When you think of Hollywood movies, many associations pop up in your head, but soundtracks are usually not one of them. Sure, sometimes they’ll feature some song that’ll rule the charts (think of A Thousand Years, Love Me Like You Do), but they rarely feature multiple songs definitively!
But there always are exceptions, and some Hollywood movies do have a pretty kick-ass soundtrack.
Here’s a list of 5 Hollywood movies that have an excellent soundtrack –
1. Drive (2011)
This art-house action movie sees Ryan Gosling portraying an unknown stuntman who works as a getaway driver on the side. Gosling’s character begins to get close with his neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is currently in jail, and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). But when Irene’s husband (Oscar Isaac) is released from prison, Driver is dragged into a world of violence and crime and does everything in his power to protect Irene and Benicio when things start going awry.
The movie is stunningly shot with well-choreographed action scenes that escalate towards the end. The soundtrack complimented the film spectacularly and was nominated for Best Sound Editing at the 84th Academy Awards.
James Verniere stated, “The cool crowd isn’t just watching Drive; they’re listening to it, too… you can’t imagine the film without it.”
Best songs from the movie – Nightcall by Kavinsky, I Drive, Hammer, Bride of Deluxe by Cliff Martinez, and A Real Hero by College ft. Electric Youth.
2. Begin Again (2013)
Mark Ruffalo plays Dan Mulligan, a record label executive struggling with the changing music industry and has been stuck in a bind for years now. He’s estranged from his wife and teenage daughter and gets fired from a record label he’d co-founded. Dan goes on a drinking spree and is entirely dejected when he suddenly meets Gretta, played by Kiera Knightley, in a bar and is suddenly inspired by hearing her sing.
Captivated by Gretta’s music, Dan offers to sign her, but Saul, the co-founder of the record label, does not see the same potential in her. Dan proposes that they produce the album on their own; they recruit some talented musicians and record the songs live at several public locations around the city. As Dave, Gretta’s ex-boyfriend, and a successful musician, Adam Levine does a commendable job.
Gregg Alexander composed most of the film’s music along with Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Rick Nowels, and Nick Southwood, primarily performed by Knightley and Levine. The song “Lost Stars” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Best songs from the movie – Lost Stars, Like a Fool, Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home, Coming Up Roses.
3. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer star as Elio and Oliver in this coming-of-age romance based on Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name. The movie focuses on Elio, a precocious 17-year-old teenager who spends most of his summer days reading and playing the piano when he meets Oliver in the summer of 1983. Oliver is a 24-year-old grad student who has come from America to assist Elio’s father, a renowned professor of archaeology. Elio initially thinks he has little in common with Oliver, but they’re increasingly drawn towards each other after spending time together. Their passionate summer romance suffers a tragic demise when Oliver has to return to his life in America.
The movie’s soundtrack reminds me of the summer days and first love. Luca Guadagnino, the director, wanted the film’s music to connect to Elio and reflect the period setting – Guadagnino researched which pop songs were popular on local radio stations that summer.
Sufjan Stevens contributed three songs to the soundtrack – two originals and a remix of one of his previous songs. Several classical music pieces and pop songs of the 1980s were also included in the soundtrack. Stevens’s original song “Mystery of Love” was nominated for the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Original Song.
Best songs from the movie – Mystery Of Love, Visions Of Gideon, and Futile Devices by Sufjan Stevens, Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs.
4. Forever My Girl (2018)
This American romantic drama based on the novel by Heidi McLaughlin follows a country musician as he sets out to win back his high-school sweetheart. The movie begins with bride-to-be Josie (Jessica Rothe), left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart, Liam (Alex Roe), who’s absconded in pursuit of music business fame. Eight years later, Liam is a famous country music star, who returns to his hometown to find that Josie was pregnant when he’d left, and they have a seven-year-old daughter named Billy. The rest of the movie is Liam trying to become a father to Billy and rekindle his relationship with Josie.
While the plot is quite familiar, what makes this movie watchable is the cast’s chemistry, and the fantastic songs featured. The songs featured are a mix of originals and contributions from various artists, with Alex Roe singing a few of the songs himself.
Best songs from the movie – Smokin’ and Cryin’, Enough, and Finally Home by Alex Roe, Wings of an Angel by Lauren Alaina, Can’t Tame a Fire by Dan Tyminski, Live Forever by Little Big Town.
5. A Star Is Born (2018)
This film starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga certainly needs no introduction. The story follows Jackson “Jack” Maine, a famous country-rock singer with alcohol and drug addiction, who finds a young singer, Ally, in a drag bar and invites her to go on tour with him. With Jack’s support and encouragement, Ally becomes a pop star, but when Jack’s addiction worsens, Ally decides to cancel her album tour to support him through his rehabilitation. Jack realizes that he will undoubtedly relapse again and that he is holding Ally back and letting her ruin her career, and commits suicide while Ally is out attending her last show.
The closing scene shows Ally singing in Jack’s tribute a song he had been writing for her. The film ends with Ally introducing herself as Ally Maine.
Along with Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson developed the soundtrack for this film, with Cooper lending his voice for Jack’s songs. They won Best Original Song for “Shallow” at the 91st Academy Awards.
Best songs from the movie – I’ll Never Love Again, Always Remember Us This Way, Shallow, Look What I Found, Alibi.
P.S. – This list doesn’t include movies that are solely musicals!
Edited by Prakriti Arora