happens at all. I'm probably weird for liking it as much as I do...but I'm referring to the soundtrack, which is downright phenomenal. It introduced me to so many great artists and individually good songs

Xenophanes
11.01.11
"I can't like Mulan. Way too overplayed in my circles."


You have certain, multiple circles that overplay certain Disney movies?

Xenophanes
11.01.11
Oh and I love you for 1. Watched that today. Too bad Hot Topic dragged it's good name through the mud.

astrel
11.01.11
Good read, but I really dislike most of these movies. (500) Days of Summer is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

JWT155
11.01.11
Quentin Tarantino films always have great soundtracks.

Vesper
11.01.11
Xeno, I'm Asian. Yes, that one is overplayed, or rather, I have a set of Chinese friends that love "I'll Make a Man Out of You" far too much.

theacademy
11.01.11
pretty clear that the golden age of soundtracks (not scores) is the same as the golden age of cinema: 1994-2000

*that thing you do!
*pulp fiction
*idle hands
*i know what you did last summer
*batman forever
*scream
*forrest gump
*disturbing behavior
*the faculty
*practical magic

also Roswell was on TV

theacademy
11.01.11
*can't hardly wait
*from dusk till dawn
*jawbreaker
*varsity blues

krazytom
11.01.11
Even though I despise twilght, i think the first soundtrack is actually pretty solid, anything with mutemath is gonna be awesome, and arguably one of paramore's best songs is on it

Masochist
11.01.11
"anything with mutemath is gonna be awesome, and arguably one of paramore's best songs is on it"

Truth..,but it also had one of Muse's more annoying songs (granted, for a while, I dug it).

Aids
11.01.11
will read later but just by skimming I know I probably disagree with the Across the Universe one. that's one of my favourite movies and I went in expecting to hate it. Great soundtrack, all the covers are superbly done.

WhiteWallStargazers
11.01.11
Donnie Darko soundtrack is my favorite, but 2001: A Space Odyssey, well basically any Kubrick film soundtrack

aok
11.01.11
"Now this one I never understood the hype for"

123. and i'm a pretty huge beatles fan

SowingSeason
11.01.11
yeah it is all just a little too overdone on that movie

ohnoestehmusik
11.01.11
Needs moar empire recordz

twlichty
11.02.11
that taylor swift song is awesome, WTF!

sniper
11.02.11
harold an maude

sniper
11.02.11
and*

SowingSeason
11.02.11
the t swift song is alright...it's just better than everything else in that movie

Slum
11.02.11
Trainspotting's soundtrack is pretty perfect

clercqie
11.02.11
Saw 500 Days of Summer again recently, damn I love that movie

WhiteWallStargazers
11.02.11
Hannah has a great soundtrack

BigHans
11.02.11
Dazed and Confused
Forest Gump
Wayne's World
The Big Lebowski
Rocky 4
Top Gun

SowingSeason
11.02.11
I don't watch that many movies so most of the ones you guys throw out there I am unaware of

I saw Forest Gump, Rocky 4, and Top Gun though

clercqie
11.02.11
Also, I really liked the soundtrack to Kick-Ass

@ Hans: Big Lebowski ftw

BigHans
11.02.11
I saw Forest Gump, Rocky 4, and Top Gun though

^ Good, cause I would have to buy you a dress and an industrial sized box of tampons if you hadn't.

SowingSeason
11.02.11
Well at least it's good to buy in bulk

Waior
11.03.11
kirkland brand tampons

auberginedreams
11.03.11
hey sowing, you gonna make a move now that Zooey Deschanel is single?

Butkuiss
11.03.11
Well shit, a bunch of these films are all time favourites of mine! As are their soundtracks. Kudos, sowing!

Must say. Seconding Dev's Drive Soundtrack reccomendation.

jdennis31
11.03.11
dunno if we are adding to this list or only grading the ones on this, but i think friday night lights has the greatest soundtrack ever, and as much as i love other things about the movie, the music makes it my favorite sports movie ever.

Butkuiss
11.03.11
Wasn't FNL done by Explosions in the Sky?

Liberi Fatali
11.03.11
Drive soundtrack is ruling me hard.

For the first 30 odd minutes of the movie especially the music is so supreme.

clercqie
11.03.11
Anyone seen Drive (the movie) yet? Is it any good?

Slum
11.03.11
I've seen it, didn't think it was all that it was hyped to be. It was way too short imo

SowingSeason
11.03.11
---hey sowing, you gonna make a move now that Zooey Deschanel is single?---

Zooey is pretty but I have my eyes set on T-Swizzle and Pam

jdennis31
11.03.11
@Butkuiss yah, for the most part it's EITS. and I loved the drive soundtrack as well, eery pop electronica haha

Deviant.
11.03.11
"Anyone seen Drive (the movie) yet? Is it any good?"

It's pretty good but vastly overrated. First half is fantastic, but then it turns into standard-heist-gone-wrong film

But it's hard to condemn something that beings with Kavinsky

SowingSeason
11.03.11
Is it weird I haven't even heard of this movie?

jdennis31
11.04.11
nuh, not really. not sure if it's an indie flick or just a really low budget studio movie but yah... they had a pretty low budget so don't think they could advertise much. also if you've seen the poster for the movie it looks exactly like daniel craig from james bond and definitely not ryan gosling from the notebook... anyways @Deviant i thought the second half had the same good qualities as the first half, most of which involved the cinematography and score

deathofasalesman
11.12.11
Quentin Tarantino movie soundtracks are the best.

SowingSeason
11.12.11
I can't even think of one

You need to be logged in to post a comment
Login | Register

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy