Best Movie Soundtracks Composed by Famous Music Artists

Music artists are known for their singles, EPs, and full albums. Some are also known for their film scores. While many artists have their songs featured in film, it’s not very common for famous artists to compose film music. These artists refuse to stay in their niche, showcasing the wide range of their musical talent on full display.

Any film that is not a silent film engages its viewers through visuals and sound recordings. Music is invaluable to the experience of watching a movie, conveying emotion where words cannot, and creating or enhancing the atmosphere of the scene assigned to it. From Daft Punk to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, these artists create incredible music outside of film and have done so as part of film music as well. Here is a list of the greatest film scores composed by famous musical artists.

Related: The Best Film Scores of the 80s

8 The Chemical Brothers – Hanna

Focus characteristics

Hana is an action-packed thriller about a teenage girl born and raised to be the ultimate assassin. As such, it’s no surprise that the film demands a bad-ass soundtrack. English electronic music duo, The Chemical Brothers, contribute the film’s score. Complete with very strong and deep bass, the score is effective and powerful. But perhaps the real highlight is in the electronic sounds conveying the intensity of Hanna but also the joyous happiness in “Hanna’s Theme”.

seven Neil Young – Dead Man

Miramax Movies

Canadian-American music legend Neil Young is well known for his contributions to the history of folk and rock music, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. However, many are unaware or unaware of his score for the 1995 psychedelic western film, Dead man.

Young spent time alone in a recording studio, improvising music while watching the film. You can hear the improvisation as he moves from instrument to instrument; acoustic and electric guitar, piano and organ. This approach may not be ideal for the music of other films, but a Far Out magazine article reports that director Jim Jarmusch encouraged Young’s improvisation. This improvisation is suitable for a film like Dead man. A film of a more spontaneous nature, Jarmusch wanting the atmosphere of the film to feel unfamiliar and strange.

6 Air – The Virgin Suicides

Paramount Pictures

Sofia Coppola makes her directorial debut with virgins who committed suicide (1999), based on the bestselling novel of the same title published six years before the film. In virgins who committed suicide, five sisters are trapped in their home by a couple of overprotective parents, who don’t want their children to have a normal teenage social life.

The French duo Air composed the music for the film. The score is softer and psychedelic, evoking melancholic feelings. It carries an understanding of the struggles, challenges and desires of a teenager. While Air’s music serves the movie well, it also works as an enjoyable listen even when you’re not watching the movie.

5 Arcade Fire – She

Pictures from Warner Bros.

Like before reported by Collider, despite Her having been released in 2013, the film’s original score did not see a public release until 2021. The score is by Arcade Fire, one of the most popular indie rock bands of the modern era. Her follows Joaquin Phoenix’s character Theodore Twombly, a man going through a divorce who develops romantic affections for an AI Arcade Fire score for the film features a mood that is both melancholic and hopeful. It’s peaceful but also strong, capturing the very human feelings of loneliness and yearning for a fulfilling romantic relationship.

Related: Brokeback Mountain Almost Starred Josh Hartnett & Joaquin Phoenix

4 Karen O – Where’s the Wild Things

Where are the wild things Photo #1
Pictures from Warner Bros.

where the wild things are is a film that features an original soundtrack composed by indie rocker Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O is responsible for writing melodies that require simplicity, emotional depth and complexity at the same time.

The film is based on the classic children’s book of the same name, a beloved book from many people’s childhood. It’s also a movie on childhood. Karen O manages to portray a mix of emotions, involving both sadness and joy throughout the film.

3 Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy

waltz disney

Legendary French music duo Daft Punk were approached by director Joseph Kosinski and music supervisor Jason Bentley to compose the score for the second tron movie. If you’re not too familiar with Daft Punk, you might recognize them by their hits “Harder Better Faster”, “Get Lucky” and “One More Time”.

Daft Punk’s electronic musical sound proves to be a perfect fit for Tron’s sequel. Their music is also important to tron like the music of John Williams is Star Wars. Daft Punk even appears in tron the legacy as a DJ at Castor’s End of Line Club during a major fight scene. Disney produces a film with a simplistic yet incredibly elegant visual aesthetic, and tron the legacyThe score of elevates the atmosphere of the film to a whole new level.

Related: Tron: Legacy Director Teases Daft Punk’s Expanded Soundtrack With Unreleased Music

2 Trent Reznor – The Social Network

The social network
Image via Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures

David Fincher’s biopic drama, The social network, also known as the “Facebook Movie”, is a critically acclaimed film. Music and film enthusiasts are also well aware of the consistent praise the film’s score receives. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is composing the score alongside Atticus Ross.

The score will win nine awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Reznor and Ross create an intense musical score that perfectly amplifies each of The social network‘s emotional beats. Hard to imagine a better score for the film. If you haven’t watched The social network In a while, do yourself a favor and hit play on Reznor and Ross’ fantastic score in your spare time.

1 Jonny Greenwood – Spencer

Via IMDb

Jonny Greenwood, keyboardist and lead guitarist of Radiohead, composes music for films. His musical contributions to film include The power of the dog and Licorice Pizza. The latest historical drama starring Princess Diana, spencer, is already a great film on its own. spencer features an extraordinary performance of her lead role in Kristen Stewart. However, Greenwood’s score accompanies Diana’s story perfectly, turning scenes into truly spectacular movie moments.

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About the Author

William N. Fernandez