Hello, all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and watched a ton of movies and television (just like me). I thought that’d I do another post on my favorite original movie soundtracks because why not spread the joy of music? Here’s my favorite original soundtrack list, part 2. Enjoy!
- The Sixth Sense- James Newton Howard
Why not start off this list with my main man JNH ? He’s collaborated with M. Night Shamalayan on multiple movies including The Village, Signs, The Lady in The Water, etc, and all of them have fantastic soundtracks, but I’ve been listening primarily to this one because it carries so much emotional weight. The story is quite a haunting one and I think the main theme and especially “Malcolm’s Dead” are very effective at channeling the themes of fear, sadness, and loss into a few minutes of music. I’m a sucker for the “big reveal” music. You know, when the strings swell and you can practically hear the DUN, DUN DUN! But JNH keeps the theme from growing too exaggerated by tempering it with tender piano at the end. A true master at work.
2. Spirited Away- Joe Hisaishi
There is something indescribable about the opening notes of “Dragon Boy.” The emotions that it stirs, whether you’ve seen the movie or not, are so complex. When I hear it, I feel this great expectancy, like I’m watching a parade, but also this feeling of triumph and nostalgia and a tinge of awe. It’s a damn amazing piece of music. Joe Hisaishi is known partly for composing for Studio Ghibli, but he’s also a well-known composer of his own original works. Of his movie work, I particularly like the score for Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro, but I think the score for Spirited Away is his best. The two pieces I’ve included inspire such a distinct mood. They give context and tone even without their accompanying scenes. Not many film composers can claim that.
3. Donnie Darko- Michael Andrews and Gary Jules
Ooooh, I love this movie so much. Donnie Darko is a really odd movie and I think what the score does so well is give the film an eerie, romantic tone that it would otherwise be lacking. Some tracks are otherworldly white-noise, some are minimalist piano themes, and others are sweet, lilting tracks like Gretchen Ross’s theme. The score can’t fit one description and neither can the film. They complement each other perfectly.
4. Macbeth- Jed Kurzel
Kurzel was robbed! Robbed! He was snubbed by the Golden Globes and you just know he’s going to be snubbed by the Oscars too and that’s a damn shame! This score is atmospheric, haunting, disturbingly beautiful, and completely minimalist! Plus, the composer Jed Kurzel is Macbeth director Justin Kurzel’s brother and that’s adorable.True genius can be found at 17:04. Have you ever heard music quite as evocative and just plain weird as that track? I sure haven’t.
5. Ex Machina- Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow
Are you an insomniac? Salsibury and Barrow’s soundtrack for Ex Machina will lull you gently to sleep with their ambient white noise and then WAKE YOU THE FUCK UP AGAIN when shit gets serious. Bunsen Burner. 34:08. Go to it now. But in all seriousness, this soundtrack is gorgeous and if it isn’t nominated for an Oscar than you know the game is rigged. Unfortunately, I don’t think Ex Machina or Macbeth have enough recognition to get a Best Soundtrack nomination. The Academy doesn’t seem to realize that a movie nominated for Best Picture doesn’t necessarily have the best soundtrack.
6. The Hunter- Andrew Lancaster, Michael Lira, Matteo Zingales
I haven’t seen The Hunter, but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for days. It’s not too showy, but it has a lingering quality that rings in your ears when you’re done listening. It’s the kind of score that makes you want to watch the movie so that you’ll understand that flourish of violins or those few piano chords. The best track begins at 6:07 and I have absolutely no context for it, but it makes me feel oddly hopeful and at the same time inwardly reflective. But perhaps I’m looking too deeply into a movie I haven’t even seen.
One beautiful compilation to listen to…
Like Youtube user Felicjl, Oitsude creates wonderful soundtrack compilations. No. 4 is my personal favorite, but she has at least 13 uploaded and they’re all great for doing homework or writing or just as background music for surfing the web. Have a listen:
And one really, really, really (REALLY) bizarre soundtrack…
Don’t ask me how I came upon this soundtrack. I have no idea. I love ambient white noise, so I find it soothing, but the ambiance does not negate its high creep factor. Nonetheless, this selection is a…unique… soundtrack to add to your regular set of movie scores. Warning: it gets real weird around 6:04 and that’s before the baby starts crying. Does anyone else find the woman’s voice relaxing?