The 25 Best Movie Soundtracks Of The 21st Century So Far - Page 3 of 5

scott-pilgrim-michael-cera15. “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” (2010)
Edgar Wright’s thrilling pop-art adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel mashes up multiple genres —rom-com, comedy, martial arts action, superhero film— but it was perhaps only when it arrived that it was clear that it incorporates the musical form as well. The film featured as many as four fictional bands, which led to artists like Beck, Broken Social Scene and Metric contributing new music. Often, that means that less than great material by notable artists will be included, but all the stuff here, particularly the Metric song (sung in the film by now-Oscar-winner Brie Larson) is good, and melds beautifully with both Nigel Godrich’s inventive, understated score and preexisting tracks from Frank Black, The Rolling Stones, Blood Red Shoes and, giving the film its name, Plumtree. It’s a now-sadly-rare case of a big studio movie where what’s on the soundtrack feels as carefully looked after as everything else, but that just makes us even more excited for Wright’s return with next year’s “Baby Driver

lost-in-translation-scarlett-johansson-bill-murray14. ”Lost In Translation” (2003)
A lovely package of unabashedly romantic, melancholic tracks provide the perfect soundtrack to Sofia Coppola‘s diffuse, nearly-but-not-quite love story made of wistfulness and sardonic observations and just-barely-missed connections. So much of the film’s meaning is communicated non-verbally that the music plays a heightened role in communicating the emotions of the characters. Supervised by Brian Reitzell, the album is heavy with Kevin Shields/My Bloody Valentine tracks, while Death in Vegas, Phoenix, Jesus and Mary Chain and Coppola favorites Air also all pop up. And if that weren’t enough, as a little sweetener for fans of the film’s Tokyo karaoke scenes, via a hidden track at the end, we get Bill Murray reprising his version of Roxy Music‘s “More than This” in endearingly off-key amateurish fashion —a gently sly skewering of the album’s otherwise delicate, quiet dreampop aesthetic.

city-of-god13. “City Of God” (2002)
From Martin Scorsese on, the crime movie has always had a veneer of cool that’s come in large part from its soundtracks, with everyone from the Coens to “The Sopranos” making certain moments iconic thanks to their musical choices (or songs iconic thanks to the moments they scored). And it’s not just an American phenomenon, as “City Of God” proved. Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund’s vibrant tale of two decades in the favelas was a breath of fresh air in the gangster genre, and felt just as much musically, with Antonio Pinto and Ed Cortes’ score blending beautifully with some inspired song selections. There’s a few more familiar American funk and disco choices used to party-starting effect (Carl Douglas‘ “Kung Fu Fighting,” tracks from James Brown), but it’s Brazilian jazz and soul artists like Tim Maia and Hyldon who make the biggest impression. The soundtrack had a cultural effect beyond the movie, making Rio-style baile funk hip through the mid ’00s.

drive-carey-mulligan-ryan-gosling12. “Drive” (2011)
We were slightly on the fence on whether to include “Drive” here: the film only has four major cuts outside of Cliff Martinez’s score. But then, it’s hard to think of a song selection that had as much influence in recent cinema: from commercials to video games, the tracks have recurred or been ripped off all over the place, and given a boost to the artist it features. The film saw Nicolas Winding Refn bring a somewhat retro, decidedly European sensibility to the American crime thriller, and the throbbing, pulsing French house and pseudo-Italodisco here from Kavinsky, College, Desire and Chromatics (the latter two are both pseudonyms for Johnny Jewel, whose score for the film was discarded) makes the film feel as much of a piece with a Berlin nightclub as it does a Los Angeles neo-noir. It blends seamlessly with Martinez’s score, and helps to create a sonic approach that Refn has stuck with through to this year’s “The Neon Demon.”

almost-famous-billy-crudup11. “Almost Famous” (2000)
You’d expect Cameron Crowe, one of the masters of the movie/music crossover, to pick out a great soundtrack if he was going to make a heavily autobiographical film about his time as a Rolling Stone journalist in the 1970s. And fortunately, he came through: “Almost Famous” is a carefully thought out love letter both to an era and to post-adolescence, a time in life when music is as important as breathing. It’s an expansive collection, kicking off with Simon & Garfunkel and, uh, The Chipmunks, before taking in heavy hitters like The Who, The Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and, most famously, Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” But the song choices often pivot around deeper cuts, and even when they’re not, they’re beautifully deployed, as when Stevie Wonder‘s “Ma Cherie Amour” accompanies cinema’s second most romantic stomach-pumping scene (after “The Apartment,” of course). If Crowe’s imminent TV show “Roadies” has anywhere near as good a soundtrack, we’ll be delighted.