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Listmania: Al’s Big 5 Soundtracks

With the Academy Awards only 2 weeks from today, I have the music of La La Land still on my mind, and I thought it was time to go back and explore and rank what soundtracks have been my favorites and why.  Here are five that I think not only do I love, but many others too if you ask.


  1. The Lion King – 1994

One of the greatest animated movies of all-time also has one of my favorite soundtracks as well. The centerpieces of the music in the movie itself is “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, and the soundtrack includes the original versions from the movie and Elton John’s beautiful renditions as well. The soundtrack did a great job of incorporating choir music mixed with pop music.


  1. A Hard Day’s Night – 1964

Even though A Hard Day’s Night was a movie, this soundtrack can also be considered The Beatles’ third UK LP.  Released in 1964, it was catching the band at its popiest best. At that point they were still in that boy-band-ish phase and writing and recording some all-time great music. Highlights of this soundtrack include “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”.


  1. Pulp Fiction – 1994

Film director Quentin Tarantino knows how to stock his movies with great music, and he did especially well with Pulp Fiction. He incorporated music from the 1950s and 60s, and genres of rock and roll, surf rock, pop, soul, and country. Best songs here are “Misirlou” by Dick Dale & His Del-Tones, “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & the Gang, and “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Urge Overkill.


  1. La La Land – 2016

This soundtrack will probably win the Oscar for Best Original Score, and for a good reason.  It’s full of super catchy musical numbers of pop and jazz. The songs were composed by Justin Hurwitz, who was director Damien Chazelle’s college roommate. The movie wanted to help bring jazz back into the forefront of popular music, but it only succeeds because of the songs themselves. Best songs are “Another Day of Sun”, “Someone in the Crowd”, and “A Lovely Night”.


  1. Titanic – 1997

Titanic would be a great movie without the music, but it’s my all-time favorite partly because of it. It’s got a great orchestral score from James Horner, who composed gorgeous music to work perfectly alongside the movie. I love how the compositions at times single out instruments such as violin, piano, bagpipes and so forth. It all makes for a relaxing and yet haunting soundscape. But the soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without the breathtaking vocalization of Celine Dion doing “My Heart Will Go On”. It’s a perfect soundtrack.



  1. Sean P Carlin Sean P Carlin February 13, 2017

    For me, nothing beats Wojciech Kilar’s score to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).

  2. Robin Write Robin Write February 13, 2017

    Tarantino knows how to choose music – and it’s stuff he loves. See also Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown. Check Xavier Dolan too, he seems to have a free pass for his choices of music to help dictate and define his movies.

    Soundtracks, as in collection of cracking songs, I’d add Trainspotting, Boogie Nights, West Side Story etc etc. Pure score wise, to name just 3, listen to John Barry’s Dances with Wolves, Jon Brion’s Magnolia, and James Newton Howard’s The Village – Hilary Hahn’s violin playing is immense.

    • Al Robinson (@AlRob_MN) Al Robinson (@AlRob_MN) February 17, 2017

      Robin, I can’t agree more with how great Magnolia and The Village’s music scores were. Great picks.

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