I love movie soundtracks and scores. While Ill be writing up another list of film scores for another time, I wanted to list my top 25 favorite soundtracks. There are a lot of obvious ones in there but there are a few obscure movies in the bunch as well. Its tough with lists with trying to rank each one so I did my best, but Im sure people out there will disagree with me. If you think I forgot a soundtrack, please comment down below! Heres the list of my favorite soundtracks, starting with number 1:
1. A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange is my favorite soundtrack. Its the soundtrack I listened to throughout high school for some reason. Im a huge fan of classical music, and Walter (errr Wendy) Carlos moog synthesizers make the pieces so much more trippy, creepy and entertaining. You can tell this movie was made in the 70s but the way that Carlos did the pieces was brilliant. The title track is haunting, and the classical pieces by Beethoven made me appreciate his work ten times more. Now Ninth Symphony, Second Movement is my favorite classical piece. Another notable classical piece is the Thieving Magpie by Rossini. You might remember that song from the beginning of the movie with Alex and his droogs square off with Billy Bob and his gang. Whenever I hear any of the tracks somewhere else, the first thing that comes to mind is A Clockwork Orange. Even hearing Singing In The Rain makes me think of this movie, whereas it should make me think of Singing In The Rain. But it doesnt.
2. Grosse Pointe Blank Volume 1 & 2
When it comes to John Cusack movies, youll always know youre going to get an interesting soundtrack. Grosse Pointe Blank features mainly new wave, punk, ska and other obscure 80s music that anyone that reads this website will enjoy. Joe Strummer composed the score to the movie, which was a rare site. Plus The Clash had a few songs on the soundtrack as well. The soundtrack is broken up into two volumes, so you know this album was great when they had to break it up into two! Other bands featured on both discs include The Pogues, The Specials, English Beat, Faith No More, GNR, The Jam, David Bowie and Queen, Nena, Pixies, Siouxsie & the Banshees and Echo & the Bunnymen. Quite a lineup eh? This is definitely one of my favorite soundtracks of all time and Im sure Im not alone in that statement.
3. Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels
Lock Stock happened to be the first DVD I bought because its one of my favorite movies. Guy Ritchie knows his music because most of his movies have excellent soundtracks featuring a hodge podge of different genres. Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels soundtrack is the best soundtrack from Ritchie. You have music from such bands and artists like James Brown, The Stooges, Junior Murvin, Robbie Williams, The Castaways, The Stone Roses, Pete Wingfield and Ocean Colour Scene. Plus you have lots of clips from the movie and some score pieces from John Murphy and David Hughes. If youre interested in this soundtrack, be sure to get the UK version since the US version removed 9 tracks from the soundtrack. Stupid Americans.
This soundtrack is so money and it doesnt even know it! Sorry I had to do it. The Swingers movie and soundtrack just screams cool. Sorry croon, not scream. The Jon Favreau/Vince Vaughn movie features some classic big band, swing, jazz and lounge acts like Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Louis Jordan, and Bobby Darin. Plus some funk songs from Average White Men and King Floyd. Current swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy make an appearance in the movie, and those songs make it on the soundtrack as well. Since this album was such a hit, theres a second volume that featured a few songs from the movie that didnt make it on first volume. Plus, there are some songs that inspired the filmmakers on volume two. So in other words, the leftovers. But Volume 1 is money baby.
5. Club Paradise
Club Paradise was always the soundtrack I was trying to find. Its an extremely rare soundtrack of the 80s comedy Club Paradise starring Robin Williams, Twiggy and Jimmy Cliff. Besides being a funny movie, the soundtrack is excellent. Most of the songs are Jimmy Cliff songs that are exclusive to the soundtrack. The only tracks you might be able to find on other albums or compilations are Club Paradise, Third World People and The Lion Awakes. But the rest of the soundtrack is really rare. There are some songs in the movie not on the soundtrack like Yellowmans Soldier Take Over, Stewart Copelands Gong Rock and The Kinks Apeman. But even without those songs, Club Paradise is a great addition to your collection if youre a reggae fan. Good luck trying to find this album though.
6. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was a brilliant soundtrack that I listen to from time to time. Every time I decide to play it, I still chuckle at the songs. Classics like Uncle Fucka, Blame Canada Kyles Mom Is A Bitch and What Would Brian Boitano Do are the highlights but dont forget about Up There. Ya know, the song sung by Satan. The punk rock version of What Would Brian Botino Do is great and I love the part when they have Irish music thrown in there. Classic Matt & Trey.
7. Black Hawk Down
It took me a long time to really appreciate this soundtrack. It has an eclectic mix of music. Besides the lovely Leave No Man Behind score piece from Hans Zimmer, it has music from French Algerian singer Rachid Taha, French singer Denez Prigent and of course, Joe Strummer. Strummer plays the magnificent version of Minstrel Boy and it still brings a tear to my eyes when listening to it. Actually, Denez Prigent and Lisa Gerrard perform Gortoz a Ran – J’Attends makes me kind of wimpy as well. I dont know what it is about those two songs, but they are wonderful. I really like this soundtrack because it expanded my horizons musically and now I love the music from Rachid Taha and Denez Prigent.
8. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Some might say the soundtrack is better than the movie. I can appreciate both the movie and the soundtrack. If you arent a fan of Walk Hard, you might not enjoy these songs. One thing is for certain, these twangy blues country rock songs sung by John C. Reilly proves the guys got talent! I find myself kicking myself for not going to the Dewey Cox show in New York City before the movie opened up. That would have been something great to see! Out of the recent soundtracks, Walk Hard is the one that gets played the most. The funniest song on the album I think is Let Me Hold You Little Man but the best song on the album is Duet. Dan Bern and Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers wrote most of the songs in the movie. Other highlights of the soundtrack include the title track Walk Hard, A Life without You (Is No Life at All) and Guilty As Charged. I guarantee if you like Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story, youll want to get this soundtrack!
9. The Harder They Come
Since ReadJunk.com mostly covers ska, punk and reggae; it makes sense to include this excellent reggae album. Plus, its just an awesome soundtrack that features 4 original songs from Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, The Slickers, and Desmond Dekker. Believe it or not, I still havent seen the movie. Yes, I know, its blasphemy in the ska world. But what I do know is that the film features great bands and it holds up as one of the greatest soundtracks of all-time. Besides You Can Get It If You Really Want and Sitting in Limbo, I also enjoy The Slickers Johnny Too Bad. Rest of the album is just as great! This is a must-have album for reggae fans.
Yes, another Guy Ritchie movie has cranked the top ten. Snatch is yet another brilliant and fun soundtrack from Ritchie. The music he picks fits perfectly in the movie. Snatch features a lot of snyth/electronica music, like from Overseer, Mirwais,and Massive Attack. But he also features early 80s music from The Stranglers (Golden Brown), future Wife/Ex-Wife Madonna (Lucky Star), and The Specials (Ghost Town). There are a few funk tracks as well; Guy Ritchie certainly enjoys his funk music. Rounding out the soundtrack is a fun song by Huey Piano Smith called Don’t You Just Know It. Between Lock Stock and Snatch, both films are the type of soundtrack I would put out if I was a filmmaker.
11. Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshines soundtrack introduced the world to the eclectic Denver Indie folk band DeVotchKa. I literally just discovered the band on MySpace right as this soundtrack was coming out. DeVotchKa re-composed some of their songs off How It Ends with composer Mychael Danna. Most of the songs fit the movie quite well. The single Til the End of Time is still my favorite DeVotchKa song. Besides DeVotchKa, Sufjan Stevens has 2 tracks (No Mans Land, Chicago) that stand out as well. For the most part, this album is all DeVotchKa and its a good one!
12. Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump was an Academy Award winning film and the soundtrack was a thing of beauty as well. All the songs reflect the time in which Forrest was in. The album starts out with Hound Dog by Elvis and ends with Bob Segers Against The Wind. Well technically The Forrest Gump Suite by composer Alan Silvestri truly ends the soundtrack. Musically you get a sense of the scope of the years it covers in this 2 CD soundtrack. Some of favorites include Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds, California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 by Bob Dylan, I Cant Help Myself by the Four Tops, Fortunate Son by CCR, and of course Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. When Im in the mood to hear some oldies and classic rock, I put this soundtrack on.
13. Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction the movie and soundtrack is probably owned by every college student in America. Quentin Tarantino is another director with a keen sense of hearing and knows his soundtracks! I was going to pick the Kill Bill soundtracks but I honestly listen to Pulp Fiction a lot more. Everything from Al Green to Chuck Berry to all the surf rock that dominates the album; this soundtrack is excellent! I know Im not alone when I say that I never really listen to music from Dick Dale or Al Green before this soundtrack came out. Now I cant get enough. The surf music is really cool and I like what Quentin Tarantino had to said, saying it was similar to a rock n roll Ennio Morricone spaghetti western music. Vincent, Thank You
14. Beverly Hills Cops
According to Jerry Bruckheimer, this was one of the first soundtracks to feature pop music. Is that right? Who knows, all I know is that I like this soundtrack a lot. It makes me nostalgic of the 80s and I think its one of the best soundtracks of that decade. Obviously Axel F is the highlight of the album, and probably one of the most recognizably themes in the last 25 years. Then you have Glen Fry doing The Heat Is On, Patti LaBelle providing 2 standout tracks New Attitude and Stir It up. No, not a Bob Marley cover! Finally, cant forget The Pointer Sisters with Neutron Dance. Ever time I hear that song; I cant help but think of this movie.
15. Good Morning Vietnam
GOOOOODDDD MORNING VIETNAM! Another fantastic oldies soundtrack! The album contains songs from the 1960s and is about an Air Force radio DJ named Adrian Cronauer, played by Robin Williams. The music on here is awesome and it kind of has to be since that was the whole point with Cronauers radio show. Deliver the rock n roll hits & funny impressions and not some boring stuff that the Armed Forces wanted their men to hear. Besides the music heard in the movie, you also have a few clips of Robin Williams from the movie. Truly funny stuff and it still holds up to this day I think. Some of the music highlights for this soundtrack include The Castaways Liar, Liar, The Vogues Five O clock World, Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders Game of Love, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas Nowhere To Run and Louis Armstrongs What A Wonderful World.
16. Team America: World Police
AmericaFUCK YEAH! One of the funniest soundtracksever! Even though I think South Park is a better soundtrack overall, I think Team America succeeds in being a funnier album. All the songs make me bust a nut every time I hear them. Everyone Has AIDs still makes me shake my head with disgust but at the time makes me laugh my balls off. The song Freedom isnt Free is something my friends and I always quote for some reason. The action theme song America, Fuck Yeah and the sad Im So Ronery are other highlights for me. Montage is great because its a spoof of all those 80s montage songs youd hear in movies. Id even bet money some meatheads lift weights to this song.
17. Long Way Down
Some might not know what Long Way Down is but they should. Long Way Down is the sequel to Long Way Round. Its a documentary mini-series in which actors and best mates Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman travel from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa by motorbike. The title track is fantastic and written & performed by Welsh rockers Stereophonics. They did a lot of the music from Long Way Round, but this time around the soundtrack features a lot of African music. It definitely opened up my horizons a little. My two favorite songs on this 2-disc imported soundtrack are from Remmy Ongala & Orchestra Super Matimila (Dodoma) and Thomas Mapfumo (Marudzi Nemarudzi). Other notable bands to check out from this soundtrack are: Big Blue Ball with Peter Gabriel, Maryam Mursal, Joseph Arthur, Geoffrey Oryema, Dub Colossus, and Ghorwane. Be sure to find the UK album because the US version only has 15 songs on it.
18. Transformers: The Movie
Me Grimlock thinks this cheesy 80s metal soundtrack kicks butt! When I originally saw Transformers in theaters back in 1986, I immediately thought the soundtrack was rockin. What the hell did I know, I was 8 or 9. I like listening to Transformers now because of the nostalgic value. Its just fun listening to these hair metal songs and makes me think of the movie. Stan Bushs The Touch is the highlight of the soundtrack, and you might remember Mark Wahlberg singing that song in Boogie Nightsreally badly might I add. Another song I always liked listening to was Dare, another Stan Bush classic. Doesnt this soundtrack make you pumped up? Haha. Might I add how cool & dorky it was to hear a Weird Al Yankovic song (Dare To Be Stupid) in a Transformers movie.
19. Men At Work
Men At Work was the 1990 comedy starring Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez. The soundtrack featured mostly reggae artists and bands. I didnt know who some of these artists/bands were before the soundtrack but now I do! The soundtrack features my favorite Ziggy Marley song Give A Little Love, which is the song that made me a Ziggy fan. The other 3 notable songs from the soundtrack that I like are from UB40 (Wear You to the Ball), Black Uhuru (Take Heed) and Third World (Reggae Ambassador). Rounding out the rest of the tracks is a few songs from Sly & Robbie, Stewart Copeland, and Blood Brothers. Its not the best of soundtracks but the songs that I like made this a worthy purchase at the time.
20. Dumb and Dumber
The Farrelly Brothers have interesting taste in music and it shows on their soundtracks. One minute you might find yourself hearing a song from some alternative rock bands like Crash Test Dummies or The Primitives and then you might hear something from Green Jelly and The Butthole Surfers. I dont like every song on this album but theres enough on here to warrant it a favorite soundtrack. I like the songs from Crash Test Dummies (The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead), The Primitives (Crash (95 Mix)), Willi One Blood (“Whiney, Whiney (What Really Drives Me Crazy)), Gigolo Aunts (“Where I Find My Heaven”), Green Jelly (The Bear Song) and The Proclaimers (Get Ready). Ok so perhaps I like most of the soundtrack after all.
I know Im sure Ill hear from some of you that this soundtrack should be higher up the list. But even though I liked a lot of songs on both volumes of the soundtrack, there are still plenty of songs that I dont like. But lets talk about the songs I like shall we? Iggy Pops Lust of Life is the highlight for me, and any time I hear the song I think of the movies commercial that I used to see over and over. This is another soundtrack that progresses with bands as the movie goes along. You start out with a more new wave, post punk, britpop sound and at the end, its more of an electronica sound. On Volume 1 of the soundtrack, I really enjoy: Sleepers Atomic, New Orders Temptation, Lou Reeds Perfect Day, Pulps Mile End, and Underworlds Born Slippy. Volume 2 mainly features songs that werent on the first soundtrack or songs that inspired the filmmakers. I liked music from Fun Boy Three, Joy Division, Iggy Pop, Sleeper and David Bowie.
Eurotrip is an underrated comedy and think it has an awesome soundtrack. The catchy song that you heard throughout the movie Scotty Doesnt Know by Lustra starts off the album. As a punk fan, the movie has a lot of cool songs from The Business, The Jam and Goldfinger. Of course there arent any songs from the Business on the soundtrack. Another song not on the soundtrack is “Ca plane pour moi” by Plastic Bertrand. Why must the best songs that appear in the movie not show up on the soundtrack? But with that said, this album still has some good songs from Chapeaumelon, Wakefield, and Linval Thompson. Don’t forget the David Hasselhoff song “Du.” Crank that one in the car and open the windows. You’ll get a lot of strange looks coming your way, guaranteed!
23. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a funny movie, and it has a good soundtrack that I find myself listening to a lot. The highlights of this soundtrack include 2 tracks that Russell Brand sings in the movie. His band Infant Sorrow does “We’ve Got To Do Something,” and “Inside of You.” They are just funny songs but they are really catchy at the same time. I’m surprised these songs aren’t more of a hit though. I could definitely see these songs being played on the radio. This movie definitely put Brand on the map though. Another funny song included on the soundtrack is from the Jason Segal, the star of the film. He performs his song from the movie “Dracula’s Lament.” I can’t listen to it every time but it’s still funny hearing it on here. Other cool bands or artists from the soundtrack include Desmond Dekker, Cake, Belle And Sebastian and The Coconutz.
This was THE soundtrack to own back in the 90s. It contained tracks from all the alternative rock/grunge acts like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins and Paul Westerberg of the Replacements. By far, the best songs on this album are from Paul Westerberg. The songs are “Dyslexic Heart” and “Waiting for Somebody.” I’m not a fan of Soundgarden or Smashing Pumpkins but I dig the Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains songs more than the others. Unless you like the music scene from Seattle, you probably won’t like this soundtrack. I like to hear this one from time to time because it takes me back over 15 years. The movie is pretty cool too.
25. I’m Not There
I was confused and bored with the movie I’m Not There. But the one thing I love about it was the music. I wasn’t a Bob Dylan fan for most of my life but maybe in the last 4 years I really started to get into his music. I’m Not There features a lot of excellent musicians covering Dylan songs but there’s at least 6 songs on here that I must listen to daily. Jim James and Calexico performing “Going To Acapulco” in the movie was probably one of the best scenes in the movie and it’s also my favorite song on the album. My other favorite song is the beautiful sung cover of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” by Mason Jennings. Other tracks to listen to on this 2 disc set are: “Mama You’ve Been On My Mind” by Jack Johnson, “Tombstone Blues” by Ritchie Havens, “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” by Cat Power, “Pressing On” by John Doe, and “When the Ship Comes In” by Marcus Carl Franklin. There’s so much to listen to here but I consider those tracks above the stand-outs. Definitely worth listening if you’re a Dylan fan.