My definition of a great soundtrack is one that you can play straight through, discovering new tracks while enjoying old classics. Here is a list of the top ten soundtracks from 2000-2010.
Number Ten: Accepted. Released in 2006, the Accepted soundtrack sounds modern all around despite containing a couple classic tracks from the early nineties (such as “U-Mass” by Pixies and “Holiday” by Weezer.) Highlights include Citizen Cope’s addicting “Let the Drummer Kick,” Ryan Adams’ charming “To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)” and Modest Mouse’s beautiful “Gravity Rides Everything.” David Schommer contributes covers by The Beatles and Simple Minds while other artists include The Hives, The Chemical Brothers and Le Tigre.
Number Nine: Marie Antoinette. Released in 2006, the soundtrack for Marie Antoinette is similar to Sofia Coppola’s other films in that it features a blend of electronic, rock and shoegaze music. Besides housing various baroque and instrumental pieces, the two-disc soundtrack features multiple tracks from several artists. This includes bands like The Cure (“Plainsong” and “All Cats Are Grey,”) Aphex Twin (“Avril 14th” and “Jynweythek Ylow,”) Bow Wow Wow (“Fools Rush In (Kevin Shields remix),” “I Want Candy (Kevin Shields remix)” and “Aphrodisiac”) and the highly underrated dream-pop band, Radio Dept. (“Keen on Boys,” “I Don’t Like it Like This” and “Pulling Our Weight.”) The album also includes tracks by Squarepusher, Air, Gang of Four and The Strokes. Highlights can be found in “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Ceremony” by New Order and “Kings of the Wild Frontier” by Adam and The Ants.
Number Eight: Twilight: Eclipse. Released in 2010, the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack, like most of the saga’s albums, is chock-full of indie-rock gems. Highlights include Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms,” The Black Keys’ “Chop and Change” and the ethereal Band of Horses song, “Life on Earth.” The album’s best tracks, however, are collaborations. “With You In My Head” by UNKLE featuring the Black Angels is uniquely catchy, while “Let’s Get Lost” by Beck and Bat for Lashes will put you in a trance and make you want to get lost with your beloved. Other artists featured are Vampire Weekend, The Dead Weather, Sia and Muse.
Number Seven: High Fidelity. Released in 2000, the soundtrack for High Fidelity is what you’d expect from a movie about an independent record store, in that all the bands, old and new, can be considered indie. Classic tracks include Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Shipbuilding,” The Kinks’ “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy,” 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time.” The Velvet Underground contributes two tracks: “Who Loves the Sun” and “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’.” More modern indie songs include Smog’s “Cold Blooded Old Times,” Royal Trux’ “Inside Game” and Stereolab’s “Lo Boob Oscillator.” The highlight of this album, however, is “Dry the Rain” by The Beta Band, which fans of the film may remember in the scene where John Cusack plays the song to get customers to buy the record.
Number Six: The Royal Tenenbaums. Released in 2001, The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack is chock-full of classic hits that both are and aren’t in the vein of classic rock. Tracks include “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon, “Wigwam” by Bob Dylan, “Look at Me” by John Lennon, “Police & Thieves” by The Clash, “Stephanie Says” by The Velvet Underground and two tracks from Nico (“These Days” and “The Fairest of the Seasons.”) Highlights include “Fly” by Nick Drake, “Judy is a Punk” by The Ramones and the heartbreaking “Needle in the Hay” by Elliot Smith. Mark Mothersbaugh contributes eight tracks as well.
Number Five: Elizabethtown. Released in 2005, the Elizabethtown soundtrack is everything you would expect from a Cameron Crowe film. Lucky for fans, there are two volumes. Volume one features songs like “Jesus Was a Crossmaker” by The Hollies, “Shut Us Down” by Lindsey Buckingham, “Long Ride Home” by Patty Griffin, “Where to Begin” by My Morning Jacket and “io (This Time Around)” by Helen Stellar. Volume two features “I Can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations, “Loro” by Pinback and a cover of “Jesus Was a Crossmaker” by Rachael Yamagata. Several artists are featured multiple times on both volumes, most notably Tom Petty (“Learning to Fly”) and Ryan Adams (“Come Pick Me Up.”) However, hands down the best track from both albums goes to Elton John for his underrated, brilliant song, “My Father’s Gun.”
Number Four: Love & Basketball. Released in 2000, the soundtrack for Love & Basketball is full of soul and hip-hop and some songs even manage to blend these genres together. Songs include the classic “Love and Happiness” by Al Green, a cover of “Holding Back the Years” by Angie Stone, “Sweet Thing” by Rufus ft. Chaka Khan and “Dance Tonight” by Lucy Pearl (which features members from En Vogue, Tony! Toni! Tone! and A Tribe Called Quest.) Old-school hip-hop is represented in tracks like “Lyte as a Rock” by MC Lyte and “It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock. Highlights include “I Like” by Guy, “I Wanna Be Your Man” by Roger and “Fool of Me” by Me’shell Ndegeocello. The only downside is that Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” is not featured.
Number Three: Adventureland. Released in 2009, the Adventureland soundtrack features music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Tracks include “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco, “I’m in Love with a Girl” by Big Star, “Don’t Change” by INXS, “Looking for a Kiss” by New York Dolls and “Don’t Want to Know if You Are Lonely” by Husker Du. Highlights include David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” The Outfield’s “Your Love,” Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream it’s Over” and The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied.” Lou Reed is featured twice on the soundtrack, and rightfully so, as the film’s main character idolized him. The two tracks featured are “Pale Blue Eyes” and “Satellite of Love,” which are two of Reed’s greatest musical creations in my opinion.
Number Two: Requiem for a Dream. Released in 2000, the soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream is all instrumental, with songs composed by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet. This album is divided into three sections or “seasons,” like in the film. In “Summer,” notable tracks are “Coney Island Dreaming,” “Ghosts of Things to Come,” “Party,” “Crimin’ & Dealin’” and “Hope Overture.” In “Fall,” worthwhile tracks include “Ghosts-Falling” and the two “Dreams.” In “Winter,” the best tracks are “The Beginning of the End,” “Ghosts of a Future Lost” and the movie’s most famous instrumental piece, “Lux Aeterna.”
Number One: Vanilla Sky. Released in 2001, Vanilla Sky is another Cameron Crowe film, so, of course, we can expect an equally spellbinding soundtrack to match this hypnotizing film. If you have an eclectic, let alone a good taste in music period, I recommend dropping everything you’re doing and purchasing this soundtrack today. The album opens up strongly with “All the Right Friends” by R.E.M., who also contributes the beautiful track “Sweetness Follows.” Classic rock bands and artists are represented in songs like “4th Time Around” by Bob Dylan, “Can We Still Be Friends” by Todd Rundgren, “Porpoise Song” by The Monkees, “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel and “Vanilla Sky” by Paul McCartney. Tracks by more modern artists include “Everything in its Right Place” by Radiohead, “Mondo ‘77” by Looper, “Have You Forgotten” by Red House Painters and “Where Do I Begin” by The Chemical Brothers. Although it’s hard to pick a favorite song off of this soundtrack, the honor must go to Sigur Ros for their hauntingly beautiful track, “Svefn-g-Englar”.