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Mar 25, 2008

Fletch's Favored Five: Movies Worth Listening To (Soundtracks)

So I've had this post sitting as an unfinished draft for months now. I keep staring at it, waiting for some brilliant spin to come to me that never seems to happen. I guess you're stuck with a brilliantly unoriginal post about some of my favorite soundtracks. Not coincidentally, most of the movies listed below could also be found on a personal top 100 list, if I were ever to make one. I'm breaking out the list into a few categories (two posts): this one will focus on single-based soundtracks, with another later in the week about scores and just some favorite singles. Both posts are dedicated to the man with the musical mind (and blog), Soundtrack Geek.

Favorite singles-based soundtracks
Though credit should probably go to the artists, there's definitely a talent in putting together a grouping of either seemingly or totally unconnected songs into a cohesive album that warrants multiple entire-length listenings. Most of the soundtracks listed, in either this category or the next, are also wise enough to include dialogue snippets that enhance the listening experience. The first album mentioned is probably the best at that, and plays out (as soundtracks should) in order of their appearance in the film.

Pulp Fiction - People give a ton of credit to Quentin Tarantino for kick-starting or re-starting careers, but they're usually talking about actors. However, the man has probably been a bigger force (dollar-wise) when it comes to rejuvenating the careers of soul, R & B, pop and surf musicians from the 60s and 70s. His breakout film featured songs from artists as diverse as Dick Dale, Al Green and Urge Overkill, no doubt selling millions of albums for them in addition to the sales of this film's soundtrack.
Favorite Track: "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon," by Urge Overkill

Rushmore - If any director has rivaled Tarantino in terms of quality and diverseness when it comes to his films' soundtracks, it's Wes Anderson. This one is all over the place, with great tracks from classic rock starts like John Lennon and The Who to folk star Cat Stevens to jazz to Mark Mothersbaugh's brilliant scored tracks (which really could qualify this album for inclusion in the next category). Brilliant all around.
Favorite Track: "A Quick One While He's Away," by The Who

The Royal Tenenbaums - one might argue that this one is too similar to Rushmore's, what with another great score by Mothersbaugh, and more punk/rock tracks mined from decades past, but then one would be wrong. Outside of great Clash and Ramones songs, Tenanbaums mostly shows a more somber side, including two Nico songs, some Elliot Smith, and a tremendous hidden gem from Bob Dylan ("Wigwam").
Favorite Track: "Christmas Time is Here," by the Vince Guaraldi Trio (aka the Peanuts' Christmas song)

Trainspotting - much like the 70s themed Dazed and Confused sountrack that spawned a sequel of its own (and barely missed this list), Trainspotting also produced a second album, and though it's good, it pales to the first, a stellar collection of Britpop and early electronica, spanning from Brian Eno to Pulp to Blur to Bowie and Iggy. Only one bad song to be found (New Order's "Tempation").
Favorite Track: the now overused "Lust for Life," by Iggy Pop

Snatch - It's a bit spottier overall than the previous soundtracks mentioned, but Guy Ritchie's biggest hit had three outstanding songs that I will have a hard time picking a favorite from. Let's just say that the runners up are Massive Attack's "Angel" and Oasis' "F**kin' in the Bushes," and I could listen to either one of those all day. Other standouts include the trippy "Sensual Woman" by Herbaliser and some old school funk by Bobby Byrd ("Hot Pants").
Favorite Track: "Golden Brown," by The Stranglers

Honorable Mentions: Dazed and Confused, Singles, Reservoir Dogs.

15 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Favored Five: Movies Worth Listening To (Soundtracks)"

nick plowman said...

Hell Yeah!
Great taste man. 4 out of that five are up there in my favourite list too, Pulp Fiction, Rushmore, Tenanbaums and Trainspotting. I have not seen Snatch nor have I heard the soundtrack. Maybe I should.

The Fraze said...

awesome post - very nice. And yes, "Occupato" is definitely on the disc. By the time you're through with that disc you'll be quite comfortable with me... with a shirt or without a shirt ;)

Creepy huh? ha

Mrs. Thuro said...

Mr. Thuro and I NEVER take a road trip without my Pulp Fiction soundtrack. It is a staple of our highway (and dirt road) adventures.

Pat said...

Cool post. I agree that Wes Anderson films have great soundtracks.

The soundtrack CD I listen to over and over is "Magnolia" - great Aimee Mann tunes. And I'm going out on lunch hour today to finally buy the "Once" soundtrack.

Evan Derrick said...

I would have to respectfully submit the soundtrack for "Garden State" to this list.

In non-singles oriented soundtracks, I'd choose "Fight Club" and "Last of the Mohicans" as some of my favorites.

Evan Derrick said...

Silly me, how could I have forgotten to mention the soundtrack to "Full Metal Jacket"? I remember buying that sucker just so I could get the Rolling Stones' 'Fade to Black,' and then being royally pissed off when I got home and discovered that it wasn't on the disc. Regardless, it was a great listen, with "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and "Going to the Chapel" being highlights.

Dave said...

Interesting post. I would probably put these on my top 100 list as well and that makes for an interesting look at how important a soundtrack really is for a great movie. One that I would have mentioned if I had done the same thing would have been Garden State. I loved that movie and the soundtrack is great. However, if I had not heard those songs in the movie I never would have liked them. Finding music to go with a movie and work beautifully is an art in itself for sure. It makes the movie and the music better.

Nick said...

I rarely ever buy soundtracks, and if I do, it's because the music of the movie REALLY hit home with me. The last soundtrack I bought was the Juno soundtrack, as I loved the music of that movie. Before that? I can't even remember.

WampaOne said...

I have exactly the complete opposite opinion on Trainspotting soundtrack. I think it sucks except fot the New Order tune. I think that is why the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink is nowhere to be found on your rankings. The dark side I sense in you, Fletch.

NFL Adam said...

I'm sure everybody has their favorites. And your list is great. However, I believe that Almost Famous deserves some run.

Daniel G. said...

Nice one here. The first two are absolute locks, but on a given day I would personally fill out the rest with Romeo + Juliet, Magnolia, and maybe Forrest Gump. On another day those three might change, but the first two always stay.

As it happens, I think several from last year will be in this conversation in years to come: I'm Not There, Once, Across the Universe and Into the Wild.

Are there rules, by the way? If not, I'd throw Rent in...

Jed Medina said...

Awesome list! Not only is it inspirational and diverse, one of my favorites Trainspotting should really get credit for such an outstanding soundtrack!

Fletch said...

@ Plowman - um, you need to see Snatch...soon.

@ the Fraze - thanks for the visual, man. Can't wait to watch the DVD.

@ Mrs. Thuro - you and Mr. Thuro are wise. Ezekiel 25:17...

@ Evan - as discussed, you have great taste (since it's like mine, of course). Garden State is an honorable mention for me as well. As for your scores mentioned...stay tuned.

I'm not too familiar with FMJ's soundtrack. Sounds like the Forrest Gump soundtrack before the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

@ Wampa - no, my young (older) Padawan, the dark side I sense in you. Boo New Order (at least that song). That soundtrack is solid all the way around. How can you not like Iggy, Bowie or Lou Reed???

@ Adam - agreed. I'm sure Almost Famous is solid, though if there's Stillwater stuff on there, I could probably live without that...

@ Daniel G. - I'm Not There and Across the Universe are no doubt good, but that seems like cheating, since they're all from the same artist.

Thanks all for the feedback. Still waiting to hear from the Geek...

soundtrackgeek said...

Sorry for being late to the party ;)

Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting stand above the rest here for me, not that the other soundtracks you mentioned are bad, far from it, but there's something about Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting. The songs will forever remind me of the movies and vice versa.

By the way, Jungle Boogie by Kool & The Gang is my standalone favorite from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

Perfect Day by Lou Reed is just priceless in the movie. The irony of it all, the timing... just superb. Honorable mention to Born Slippy by Underworld... it just captures the movie really.

Great post!

nick plowan said...

I will, I will.

Evan, I loved the Garden State soundtrack so much. I am a soundtrack junkie, usually I buy at least on soundtrack a month, new or old. Last one I bought was Juno.