Soundtracks for every mood

In news that surprises no one, Hollywood darling La La Land—a film about chasing dreams in Los Angeles—won the Academy Award for Best Original Musical Score. And who wouldn’t like the La La Land soundtrack? Toe-tapping musical numbers, moody jazz tones, and John Legend’s voice make this movie soundtrack one for the books.

Music adds a whole other dimension to stories, providing more depth to emotions and moments shown on a screen. Like the cliché goes, when words (and pictures) fail, music speaks. It’s no surprise that music and audio get their own award platforms at the Oscars. We recognize movie music without even realizing it: the themes to Star Wars and Harry Potter are probably a few of the most iconic.

In my humble opinion, life should come with a soundtrack, with John Williams or Hans Zimmer conducting the orchestra. Our greatest victories would be accompanied by grandiose melodies like the Chariots of Fire theme, and our most heartbreaking moments would be softened by Adele singing in the background.

For those who are big fans of fast, upbeat jazz (like La La Land), the soundtracks for Birdman, Whiplash, and The Incredibles provide hopping drum beats and wild brassy notes for days when you need a bit more of a pick-me-up while getting homework done.

For people who love more light-hearted instrumentals, listen to the music behind The Theory of Everything, Pride and Prejudice, and basically any Studio Ghibli or Pixar films. These soundtracks, for the most part, take you on a gentle, yet emotive ride through their use of orchestral instruments.

Hardcore lyric fans, I’m definitely not forgetting about you!

In more contemporary tones, rap fanatics would be love to listen to the unexpectedly hip-hop soundtrack of The Great Gatsby, a soundtrack Jay-Z himself curated, where modern rap and R&B meet 1920s jazz in a fun way reflective of the pleasure-seekers of both the Jazz Age and the 21st century. And Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do and The Weeknd’s Earned It are only two of the beautifully romantic, slow songs on the soundtrack for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Throwback enthusiasts will get a kick out of the best of 1960s-70s funk and pop through listening to Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1. And for throwback fans who want to feel more nostalgic and angsty, check out the mixtapes behind 1980s teen flicks The Breakfast Club (which includes iconic song Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds) and Pretty in Pink.

A word to the wise: listen to these soundtracks in the order in which they were curated.

Just like the actual movie, the enjoyment of listening to film soundtracks comes from the fact that they are meant to take you through the emotions and atmosphere of a story. So enjoy them the way they were meant to be enjoyed, and listen

And there you have it: a barrage of movie soundtrack recommendations!

I hope you make your life a bit more epic and listen to some of these movie soundtracks during your day-to-day tasks.

– Photo by Angela Tilley