John Williams has recently celebrated his 80s birthday making blogs, websites and magazines focus on his great works and the works of other amazingly great composers. If you ask anyone to name best soundtracks of all times, they will first call the obvious: Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Terminator, the Godfather,Lord of the Rings or Indiana Jones (now count how many of them were written by Williams- bloody genius). But what about the soundtracks that are not our first choice? The ones that we often think of actually better that the top greatest ones of all times, because simply they are not everywhere all the time. The soundtracks that are equally pleasurable to listen to, but often get lost in the ratings because they lack the epicness and the recognition. Not anymore. I have already chose my top 12 most recognisable movie songs but this one will be very different, for these soundtracks are not recognisable enough. Here is my list of top 12 soundtracks I listen to- the ones that tend to be underestimate but are honey to ears.Order here is completely random- I love them all. Enjoy!
12. Spirited Away
As I have mentioned in the introduction to this post, it is almost impossible to put these soundtrack in the order and the fact that Spirited Away seems to be so far on the list is simply a coincidence. I promise. Actually, while I’m writing this I am literally considering making it an alphabetical order so it seems more fair. But, let’s get back to the soundtrack itself. Spirited Away is not as underrated as all the other ones I am listing here. Actually, many many people always emphasise how truly magical the music is and how it is a perfect background for Hayao Miyazaki’s film. I am still placing it on my list, because although it is million’s favourite, I believe we can make another million love it. It is one of my favourite films of all times and although I don’t listen to this soundtrack as much as I should, it is always in my heart. Simply beautiful.
This is for me one of the all time number ones when it comes to soundtracks. It is completely magical and beautiful and can be listened to millions of times and never becomes boring. It is the combination of traditional French music with new French cinema, the conservatisms of instruments portraying one of the most independent story of all. It is like chocolate- just waits for you to indulge in it so all its flavours can burst in your ears. Amazing soundtrack.
10. Road to Perdition
If there is anything more amazing than Thomas Newman’s American Beauty soundtrack, to me it can only be his Road to Perdition one. Although the film itself wasn’t so good and it lacked both originality and heart, the music was definitely one of the most perfect soundtracks I have ever heard in my entire life. It almost seems like Thomas Newman knows exactly which notes to use in order to make us feel nostalgic and enchanted. Every single note is delicate, but breathtaking. It can be listened to while driving the long road in the middle of the night with no soul visible. Truly sublime.
9. The Talented Mr Ripley
Those of you who are as obsessed about this film as I am will understand my slight anger when it comes to this amazing soundtrack. With all my love and respect to those who produced the CD- how dare you did not put one of the most mesmerising themes from it, that can be heard in the film but not here? It is almost outrageous how this beautiful track has been missing and the only way to hear it is by watching the film (Silvana’s death). Apart from this little problem with the soundtrack, it is one of those that have changed my taste in music. Suddenly I was into jazz and not only was I able to name all the major ones that appeared in the film, but found more and more underground ones that some of you have probably never heard of. The soundtrack itself to me is as perfect as the movie and can be listened to everytime everywhere and always work its magic. Work of genius (an evil one from not putting this one theme…)
8. The Social Network
This soundtrack is almost like the American Beauty one- everyone loved it at some point but it was somehow forgotten after. Thus, I mention it to remind you how amazing it is- and its greatness lies in the unconventional portrayal of drama. Although the Social Network is a drama, and it follows certain rules of the genre, unlike what we normally are presented with, its soundtrack is a vibrant, electronic mix with piano solos. It was a very risky experiment, but to me, it’s one of the most successful ones of this decade. The Social Network has been on my ipod since the movie came out, and it is still my number 3 of mostly listened soundtracks. Unforgettable.
Although to many Clint Mansell will always be remembered for his Requiem for a Dream soundtrack, to me he proved his true genius in Moon. It is a disturbing piece of music, but the disturbance here differs from one of Requiem for a Dream. It is less dramatic and painful, and more sad and touching. It perfectly portrays what the film is about and I won’t lie- this music breaks my heart to the point of tears. It is mesmerising.
6. 28 Days Later
Danny Boyle is a pitch perfect director and he cares dearly about every single aspect of every single movie he has made. It is difficult to name the best soundtrack that comes from his production, because like all the films he made, they are all very different from each other. Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire are the two that had a very big impact on my ears, and for a long time they dominated my soundtrack choices. However, if I had to choose only one, I would definitely pick 28 Days Later. I love supposedly simple music which turns out to be so powerful that can never be forgotten. 28 Days Later theme is one of them- haunting, gaining intensity with every single note only to subtly fade away. It is one of the themes I will recognise everywhere and one of the themes that I can never get tired of. Hypnotising.
5. The Others
I heard this soundtrack by accident. On the DVD, the main theme played repetitively in the main menu, so from first being in the background, it very soon creeped into my mind and stayed there forever. The Others is one of these films that many ignored for the reason I never understood. To me it is one of the best ghost story and definitely the most amazing ghostly soundtrack of all times. Sounding like an old music box, this music is definitely an exquisite experience. It is one of the soundtracks I could easily listen to for ages and remain hypnotised by the harmonious perfection. Because I am running out of numbers and I need to mention another soundtrack, I will do it here (because both of them star Nicole Kidman and both have exactly the same hypnotic effect on me). So, for those who find the Others’s score inspiring, you should also listen to music to Dogville- its repetitive deepness of sounds combined with growing intensity of the main melody is simply striking. Both soundtracks are simply breathtaking.
4. The Virgin Suicides
I love this soundtrack for the same reason I love the Social Network one- it is simply unconventional, risky, edgy and it works amazingly well. This score came out as another Air album, and so many missed it simply because they are not fans of the band. I hope to bring its deserved fame back. The Virgin Suicides is a disturbing drama based on the book of the same title written by Jeffrey Eugenides. Sophia Coppola, who is the director of the movie has already proven many times that when it comes to music, she is a female Quentin Tarantino and she does no wrong (well, apart from Marie Antoinette which is often considered a failed musical experiment). Bringing Air’s electric feel to this dreamlike story made the Virgin Suicide’s soundtrack simply a work of art. Although difficult to get lost in, once you do, you can never go back. Extraordinary.
3. Little Ashes
Not only is it one of the most underrated soundtracks, but it is also one of the most underrated movies of all times. The obvious reason for both of them lies in the fact that although Robert Pattinson was already famous for his vampiric performance, his appearance in an independent Spanish production as Salvador Dali, was a little treat for die hard fans…but not die hard Twilight fans…die hard Dali fans. So although I really enjoyed this film, I can understand why the majority of the audience didn’t get it and forgot it completely. But apart from the secrets it tries to unravel related to the relationship between the greatest Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca and the greatest painter, Salvador Dali; Little Ashes was hiding (and hiding really well) the true musical masterpiece- its soundtrack. Finding it on youtube is almost impossible, but I promise you that it is a treasure worth hunting. It has the same perfect combination Amelie offers- the traditional Spanish music mixed with the unique sentimentality. Beautifully subtle and magical, Little Ashes is like a sweet memory that one can forget themselves in. Superb
2. The Girl with the Pearl Earring
There was time in my life when I listened to this soundtrack every single day. I even learnt how to play it on piano in case I can’t listen to it. I went to see this film seven times in the cinema and one of the reasons for it (apart from the visual feast it is) was for the musical value it offers. Hardly ever a soundtrack like this is written and the moment I heard it Alexander Desplat has become one of my favourite composers. It is so beautiful to me, there are simply no words to describe it. It stops my heart from beating and it takes my breath away. The world stops when I listen to it. But enough of this, let the music speaks for itself. Ecstasy
1. My Summer of Love
I feel like I am revealing to you my dearest secret. It is definitely one of the most underrated soundtracks ever and hardly anyone ever mentions it. More than that, it was impossible to find few years ago and the only copy I saw cost over twenty pounds. It is ghostly, mesmerising and hypnotising, subtle and disturbing. It echos with sinister shadows and haunts you in night. It left me speechless. Keep it secret.