The Formative Years - Soundtracks
What makes a great soundtrack?
It goes without saying that a movie’s score, i.e. largely instrumental and / or orchestral music between or to convey and intensify the emotions of scene, are an integral component and inextricably linked to what makes a movie resonate with the viewer with great examples being what have become the instantaneously recognizable scores of genre coining flics of Spielberg and Lucas scale.
Soundtracks, however, play in a different league yet can have an even further reaching effect, no matter if the songs were specifically recorded for the respective movie or it is a compilation of songs that are infused with meaning as they become attached to scenes and enhance the personality of a movie, with the reverse effect of making them at times bigger than the movie itself. Then there is the genre of the musical where more often than not music is not just embedded within the movie but plays an important part and have become hits in their own right.
It would be hard to imagine any music aficionado that would not have a couple of great soundtracks come to mind if asked if they were any they have an emotional attachment to.
Stanley Kubrick is a director that has an array of fantastic movies under his belt, all of which had great soundtracks, with specifically The Shining’s Eastern European classical soundtrack standing out for me as I could not imagine the movie without the musical accompaniment to premonitions or how what on the surface might appear like an innocent scene, is subversively turned upside down with the music used. Same goes for 2001 - A Space Odyssey opulently riffing on the duality of creation versus destruction with eponymous classical orchestral pieces.
Anyone growing up and remotely into what the eighties have brought forth musically would be hard pressed to not find merit in the fantastically curated Pretty in Pink soundtrack, which perfectly underlines the moody trials and tribulations of being a teenager and unrequited love, the fact that the songs were at times interweaved into the movie’s everyday scenes, e.g. through songs being played on the radio, which made it even more authentic.
Apocalypse Now is not only a cinematic masterpiece, but the soundtrack to how Francis Ford Coppola channelled his alchemy, is Wagnerian in scale – both figuratively and literally. With scenes from the movie connecting classical pieces with dialogue, contextual noises and the roar of war, this is one of the more unconventional yet no less impactful soundtracks).
Continuing with the Coppola family, Sofia teaming up with Bill Murray and them being Lost in Translation resulted in a fantastic movie, which also produced a great soundtrack that is more on the subtle side of things yet expertly accentuates the undertones of the movie as well as the covering an array of great musical moments from a diverse pool of musicians from Roxy Music via Peaches to My Blood Valentine and Jesus and the Mary Chain.