Since the world has ventured into the year 2012, I decided it was appropriate to unravel my top twelve film soundtracks since the year 2000. As I am an adamant listener to music I personally always enjoy a film that has a strong musical foundation to hold the film strips together. Dating back to the beginning of the millenium, I compiled a list of my top twelve picks from the last twelve years. There is a great variety in the bands and songs that appear on these albums so hopefully one will connect with you, if not the majority of them. I love them all so I hope you enjoy my choices.
Almost Famous -2000
The decade that “changed the nation” brought on the 70s, which eventually brought on the year 2000 which brought about a film called Almost Famous. The beautiful minds of music in the 1970s America were absolutely wonderful. Some of the best tracks to ever hit the industry during this time are featured in this musically based film. From the harmonious sounds of Simon and Garfunkel to the infamous Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, the world of music would be changed forever after this decade. The soundtrack to Almost Famous showcases some of the best bands to ever bless the industry with their creations. Bands like The Who, The Allman Brothers, Cat Stevens and Elton John are featured on this phenomenal mix. This is absolutely an album that cannot be passed by; it is awesome in almost everyway possible and deserves to be heard.
Donnie Darko – 2001
With a slow tempo to emphasize the emotions of the film, Donnie Darko’s soundtrack is one that can be listened to for hours. Director Richard Kelly commissioned San Diego television and film composer, Michael Andrews, to create the soundtrack for the movie. Using a diverse range of instruments such as the piano, mellotron, xylophone, ukulele, and organ, Andrews also brought in two female vocalists, Sam Shelton and Tori Haberman. He also worked with Gary Jules to create the brilliant cover song for the film “Mad World,” which is my favorite song of the album. From the first track to the last the Donnie Darko soundtrack is without a doubt one of the best in the last decade.
O’ Brother Where Art Thou – 2001
I really do not believe this film needs more of an explanation than the title, yet I will continue for those who have been under a rock since 2000. Although I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of country and bluegrass music, the soundtrack to the superb film O’ Brother Where Art Thou is simply wonderful in all of its country foundations. In October 2007, the soundtrack CD became a best seller, certified eight times platinum. It won three Grammys in 2002 and numerous other awards. The soundtrack boast the works of wonderful artists such as Harry McClintock’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain”, to the Soggy Bottom Boys and Dan Tyminski well known song “I am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” The first time I watched O’ Brother Where Art Thou I was arrested by the track’s melodies. With some of the best country songs I personally have heard, the album is absolutely one to enjoy time and time again
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – 2004
With the faces of Bill Murray and Owen Wilson being featured in this film, I simply could not miss it. Although the film was fairly good and made me laugh, what I was really impressed with was the musical compositions. The soundtrack to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is probably the greatest musical collaboration for a soundtrack of the last decade. While the track list includes songs performed by rock icons David Bowie and The Stooges, there’s also room left for the exponentially less well known artists such as Seu Jorge and Sven Libaek; the combination adds to the soundtrack’s unique atmosphere.
Walk the Line – 2005
Johnny Cash. The man is one of the best musicians to ever enlighten the world to the definition of music. With his notable all black attire and badass demeanor, Cash is one of those artists that will live on forever. Although many films have tried to tell the tale of this man, James Mangold has managed to do it the best with his appropriate titled 2005 film, Walk the Line. This phenomenal film tells the story of Johnny Cash from before becoming a household name, giving insight to his addiction problems and his past. Joaquin Phoenix, who completely surprised me when first viewing the film, along with Reese Witherspoon, and more, lend their voices to a soundtrack featuring, of course, Johnny Cash and June Carter songs. The performance by Phoenix and Witherspoon is utterly superb winning them both numerous awards for their parts in the film. The soundtrack even won a Grammy in 2007. If you are a Johnny Cash fan what so ever, then you will surely enjoy the soundtrack to Walk the Line.
Across the Universe – 2007
This film is all about one of the most famous bands of all time, The Beatles. From the soundtrack to the story line, the world of this magnificent band is unleashed through the reel in the form of a musical. All the songs performed throughout Across the Universe are some of the most recognizable hits from this infamous band, but with the twist of the film’s unique attributes. Jim Sturgess, who plays Jude in the movie, does an exceptional job singing these melodies. I was honestly taken back by the actor’s voice and performance. I personally am a big fan of The Beatles so I loved it from the beginning; however, viewers don’t have to feel the same way about the band to enjoy this soundtrack. The film’s tracks have a signature sound that can be enjoyed by music fans worldwide. With the euphoric choruses crafted to make The Beatles come to life in a totally different manner, this is absolutely one of my favorite soundtracks dating back to the year 2000.
I’m not there -2007
As one of the best folk musicians, Bob Dylan has established himself in the hearts of millions since his introduction in the 60s. Although there have been many films that have featured this man’s ingenious talent, none have done so quite like I’m Not There. The soundtrack is absolutely brilliant with some of the most well known Bob Dylan songs performed by the one and only as well as other incredibly talented musicians. From Iggy and the Stooges playing “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” to Mason Jennings’ version of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Caroll,” this soundtrack showcases some Dylan’s finest work. Being a strong Dylan fan I loved every bit of the film and its album. If you are a true fan of the best folk musician to date, then this soundtrack is definitely for you.
Into the Wild – 2007
Sean Penn has made his incredibly successful acting career; however, the man can also ingeniously direct a film. His beloved creation of Into the Wild experienced a great deal of success being nominated for two Oscars and winning seventeen awards. And the soundtrack was absolutely amazing as well. Having a strong vision for a musically incorporated film, Sean Penn actually went to Eddie Vedder, known best for his role as the lead singer in the band Pearl Jam, to produce the soundtrack. The end result was a piece of work from Vedder that ultimately helped launch his solo career. With Ukulele riffs giving off beach vibes and the always-distinguishable voice of the musician, the Into the Wild soundtrack is a harmonious mix of wonderfully soothing music full of inspiration and relaxation. You don’t have to be a Pearl Jam fan to appreciate this soundtrack, you only need to be a fan of music. It will not disappoint.
Juno – 2007
I loved this film, from the rhythmic vibes leaking through the reel to Michael Cera’s awkward demeanor. Juno is exceptionally done with the music serving as the foundation of the film. With the enjoyment of the Indie world, the soundtrack to Juno is excellent. Although there are some strange tunes to hit the melodies, the majority are calm and relaxing, yet still exciting to hear. Showcasing the not so famous realms of the music industry, this soundtrack will have you listening to harmonies like never before. From The Moldy Peaches performing “Anyone Else But You” to Belle and Sebastian playing “Piazza, New York Catcher,” this soundtrack has a great range of music that is incredibly enjoyable. There is even a song with Michael Cera and Ellen Page singing their version of “Anyone Else But You”. If you enjoyed the film, then you will surely enjoy the soundtrack.
(500) Days of Summer – 2009
From a wonderful film that should have received more attention, (500) Days of Summer has a brilliant juxtaposition of music and film. When I first saw the film, the music held my attention till the credits were finished. The soundtrack, which backs a great deal of the scene, is a great mix of bands. From the beautiful euphoric sounds of Simon and Garfunkel to newer artists like Temper Trap, Feist, Wolfmother and Regina Spektor, some of my favorite songs and bands are featured throughout this phenomenal soundtrack. I did not expect such a great mix of bands and songs to make up the building blocks for this film, but I am glad it did. If you enjoyed the film and are an adamant listener of music then the (500) Days of Summer’s soundtrack is for you.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – 2010
This soundtrack is fantastic. From the realms of indie music, the soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World captures a great variety of tunes. In the opening scene of the film I was instantly arrested with the ecstasy of wonderful music leaking through the pixels on the screen. The album for the film is amazing even creating an entire band, the Sex Bob-Oms, who actually performed the songs for both the film and soundtrack. From the melodic notes of Beck, The Rolling Stones and Metric to the film featured songs of the Sex Bob-Oms and Crash and the Boys the soundtrack gives way to a wonderful world of music many people have never been introduced to. I personally fell in love with the film’s focus on heavy musical foundations from the opening to the ending credits. If you are a lover of music then this soundtrack needs to be on your list to check out, it will not disappoint.
Inception – 2011
What is something that The Lion King (1994) and Inception have in common? The answer would be the great Hans Zimmer. Scoring films such as one of Disney’s most famous films to date to Crimson Tide (2000), The Last Samurai (2003), and The Dark Knight (2008), this German film composer and music producer has created nothing but greatness. In 2011, the man did it once again when he scored the brilliant film Inception. Zimmer is most noted for integrating electronic music sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements, which are showcased throughout the soundtrack to Inception. The intense bass and deep sounds cue a juxtaposition of intensity and calmness to arrest the viewer. It may not be full of the most soothing and catchy songs, yet this album should not be passed up; Hans Zimmer did a phenomenal job on this soundtrack.