When it comes to soundtracks it’s not just about the music or the story, it’s about how the music helps the story progress through emotion. Like life, movies are a representation of the self; they provide a glimpse into the every day in a safe and comedic (sometimes violent) but always entertaining environment. Movies and music have a lot in common. Both mediums help people escape reality for a while, to learn things about the world, and to openly feel a host of emotions that they never knew existed.
Watching a good movie is a lot like going to a great festival, it leaves you with questions, answers, and feeling as though you’ve really accomplished something. Now, you can’t say that every movie ever made is a good one, and some on this list aren’t considered the cream of the crop. However, what these films lack in originality, plot progression, acting, or entertainment value, their soundtracks greatly make up for. So without further adieu, here are ten of the most robust and captivating EDM related soundtracks from the past 20 years. We’re sure there’s bound to be one you like on this list!
Tron: Legacy is the 2010 follow-up to the original Tron Cult Classic film released in the mid-80s. Directed by Joseph Kosinski and starring Jeff Bridges (reprising his role as Kevin Flynn), Garret Hedlund (as the son of Kevin Flynn), Olivia Wilde, and Michael Sheen. The soundtrack was written exclusively by Daft Punk who also had a cameo appearance in the film. Daft Punk are electronic legends and their soundtrack was one of the biggest selling points of the film. Their futuristic robot sound accompanies the high-tech visuals and concept nicely, while also adding much needed tension and release from the somewhat mundane plot. While it’s not necessarily important to understand the first film all that much to see this one, it does make for a stark contrast between film technology and film scoring as the two films look and feel vastly different from one another.
Another film on this list has a score entirely curated by Daft Punk. Interstella 5555 is an animated Japanese-French fantasy adventure film which exists as a realization of Daft Punk’s full album Discovery serving as the soundtrack. This film is unique in that the plot is highly dependent on the tracks from the album. Each track represents a different turn in the plot of the film. It’s also unique in its style. The film is reminiscent of an anime but with a lot of fantasy depictions strewn through out. Daft Punk even makes an animated appearance in the film! It’s no surprise that they’ve made their mark on the film industry with their robot sound that pairs so perfectly with different types of films.
John Wick is about a man seeking revenge against some hoodlums that have killed his dog and stolen his car. Plot twist: he’s a former assassin who’s sole job in life was to kill people. The action sequences feel authentic, and that’s thanks to the film’s star Keanu Reeves who trained in martial arts, in how to handle weapons, and car chases in an effort to ensure the movie’s authenticity. As part of the film, John Wick must search for his adversaries in clubs around the city. This is where the soundtrack really shines. The soundtrack is made by Le Castle Vania who is known for deep house and electro vibes. The music is appropriately intense and dramatic, it’s also very bass heavy which adds to the drama unfolding.
Attack the Block
Attack the Block is a fun movie from England produced by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), centered around a group of youngsters who live in a South London “block” which ends up being overrun by aliens. It’s not a very well known film in America, but it should be for the use of great visuals, awesome English slang, and a killer soundtrack created by Basement Jaxx. The soundtrack is bass heavy but also samples some hip-hop and trap; curating a well made soundtrack which adds tension to the plot line as well as comedic relief from the seriousness of what is happening. Plus, if you’re a fan of John Boyega (from Star Wars Episode VII) this is your first glimpse at his acting chops in his debut feature film.
Pusher is another movie from Europe directed by Nicholas Winding Refn which centers on a drug dealer from Copenhagen who has high (pun intended) aspirations of becoming the biggest dealer in Europe. In an effort to achieve this goal his life begins to spiral out of control. This film is filled with excellent Copenhagen club scenes, and as we all know, the dance music scene in Europe is impressive, and the soundtrack for this film does not disappoint. It is made entirely by legendary English duo Orbital who are known for their electro and punk rock sound. The soundtrack is exactly what you’d expect from a movie focused on the European club scene, it’s dark, electro house vibe and industrial undertones are exactly why it made this list. You will want to dance and join in the movie as a result!
The Neon Demon
The Neon Demon, another film directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, is a dark, moody, and beautifully made thriller centered around the dangers of beauty and what it’s like to be a young fresh model in a world filled with beautiful people. This film is a reflection of youth and everyone’s quest to obtain everlasting beauty. The imagery is dark, yet accompanied by wonderful costumes and sets. The soundtrack reflects this brilliantly. The soundtrack was made by Cliff Martinez who has become synonymous with wonderfully curated dance music soundtracks and will appear again in this list. If you’re a fan of dark psytrance, deep house, and even industrial elements to your music you’ll really dig this film because it’s pretty much as dark as it gets!
Spring Breakers stars James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, and Selena Gomez. A group of young college girls take a trip for Spring Break and end up caught up with James Franco who is a drug dealer, the group spirals into a life of crime and cheap thrills. This film is not a very good one by any stretch of the imagination, however, it’s a good representation of Spring Break life and how crazy young people can be when you add drugs and alcohol to the mix. The sound track is really the only saving grace of this film of bad acting, and often weird imagery. It’s made by Skrillex and Cliff Martinez and as such is very dubstep heavy. If that’s your thing then check out this film because it’s like going on Spring Break without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Fast and the Furious
The Fast and the Furious has become a franchise steeped in family, car chases, crazy action sequences, an all-star cast, and great music that ranges from tropical house to dubstep, to Latin rap. While the soundtrack has evolved over the years to reflect the time period as well as the plot of the films, the first Fast movie in the whole franchise will always remain the best. Curated by BT it is both electro and trance. It’s a stylish soundtrack that really captures an accurate picture of organized drag racing. The first Fast movie has its own vibe that sorely lacks in the other films of the franchise. Chalk it up to how good the first soundtrack is, but the other films really don’t feel the same. It wasn’t just about the cars or the people in the film, it was how the music reflected that scene so well that made it incredibly memorable.
Swordfish is a tech thriller starring John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry. Hugh Jackman is an ex-con computer hacker who gets enlisted by crime boss John Travolta to rob a bank. There’s computers, money, intrigue, and Halle Berry in skimpy clothing acting as the honey pot. You cannot have a computer hacking thriller film that doesn’t rely on heavily on some awesome electronic thriller. The two go hand in hand. The Soundtrack for this film is made by Paul Oakenfold, the legendary trance and tech trance DJ who has been around about as long as Tiesto and Ferry Corsten. The soundtrack reflects the tech of the film by utilizing tech synths and a choppy bass line that sounds as though a computer is actually a living, breathing organism. Paul Oakenfold’s soundtrack gives life to this intense and chaotic film.
Chappy is a film by South African director and Producer Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium). Chappie is a sci-fi film centered around a robot that gains consciousness while stranded in a South African favela. He joins forces with a band of criminals that use him to steal money and other items from around the favela. When I think of South African music, automatically I think of Die Antwoord who coincidentally curated the soundtrack for this film while also being the main stars of it along side Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, and Sharlto Copely. Die Antwoord is most known for mixing dance music with rap, in a result that is completely unique to the industry. They are also pretty fucking weird people, and as such, they fit in quite nicely with how weird this film is.
Choosing just these few movies with excellent soundtracks was really hard because there are so many good choices out there! The soundtrack to a film is almost as important as the film itself, and without great music, all you have is a good story. With music, you have a great story. It makes all the difference in the world. And let’s face it, life and films would be incredibly boring without amazing music to live by. If you’ve seen some of these films, you’ll know why they were chosen.
If you haven’t then you should check them out and see (or hear) why I think they’re so great. You can thank us later, or let us know in the comments what you think about this list! Happy watching!