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Some Great Soundtracks - Some Underrated Ones

B. Parker "bcsparker"
The list author says: "It all started when I was 10 or so and I was trying to find a tape of James Bond songs. Anyway, it's never ended. You might find that I don't differentiate much here between "scores" and "soundtracks". I myself don't like the recent trend in the last decade of packaging random throwaway songs by multi-demographic artists and calling it a soundtrack. There are some CDs here that are guilty of being the progenitors of that, but they are good examples. There are also a few no-brainers here, but I think there will be some you haven't thought of. Enjoy"
The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary
The Best of James Bond 30th Anniversary
"Most people don't remember that before this one, there was never an album compilation of all the  theme songs. This was released in '91 and is pretty definitive since the music after has been pretty hit and miss (with the exception of Sheryl Crow and Garbage). Besides, this 2-disc version puts great emphasis on John Barry's compositions as well as all the title songs. The radio spots are cool too."
The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Score
The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Score
"This score is very abstract and minimalist in its use of the orchestra's instruments. Definitely sets a tone and mood totally in line with the movie. Doesn't do things how a normal action score would. I love this one. On my Matrix DVD, I often watch it with just the score on."
Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian
"Except for Star Wars, the first movie music that really grabbed me when I was a kid. "Anvil of Crom" is pure Wagnerian ecstasy, and "Wifeing" is one of the saddest pieces I've ever heard. Like the film, very underrated."
The Hunt For Red October: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Hunt For Red October: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"Largely forgotten now, this is one of the best scores of the early 90s. I have a problem with some of the synth-y touches at times, but the rest of the score holds up. By the same guy who did Conan. Basil Pouledouris has a great grasp of using choral techniques for films."
Star Wars Trilogy (Box Set)
Star Wars Trilogy (Box Set)
"Yeah, I'm a sucker. But I have every note of these soundtracks imprinted on my DNA. I still love 'em. I wish I could separate the sound from the image in my head, there's that much to appreciate in the music here."
Holst: The Planets
Holst: The Planets
"This isn't a soundtrack, it's a classical piece. But one listen will reveal how much this impacted John Williams' writing for Star Wars, and hence everything that has come since. I love this. The "Mars" piece is my favorite. Let's go to war!"
Judgement Night
Judgement Night
"OK, radical shift. Way back in the 90's, someone decided to get some rap guys and some alternative guys together to do a soundtrack for a crappy film. What resulted was one of the all time classic soundtracks ever in my book. This is the purity of rap-meets-rock when that still sounded like a cool concept, before it was bastardized."
Aliens: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Aliens: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"An awesome creepy soundtrack, it's also good for ambience. And "Bishop's Countdown" is the epitome of climactic movie music. So much so, you've heard it in many trailers of the past twenty years. This is a good one."
The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"This seemed like the one time when I was a teen that many current groups got together on a soundtrack and made a thoroughly good album. Many standout tracks by the Cure, NIN, Rollins Band, STP, and others. I would also recommend Graeme Revell's score, as well."
The Incredibles (Score)
The Incredibles (Score)
"One you may not have considered. This score is reminiscent of 50's-60's era action music, but isn't shackled by it. Tremendous use of the orchestra, especially the brass. Fully effective in its ability to enhance the movie's excitement. Seriously, check it out."
The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy Soundtrack (3CD & 18 Trading Cards)
The Lord of the Rings: Motion Picture Trilogy Soundtrack (3CD & 18 Trading Cards)
"I liked Howard Shore since his David Cronenberg days, but this is just a feate I never could've imagined. The music plays such a vital role in the film emotionally, as well as carrying different themes throughout relating to different places in the world of Middle Earth. I'm not saying you need to own this trading card version, but you need to get all three."
Vertigo: Original Motion Picture Score (1995 Re-recording)
Vertigo: Original Motion Picture Score (1995 Re-recording)
"Bernard Herrman made many great soundtracks (especially for Hitchcock), but this one is my fave. Lush, haunting music. It's also very splintering and abstract, especially the title theme. This BELONGS on your shelf if you're into film music."
Pulp Fiction: Music From The Motion Picture
Pulp Fiction: Music From The Motion Picture
"Say what you want about Quentin Tarantino, but the guy is a great mix artist. I've been exposed to a lot of good music through him. This CD is timeless. The shifts from track to track are quite different, but it all flows amazingly."
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Expanded)
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Expanded)
"Everyone knows the main theme, but what about the thrilling tempo of "The Ecstasy of Gold"? A classic by one of the masters. It's been fully absorbed now, but this was something radical for it's time."
A Fistful Of Film Music: The Ennio Morricone Anthology
A Fistful Of Film Music: The Ennio Morricone Anthology
"I admit it, I'm a Morricone freak. This is an out of print collection from Rhino that collects Morricone's work from his entire career arc up to that point. There's good stuff here. There are quite a few Morricone collections out there, so research them to figure out what you're getting"
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Kill Bill: Volume 1
"Yes, this is the one responsible for giving us "Woo Hoo" by the 5,6,7,8's, but please forgive. There's amazing stuff here, from Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" to the aching beauty of Meiko Kaiji's "Flower of Carnage". The Zamfir and Bacalov songs are standouts too. This makes use of several songs that are already associated with other films, but helps reinvent emotionally within the film. A good one."
The Godfather (1972 Film)
The Godfather (1972 Film)
"I don't know what to write about this. It's just awesome, OK?"
Desperado: The Soundtrack
Desperado: The Soundtrack
"This is one of those soundtracks that is just a great batch of songs. The Latin Playboys are great, as well as Santana, Dire Straits, and all the Tito & Tarantula tracks. Robert Rodriguez has tried to match this since, but this one is still the best of its kind."
Bram Stoker's Dracula: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Bram Stoker's Dracula: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"Lush, mournful, thundering when it needs to be, this is an unheralded classic. Woljech Kilar is primarily a classical artist, but he brought the right kind of Eastern European feel this film needed. Also check out his CD "Requiem for Father Kolbe"."
Philip Glass: Dracula
Philip Glass: Dracula
"Speaking of Dracula, something should be said for Philip Glass's new score for the classic film, which he did in the late 90s. This is vital in establishing new moods and tension within the film, since I feel too much of the original score was rehashed old tag lines. Performed by the Kronos Quartet. Do you need any more convincing?"
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
"The throbbing drums of Tan Dun, along with Yo-Yo Ma's aching cello. An amazing score. The only time I've ever walked out of a theater and gone to buy the soundtrack immediately. One of the classics, just like the film."
Lawrence Of Arabia (Re-recording of 1962 Film)
Lawrence Of Arabia (Re-recording of 1962 Film)
"In my book, the best of the epic scores. When you consider the fact that during much of the film, you're watching scenes with no dialogue, this music really carries the whole film. The first artful example when I was a child of how powerful a film's music could be."
Apocalypse Now: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Apocalypse Now: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"If you're looking for many of the songs from the film, like "The End" or "Satisfaction", you're out of luck. This is a "soundtrack" in the purist sense. Passages of dialogue, narration, gunfights. This one plays like a journey, just like the film. In addition check out the Rhytm Devils "Apocalypse Now" sessions."
Soundtrack From Twin Peaks
Soundtrack From Twin Peaks
"I don't own any other TV soundtracks, but as always, Twin Peaks is an exception to many rules. Beautiful music - the main theme, "Laura Palmer's Theme", the Julee Cruise tracks. Highly recommended."
Taxi Driver: Original Soundtrack Recording
Taxi Driver: Original Soundtrack Recording
"I love the jazz feel on this one. Bernard Herrman's work on this is much different from his other scores, but it works flawlessly for the film. Includes many  bits of film dialogue and alternate edits as extras. A perfect CD for driving in your car at night."
Natural Born Killers: A Soundtrack For An Oliver Stone Film
Natural Born Killers: A Soundtrack For An Oliver Stone Film
"Eclectic in the extreme, but not from a marketing standpoint. Each track here is just right for that moment in the film. It's also the only place to find the great NIN track "Burn". This is a mix tape from hell."
Lost Highway (1997 Film)
Lost Highway (1997 Film)
"Film-noir goes goth and then goes to hell. This one is all over the map musically, but there is genius throughout. The Rammstein tracks are standouts, as are Angelo Badalamenti's themes and Trent Reznor's score work. And Lou Reed's cover of "This Magic Moment" is about the best entrance music for a movie character ever."
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey
"Set a benchmark for classical music in film that has never been surpassed. This stuff has been assimilated into parody by this point, but it is a supreme example of music married to image. I also love the Gyorgy Ligeti tracks on here."
The Director's Cut
The Director's Cut
"OK, a far out metal band containing members of Faith No More, Slayer, and the Melvins does a covers album of movie songs - AND IT IS GENIUS! Look at the track listing on this. The Godfather, The Omen, Twin Peaks.. "Cape Fear" is turned into one of the mightiest Black Sabbath riffs ever. I strongly recommend this and their other albums. Truly a unique approach to music."
Eraserhead (1976 Film)
Eraserhead (1976 Film)
"I know, I'm a David Lynch freak. There isn't really music here as such, but Alan Splet's soundscape for Lynch's first film is truly something to behold. Buy this before it disappears."
Hannibal: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Hannibal: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"When I saw this film, the music really hit me. Haunting stuff on this one. I usually don't think much of Hans Zimmer's scores, but he outdid himself here. One would expect suspense music, but much of this is melancholic and romantic, underpinning the love affair in the film."
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: Music From The Motion Picture
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: Music From The Motion Picture
"This is a great soundtrack to just let play all the way through. With all the great songs on here, and the dialogue between each song, this plays out just like the movie. I also like the fact that the ending monologue on the CD is longer than the film version, which ends at the "freak kingdom" line. Unfortunately, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" isn't on here, but big surprise there, right?"
Pump Up The Volume: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Pump Up The Volume: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"My own little cult item. This movie defined my high school years. This was like an early warning shot beckoning in the alternative revolution of the early 90's. Remember when they still called it "college rock"?"
Velvet Goldmine: Music From The Original Motion Picture
Velvet Goldmine: Music From The Original Motion Picture
"The film itself is a loving homage to the whole Brian Eno/David Bowie beginnings of glam rock. Great songs on here, some classic songs from back in the day, some updated remakes, all stellar."
American Psycho: Music From The Controversial Motion Picture
American Psycho: Music From The Controversial Motion Picture
"Another soundtrack that perfectly captures a time and a place - Downtown New York in the 80's. Fortunately, the poppy songs from the movie (Sussudio, etc.) aren't on here. So it's all just darkness and club beats, interspersed with some beautiful piano pieces by John Cale."
Eyes Wide Shut: Music From The Motion Picture
Eyes Wide Shut: Music From The Motion Picture
"One more Kubrick. This is so much more than Cris Isaak's track. You get the great Ligeti "Music Rececerta" pieces, some moody jazz, and the great piano scores by Jocelyn Pook. Check this out."