In honor of awards season, here is a list of my favorite soundtracks of the last decade. Eight of the best soundtracks are from films, but two are mixes from two of the decade’s biggest television shows.
No matter what you might think of the shows themselves, both were responsible for introducing several previously unknown artists to a massive and appreciative audience, and the resulting soundtrack albums were sufficiently relevant and beloved to earn them a place on this list.
10. “The Boat That Rocked” (2009)
The soundtrack to Richard Curtis’ 1960s pirate radio comedy was as tight as Rhys Ifans’ drainpipes; with 38 retro crowd pleasers such as The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night” , Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” and The Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind” , it’s a playlist of which any classic hits station would be proud.
9. “Jennifer’s Body” (2009)
While the film itself may have been iffy, the soundtrack had ironic teen angst to spare, with New Wave confections from Little Boots and Black Kids rubbing elbows with tracks from scene-pop deities Dashboard Confessional, Panic At The Disco and All Time Low. Plus the unashamedly cheesy pastiche “Through The Trees” by the fictional Low Shoulder, an emo power-ballad to rival any of the above.
8. “O Brother Where Art Thou” (2000)
The winner of 2000’s Album Of The Year Grammy, “O Brother. . . ” catapulted bluegrass into the mainstream courtesy of offerings from genre mainstays Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris and the film’s fictional trio the Soggy Bottom Boys. That noise you heard was millions of hipsters abandoning their Strokes records and scrambling to claim prior knowledge of its contributors.
7. “Music From The OC — Mix 5″ (2005)
Yes, laugh if you must. (But don’t waste all your energy laughing at this entry before you look at #6.) Then try to argue with any soundtrack that contains Kasabian’s “Reason Is Treason” , Of Montreal’s “Requiem For O.M.M.” and LCD Soundsystem’s almighty “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” , along with equally appealing offerings from Rogue Wave, Stars and Gorillaz. You can’t, can you?
6. “Original Music Featured On Gossip Girl No. 1″ (2008)
Starting with The Kills’ awesomely danceable “Sour Cherry” and featuring songs by The Ting Tings, Albert Hammond Jr and Phantom Planet among others, “OMFGG” continued the dominance of teen soap operas as a legitimate career-booster for young indie bands.
5. “The Filth And The Fury” (2000)
Fittingly, the soundtrack to Julien Temple’s Sex Pistols documentary contained 18 Pistols classics (“Pretty Vacant” , “Anarchy In The UK” et al) interspersed with the glam-rock stompers (David Bowie’s “Jean Genie” , Roxy Music’s wonderful “Virginia Plain” ) that were the British music buying public’s great love until Lydon and co’s leather-trousered arrival.
4. “Adventureland” (2009)
The bittersweet Kristen Stewart-starring teen drama was set in 1987 and its soundtrack would fit perfectly into any of that era’s John Hughes vehicles, with standards from The Cure, Crowded House and INXS alongside Husker Du, Big Star and The Replacements. A must for any lovelorn teenager, whether in 1987 or 2010.
3. “Snatch” (2001)
Guy Ritchie’s follow-up to “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” boasted an equally impressive soundtrack; featuring everything from The Stranglers’ “Golden Brown” to Madonna’s “Lucky Star” to Massive Attack’s “Angel” , it was a mix as irreverent and fun as the film itself.
2. “Marie Antoinette” (2006)
The much-maligned “Marie Antoinette” set the story of the French Revolution to a backdrop of post-punk and indie rock, with the occasional baroque interlude by the likes of Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. Flawed though the film may have been, director Sofia Coppola’s use of songs such as Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Hong Kong Garden” and The Radio Dept.’s “I Don’t Like It Like This” was faultless.
1. “24 Hour Party People” (2002)
Given its subject matter (the rise of Factory Records and its larger-than-life co-founder Tony Wilson) “24 Hour Party People” was always going to have an awesome soundtrack. And it doesn’t disappoint, containing such classics as New Order’s “Temptation” , Joy Division’s “Transmission” , the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” and the Happy Mondays’ “Loose Fit” . The best soundtrack of just of this decade, but of any? Perhaps.