There is nothing more satisfying – and I would even say important – than curating the perfect soundtrack. Whether it be the soundtrack to your life or the next best picture, the perfect playlist is crucial to any substantial narrative. Having caught up with this fact, film directors have been investing more and more time in the making of their soundtracks. With the announcement of the star-studded soundtrack for both the Elvis Presley biopic, and fourth Despicable Me movie, I think it’s a suitable time to look back at some iconic soundtracks that have transcended the big screen.
Wildly relatable, many songs found on this soundtrack will ring a bell for anybody who was up to date with the musical zeitgeist circa 2016/17. From Radiohead and Tame Impala, to Tyler, The Creator and Kendrick Lamar, this tracklist is sure to transport you back to a pre-pandemic universe. A world where Frank Ocean's Blond is brand new and Kanye (presently known as Ye) is still on his “Life of Pablo” tour. I’d recommend this soundtrack for friendly car rides and impromptu kickbacks.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
The nostalgic and well-curated soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s most recent movie is a world within itself. Mostly selected from a pool of rock and folk music released anytime between 1950 and 1969, each song contributes to the semi-fictional Californian story. Sourced from the director’s personal record collection and materialized with the help of his music supervisor Mary Ramos, the soundtrack quadruples the nostalgic nature of the movie. Extending the impact of the film beyond the big screen, iconic scenes paired with equally iconic deep cuts are sure to forever alter your perception of your beloved throwback tunes.
The Get Down (2016)
Arguably one of the best forgotten Netflix original series, the soundtrack to The Get Down features narrative-driven original tracks performed by various artists and actors. Taking place in the late 70s, as disco started to fade out and hip-hop started to rise, the accompanied soundtrack perfectly reflects that period. Sprinkled throughout important scenes and episodes, each song is a testament to Les Infernos, Ezekiel’s coming of age and the warm seventies tone splattered throughout the series.
Almost Famous (2000)
I feel like including Almost Famous is a must when it comes to iconic soundtracks. Partly a throwback and mostly a really good road trip playlist, the 22 year old soundtrack gains relevance every time you watch it. Upon first watching, every scene is experienced through William’s jovial and weary eyes. However, as time goes on and you create your own memories with the classics, the line between fiction and reality blurs beautifully, making it impossible to separate nostalgia from fantasy.
The soundtrack to Almost Famous is not only perfectly curated but also responsible for the movie's extended cultural relevance. Generation after generation, discovering classics and obsessing over them like they came out yesterday is, and will always be, a never-ending cycle. And what better way to pass on the tradition than watching and listening to this iconic cult-classic.
High Fidelity (2020)
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the 2020 High Fidelity reboot. Although the Hulu original was canceled a couple of months following its release, fans weren’t left completely hanging as a playlist containing every song from every episode was added to Spotify. I can easily say that this show has permanently impacted my music taste and improved many of my personal playlists.
Partially curated by Questlove and Zoë Kravitz, the soundtrack has a perfect balance of classics, deep cuts, and iconic covers. And if you ever get into watching the show, I highly recommend taking a look at the records displayed on the set. My personal favorites are Joan Armatrading’s amazing self-titled album and Hannah Cohen’s Welcome Home, which also happened to be one of my favorite albums last summer.