Movie soundtracks are a difficult beast to master. They have to take an already existing song and apply it to a new medium in a new context. This often works with varying results, and many songs are so overused in soundtracks, they've lost all meaning. We'd like to honor a few soundtracks that have chosen songs and reapplied meaning. We're not talking about musicals, we're not talking about scores, we're talking about the ten best soundtracks of the decade.
10. Morvern Callar
Considering the film is based on a woman finding her boyfriend has committed suicide and left behind a mixtape, it's difficult not to include this stellar soundtrack on the list. There is a distinct vision of a dislocated mind at work in the film, and tracks by Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Can, Nancy Sinatra and others accentuate this film in a way that adds depth and introspection. Weirdly, the soundtrack disc doesn't include the complete subversion of the Mama's and Papas' "Dedicated to the One I Love."
9. Lost in Translation
It's rare that a soundtrack can save a film. That's not to say Lost in Translation is bad, necessarily, but it simply wouldn't be the same without the excellent soundtrack - in fact, it'd likely be far worse off. Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine make appearances, as Kevin Shields adds a few new songs into the mix.
8. High Fidelity
Few movies absolutely have to have an excellent soundtrack just to exist. High Fidelity, however, is one of those movies. It simply wouldn't work without the remarkable score and pretension that comes from working at a record store. We're not going to lie; we've seen scenes like the one above play out in Twist and Shout and Wax Trax before, and it's always a magical experience.
7. Royal Tenenbaums
There haven't been a lot of scenes put to film more eponymous and retroactively disturbing than Wes Anderson's usage of Elliot Smith during a suicide scene in Royal Tenenbaums. Looking back on this, it sends chills down our spines even more than the original viewing. All that said, the soundtrack as a whole is amazing, combing the likes of John Lennon, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan with Mark Mothersbaugh's superb score.
6. City of God
There aren't too many movies out there with soundtracks good enough to spawn two remix discs. If that's not enough for City of God to make this list, let's not forget the whole soundtrack is a collection of Brazilian funk music - not exactly a sure-fire way to attract American audiences, but it did here.
5. The Squid and the Whale
The ending scene in The Squid and the Whale is rendered all the more amazing with the inclusion of Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" to accentuate it. Throughout the film, the soundtrack moves to add context and meaning to each scene, pulling from the likes of the Cars, The Feelies, Loudon Wainwright II and Blossom Dearie to help push the film forward.
4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Do you remember where you were when the O Brother soundtrack was released? We do, and we were sitting around being confused about how a collection of old-school southern country music songs had suddenly taken American by storm. This excellent Coen Brothers movie simply would not exist without this amazing collection of classic American songs.
3. Friday Night Lights
It's rare for an indie band to become as important on a movie soundtrack as Explosions in the Sky did on Friday Night Lights. Throw in the fact it's a movie about high-school football with the self-described loudest band in Texas backing it up, and you get a movie about high school and football even us music dorks can get behind.
2. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
There is no other scene in any film this decade that has scared the bejeses' out of us more than the buried alive scene in Kill Bill. Throw in the repurposed Ennio Morricone "L'Arena," and it's accented perfectly. Toss in the excellent "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra, as well as tracks from NEU!, the 188.8.131.52's, and Johnny Cash, not to mention the excellent RZA score, and this is easily one of the best soundtracks of the decade.
Few soundtracks have stepped up to a films absurd premise than those chosen for CQ. A combination of French-neo-psychedelic and pop, the movie's entire contextualization relies on the cues provided by Jacques Dutronc, Claude Francois and Antonello Paliotti. The supplemental score provided by Mellow adds to the cohesive campiness of the film. It's certainly not the most recognizable soundtrack of the decade, but it's one that took itself seriously despite its obvious reasons not to.
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