8 Movie Soundtracks Better Than The Film
A great soundtrack is something of a double-edged sword for films. While a great soundtrack can buoy a film’s attention and respectability, it can also steal a bit of the film’s limelight – and, in the less fortunate circumstances, outshine the film entirely.
Below, we spin the black circle on 10 Movie Soundtracks Better Than The Film, in honor of musical transcendence in film.
Just as goth hit the mainstream, translated as eyeliner-OD’ing pasty translucent sausage embracing the cheapest stereotypes Hot Topic could churn, The Crow soundtrack arrived, providing a leaping point for suburban darkness to achieve a bit of cultural relevance. You’ve got Nine Inch Nails covering Joy Division as The Cure delivers a haunting opener, with strong showings from Rage Against the Machine, Pantera, and a never-better Stone Temple Pilots.
The incredible soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s 1992 grunge classic Singles perfectly captured the early ’90s grunge moment with true respect. Original Chris Cornell compositions, the debut of Pearl Jam’s wildly intense side, as well as perfect songs from Alice In Chains, the Smashing Pumpkins, Jimi Hendrix and more.
Juno made constellation connections between the Moldy Peaches and Sonic Youth, Belle & Sebastian and Cat Power. Capped by an infuriatingly cute version of “Anyone Else But You” by Michael Cera and Ellen Page, the record is damn near perfect.
Curse you, Zach Braff. The soundtrack to the “Scrubs” star’s quirktastic semi-autobiographical film was the conception of the hipster universe, which arrived long before hipsters were an official thing. If bummed out dudes moping through 10th grade poetry class homework is your thing, you were born for this record. The Shins, Iron and Wine, Coldplay, Nick Drake, Colin Hay, and yet more Shins populate the tracklist.
Sure, Run-DMC and Aerosmith made a song together, and Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise” with Anthrax was positively fire, but the Judgment Night soundtrack was another beast entirely. Prior to this collection of tracks intentionally clashing styles, nobody had attempted a full-scale all-star album-length collision of rap and rock. While the downside is the rap-rocking abominations of Limp Bizkit and beyond that it spawned, it was a perfect storm of songs that souldn’t – and often didn’t – work, but at points it was a wild dose of peculiar genius. Sure, the 1993 B-movie featuring Emilio Estevez and Cuba Gooding, Jr. was a total mess, but this meeting of Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill, Helmet and House of Pain, Living Colour and Run DMC and so on is an unforgettable ride through the oddities of the ‘90s.
Prince’s finest musical appearance outshines the film with all the sexual chocolate of an Eddie Murphy . Featuring a staggering run of iconic hit-bait gems including “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Darling Nikki,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “When Doves Cry” and the title track, the record would sell over 14 million copies, earning Prince two Grammys along the way.
Romeo + Juliet
Alt-rock in its post-cynical prime, the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack was a strangely perfect mix of mainstream pop and essential rock, leading Baz Luhrmann’s preposterous modern spin on Shakespeare. The record includes a curveball from Radiohead, as well as a strong showing from Garbage, The Cardigans’ “Love Fool,” and an actually really great song by Everclear.
Saturday Night Fever
Forget about John Travolta and his bucket chin cleft – Saturday Night Fever was all about the music, and no album was more defining of the ’70s disco era than this. The Bee Gees had reached the apex of their powers, with a run of unbelievably good hits: “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Jive Talkin’” – add Kool and the Gang and The Trampps, and you have a legendary soundtrack to what’s now just a silly movie.