With the up coming vinyl release of the hottest soundtrack of recent years, it’s rather fitting that the new limited edition Drive soundtrack comes in incredibly hot pink. It is a most beautiful thing.
It’s quite rare when a soundtrack like Drive comes along – it gets as much hype or even more than the film itself and arguably, defines it. Unbelievably stylish and cool electronic synthy pop, Cliff Martinez’s score captures the 80s’ retro noirish mood of the film without making it gimmicky or pretentious.
All the individual tracks are really great too and Nightcall by Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx is, I think, one of the sexiest songs ever. Driving fast, at night, in Downtown LA, lit by florescent light… has never been more enticing. I don’t EVEN fancy Ryan Gosling.
So anyway, in no particular order, here are a few more of my fave soundtracks or scores, please note there will be no John Williams and no musicals…
Along with the poster and marketing campaign, Trainspotting has probably the most iconic soundtrack of the last 20 years or so. It captured the spirit of the 90s and Britpop so perfectly and yet quite a few of the songs featured are not even from that era. Of course there’s the amazing 90’s track Born Slippy by Underworld which is as good a track as any if you want conjure up the mad fer it rave culture of that decade. Yet you can’t hear Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life without instantly picturing Renton running down that street as the film opens or Lou Reed’s Perfect Day without remembering him sinking into the floor after “the intravenous injection of hard drugs”. Classic.
Another bit of Ewan here. A flawed but underrated gem of a film. Todd Haynes’ 1998 love letter to 70s glam rock, Bowie, Ferry, Bolan, Iggy and all who adored them. It gets a lot of flack for being a bit of an inconsistent mess, which it is, but if you go with the flow (or blow), it’s like riding a magnificent wave of glitter.
Bowie didn’t allow his songs to be used but a few original tracks were written to echo his sound and there’s loads of Roxy Music, T-Rex, Steve Harley et al both original versions and covers by awesome musicians from bands such as Radiohead, Suede and Sonic Youth!
This is Jonathan Rhys Meyers singing Steve Harley’s Tumbling Down. WARNING Also contains Ewan and Christian Bale doing naughty things…
Maybe too quirky for some, or as Kermode likes to say about such things “quirksome to irksome”, most of the songs in Juno are by Kimya Dawson (of The Moldy Peaches fame). Her anti-folk low key songs fit perfectly with the off beat style of a film which, since its release in 2007, has been hard to better when it comes to indie comedy/dramas. It still always makes me smile and this ending is lovely with Michael Cera and Ellen Page covering The Moldy Peaches’ Anyone Else But You.
There Will Be Blood
A masterful film by PT Anderson, who is, I believe, one of the greatest and most interesting directors working today (along with Chris Nolan). The score, by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, was famously, controversially and ridiculously disallowed from The Academy Awards due to “pre-existing material”. Nevertheless, Oscar or no Oscar, it is a deeply engaging piece of work; haunting and unnerving and incredibly affecting. Massive flaming epic oil spills will never be the same again.
Finally, an obvious but important mention must go to Mr Woody Allen’s use of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the opening of Manhattan, which is one of my favourite marriages of film and music. Guaranteed goose pimples every time. “Chapter one…”