Like a lot of you, quarantine’s given us loads of time to waste… so much time that Anh literally started a website. Well, along with the site, the past few months have been spent watching WAY too many tv shows and movies. So you know what? To make it seem like we actually got something out of those hours of watching, we came up with a list of some of our favorite onscreen soundtracks!
Let’s start with TV
Looking For Alaska
I’ll admit, I really only started watching this show because my family was hogging Netflix and there’s the two screen limit (we aren't 4 screen bougie, alright?). So I had to make my way over to Hulu and that’s how I wound up here, writing about the TV adaptation of one of John Green’s bestsellers… I think I steered clear of this show for awhile because I thought it'd be The Fault in Our Stars/Paper Towns-esque, you know? Though the show has its corny moments (already expected), the characters were easy to like and those that weren't eventually showed great character development. The best part? The songs in every episode. I guess you could describe it as an early 2000’s angst-ridden teen’s iPod. And no, I’m not talking Taking Back Sunday/My Chemical Romance angst, I’m talking Postal Service/Iron & Wine angst. If summer camp, high school drama, cool teens who are super smart and into literature, and 2000s indie/alternative are your vibe, check out the show.
Fortress by Pinback
All Those Dreams by Matt Sharp
I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Miya Folick
The End of the F***ing World
Western TV shows have never really been my go-to form of entertainment. People are always asking if I’ve watched this show or that extremely popular show and to their surprise, my answer is often ‘no’. However, one day in high school I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an ad for a show called “The End of the F***ing World”. Maybe it was the interesting characters, curious plotline, or some other mysterious factor, but the ad pulled me in and now I can confidently say that this piece of British entertainment is my favorite show. An odd by-product of me watching this program was my lowkey obsession with music from the ’50s and doo-wop classics because the soundtrack of this show makes you feel like you’re sitting in an old diner waiting for your lover to come back. It’s weird music to get into at 17 years old but I embraced it wholeheartedly. Or maybe it’s not so weird considering that both of the main characters were of my age at the time and I found a way to connect with them. Nevertheless, I definitely thought I was a little quirky for liking the oldies but in reality, everyone thinks that way with their own taste in music. It isn’t all it seems at seventeen.
In My Room by Graham Coxon
Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson
The End of the World by Julie London
Saying I’ve never really been into “teen” shows makes me sound super pretentious, doesn’t it? Well, those words have come out of my mouth before and it's a lie. I’ll indulge in a “teen” show every now and then and Atypical is just one of the many names on my watchlist. Centered around Sam, a teen who has ASD, and his family, the three seasons on Netflix are filled with moments for learning, laughing, and crying. But along with its heartfelt moments, it also has a great soundtrack. It really is a mixed bag. There’d be songs like The Black Keys’ “Lo/Hi” in one scene and the next thing you know, they're playing “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde. Among names like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Miley Cyrus, there are also many tracks by common indie/alt household names like Glass Animals(!!!) and Bad Suns(!!!)
Slip Away by Perfume Genius
Cane Shuga by Glass Animals
Stars by Future Generations
My Mad Fat Diary
Oh look, another British series. I picked up My Mad Fat Diary purely out of curiosity. I just got Hulu and wanted to see what was good so naturally, I turned to the foreign section of the streaming service. This show is very, very good (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it). When people watch teenage dramas or a movie/show about coming of age, one expects to really empathize with the main character, the person who is struggling to find out who they truly are. A lot of these types of programs fall short in relatability, in my opinion, because the protagonist is either too pretty or the themes feel too bland. Sharon Rooney plays the perfect underestimated, insecure, yet lovable struggling teen and the show touches on some very sensitive topics that a lot of young people with a low self-image can identify with. It was not hard at all to connect with the characters in this show. Another accurate portrayal of the average teen the series perfectly showcases is the main character’s obsession with good music. She prides herself on knowing all the best bands and songs that it becomes such a monumental part of her identity. Of course, every teenager these days think their taste in music is good, but hers truly is. If you’re into English rock, pop, hip-hop, or just the ‘90s in general, you’ll have fun with this soundtrack. It’s definitely a throwback that any angsty teen would enjoy.
Novocaine For The Soul by Eels
A Design for Life by Manic Street Preachers
No Diggity by Blackstreet, Dr. Dre, & Queen Pen
SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE THIS SHOW and I had to find out for myself what all the hype was. The show? So-so, I’ve seen better crime/cop shows. BUT THE SOUNDTRACK? Pretty amazing… If you had to choose any genre to characterize the devil, what would you pick? Country? Disco? Wrong. ROCK, OBVIOUSLY. The show opened with Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” and continued with songs of that caliber for five seasons, often featuring tracks by local artists like LA Witch, Cherry Glazerr, and Warbly Jets.
So Tied Up by Cold War Kids & Bishop Briggs
Highway Tune by Greta Van Fleet
Fire by Barns Courtney
Onto the movies (or film, whatever)
Don't worry, this isn't the kind of list that's just made up of High Fidelity, Empire Records, Dazed and Confused, and Purple Rain... We get it! They're great but it's been said one too many times ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Romeo + Juliet
20th Century Fox
It might be a little cliché to say that Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite stories by Shakespeare but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation and interpretation of this classic love tragedy definitely helped bolster my appreciation for this story (I’ve watched this film 4 times so far). One aspect of this movie that I believe is a little under appreciated is its soundtrack. The selection of songs from multiple artists, in my opinion, perfectly encapsulates the film’s moody, suspenseful, passionate, foreboding, and grief-stricken tone. The ending song that plays during the credits may be depressing, but remember: there was never a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Kissing You by Des’ree
When Doves Cry by Quindon Tarver
Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Sony Pictures Releasing
A teen movie, I KNOW, but a good one nonetheless. The whole plot has a very cute premise- two kids from New Jersey, a high school student and some bassist, both go into the city to find their favorite band who leaves clues all over New York that eventually lead up to a secret gig. Along the way, they meet old friends and make new ones, fall in love, and have sex at Electric Lady. Cute, right?
Honestly, this movie just reminded me of how much fun live music WAS :(
One more thing- Mark Mothersbaugh worked on the score for this movie :)
Our Swords by Band of Horses
Ottoman by Vampire Weekend
Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure
Sony Pictures Releasing
I was not particularly a fan of The Fault in Our Stars so I don’t know what really drove me to watch Baby Driver, but I’m really glad I did. Ansel Elgort had the opportunity to show his true potential as more than just a pretty face with a terminal illness, and he did so perfectly. This film surprised me in ways I have never expected, from the all-star cast, the stunning visuals, the unpredictable plot-twist, and my sudden desire to perform a bunch of dangerous car stunts while I was still trying for a drivers license (thank god I didn’t give in to the temptation). Another unexpected but pleasant surprise I discovered while watching this movie was the impressive soundtrack. Consisting of rock, soul, and pop, the Baby Driver soundtrack provides a fun and exhilarating backdrop to whatever you are doing, whether that be washing the dishes, getting coffee, working out, or conducting a bank heist. I love this soundtrack so much, I didn’t realize that a song I was adding to my Spotify Liked playlist was in it until a good month after I watched the film. If you haven’t seen Baby Driver yet and you need new music to listen to, you should definitely have a go with this movie. Just a warning: if you can’t handle the adrenaline, you might want to sit this one out. This film is loony. Just like its tunes.
Neat Neat Neat by The Damned
Intermission by Blur
Hocus Pocus by Focus
Fox Searchlight Pictures
ANOTHER MICHAEL CERA MOVIE? I’M SORRY! But rest assured, Scott Pilgrim won’t be mentioned anywhere in this post. I have to say though, "Garbage Truck" by Sex Bob-omb is such a great song...
So what kind of kooky shenanigans has Michael Cera gotten himself into this time? Well, he has sex with a friend, not at Electric Lady, and ends up getting her pregnant (oh no!). As Juno navigates teen pregnancy, abortion, and adoption, music seems to be a constant in her hectic life and the writers + music supervisors did a great job illustrating it.
I’m Sticking With You by The Velvet Underground
Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle & Sebastian
Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches/Michael Cera + Ellen Page (i couldn't NOT include this one!)
Quentin Tarantino is no god when it comes to directing and producing movies but the praise he receives for his contribution to the American film industry is well deserved. I can’t really say whether I think he is overrated, underrated, or rated just fine because admittedly, I’ve only seen two of his movies -- them being Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. The first installment of Kill Bill is my favorite live-action film (ever) because it has everything I could ever want in a movie: martial arts, anime, mafias, intensely strong women, and a kick-ass soundtrack. The second volume is really great as well; it perfectly concludes this intense story while also supplying its viewers with another list of quality songs to kill their ex-lover to. What I appreciate the most about Tarantino’s choice of music is how diverse the selection is. It is not constrained to one genre or even, one language. It’s provocative, angry, bitter, thrilling, and captures the essences of the Bride’s character and other characters flawlessly. Listening to this soundtrack makes you feel like going on a hunt to bring hell to those who’ve wronged you and honestly, I encourage that. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda
The Flower of Carnage by Meiko Kaji
Goodnight Moon by Shivaree
About Her by Malcolm McLaren
Malagueña Salerosa by Chingon
United Artists Releasing
This movie always leaves me questioning my time in high school, wondering "did you have enough fun?" I probably did. It might just be the house party and speeding in a Mustang from jail that leaves me longing for a different experience… ANYWAYS, as a film about the night before graduation and the impending doom that is college (kidding), the soundtrack perfectly captures the emotions and attitudes of those waiting to be handed their diplomas.
Come Down by Anderson .Paak
Attitude by Leikeli47
Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow + Run The Jewels
EXTRA- I was SERIOUSLY debating (with myself) on adding this one...
The Perks of Being A Wallflower
I always reference this movie when I talk about the angsty kids who think they’re “different”, but am I wrong to do so? Have you seen the movie? All judgements aside, the film does have a great soundtrack, though a bit simple in my opinion… And I gotta say, I think this movie is the reason why so many artsy-fartsy kids my age like The Smiths. Don’t roll your eyes, you know it’s true.
Here are some of my pet peeves that bug me literally every time I watch it-
That scene at the dance: the DJ starts playing “Come On Eileen” and Emma Watson grabs Ezra Miller, exclaiming “Oh my god, they’re playing good music!” - IT’S JUST COME ON EILEEN! As someone who thinks thinks The Smiths are geniuses, does Emma Watson’s character REALLY think “Come On Eileen” is “good” music?
THE TUNNEL SCENE- YOU’RE TELLING ME THEY’RE LITERATURE NERDS AND SIMPS FOR THE SMITHS BUT THEY’VE NEVER HEARD “HEROES” BY DAVID BOWIE?? At the end of the movie when they come back home from college, Emma Watson literally said, “My roommate, Katie, has the best taste in music. I found the tunnel song.” IT TOOK YOU GOING TO COLLEGE TO FIND OUT ABOUT BOWIE?!
That came off as very aggressive, I’m so sorry. (not really)
Asleep by The Smiths (yes, i’m aware that i literally just dragged kids my age who like them)
All Out of Love by Air Supply (cheesy but iconic)
Pretend We’re Dead by L7
Got a favorite score or soundtrack? Any tv/film recs for us to check off the list while in stuck inside?