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Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music

From the teen-angst defining sound of The Breakfast Club to the slow-dance love rhythms of The Notebook ñ check out this list of some of the best movie soundtracks that changed the music world!

By Beat StaffPublished 7 years ago 7 min read

If you thought movie soundtracks were just noises in the back that worked up movie plots, think again. Sometimes, they change lives, make teens practice music in their garage and turn out to be music legends like Nirvana or Billy Holiday. Sometimes, the thrums of those like Slash's guitar solos and Joe Satriani are inspired by more than drugs and booze. Sometimes, it is these movie soundtracks that instill the idea to make a difference, to make music the likes of which have never existed before. From the blues and hip-hop of old jazz movies to the present-day electronic and grunge solos, movie soundtracks continue to reshape the music world every day.

With the first A.I. role for an automaton named Robby the Robot, this movie had a movie score that befitted the electronic tones fit for such a role. It was the first electronic score in the history of movie, composed by husband-and-wife duo Louis and Bebe Barron. This basically lay the ground for countless other movie scores plus electronic beats. Howíd they do it? The Barrons built homemade proto-synthesizers, then jolting their energetic, Frankenstein-ian noises to the light of day. As Bebe Barron told Jane Brockman: "The circuitÖwould come to life, and would produce a burst of the most glorious kind of energy and electronic activityÖeach had a lifespan of its own." This has gone to influence sounds of Spectrum to Broadcast, Carl Craig to Simian Mobile Disco, and on a grander scale from the modern era, Daft Punk and Skrillex making widely appreciated scores for Disney flicks.

You know that style and rhythm of the previous James Bond theme, "Skyfall" with Adele's melodic voice booming in your ears? Well, the credit goes way, way back to the original movie score of the same style, created by John Barry in 1962's Dr. No. Barry initially mixed musical elements like fuzzy electric guitars, cool jazz vibes, orchestral lushness and so forth ñ something he called spy music. This has influenced later movie scores too, such as the new and trendy surf music of Dick Dale and the Chantays, the mega-hit "Secret Agent Man," and further went on to lay the basis of music composed by the likes of hip hop artists Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr, and the famous hip-hop spy ever, Special Ed.

Set in two recognizable notes, Ennio Morricone's bleak and chilling score represented very well the title characters of this 1966 conclusion of Sergio Leone's ur-Spaghetti Western trilogy. The film score of Beethoven's Fifth symphony, itís piercing yet calm. Morricone wrote almost 500 orchestrations of musical genres of jazz, rock and Neapolitan love songs. The Italian pop sounds are evident in his works. Bands like Bomb the Bass, and solos like LL Cool J and Jay-Z have effectively borrowed the ëwah-wahí sound, officially a creation of Morricone; a mix of melancholy whistles, twanging guitar and electronically processed vocal. Even metal legends like Metallica have incorporated such sounds with their works like "Unforgiven."

Those sounds used by the likes of Kraftwerk and then their descendants-all of that goes back to the sounds originally used by Wendy Carlos, who made couple of albums of classical music. She played on Moog synthesizers by 1971 and set a new wave of music to date, music that danced around the rhythms of Beethoven, Purcell, and Rossini. Her original piece "Timesteps" became the sound that echoed of a distant yet soothing, catchy futurism. It's considered the forefather sound of gothic and synth-pop bands all over the world. And this is not the end of its influence; it goes further to have impacted musical masterminds, from Nine Inch Nails to Ladytron, all who wanted nothing more than a Korova Milk Bar of their own.

Even though this surreal 1973 animated science-fiction film, directed by Frenchman RenÈ Laloux, continues to be a historical genius, it's the heavy beat and baroque soundtrack in it, composed by Alain Goraguer, which amazed the audience decades later. In this film score, Goraguer mixed queasy strings funky guitar and crisp breaks to come up with this musical beauty, captivating a generation of funk music. It has gone on to influence the likes of J Dilla in terms of funk and Big Pun in terms of rap. Not only this, but Madlib went on to fully base his alter-ego Quasimoto on this score. Stones Throw's Jeff Jank met Madlib and learned "he watched this movie constantly and had even made his private soundtrack [to it]."

This 1973 British horror film still retains its official, jaw-dropping cult classicism. Given how the film joined modernity and Celtic pagan rituals, its score adds to that effect via its weird Maypole scene. American songwriter Paul Giovanni composed its film score accordingly, reveling in the British folk idiom. Bands like Pentangle have been influenced by it greatly, along with freak-folkers like Joanna Newsom and Joanna Newsom. Despite this score's magnificent pastoral sounds, it still resonated of an uncanny eerie sound dancing at its edges, coupled with a newborn's innocence mixed with malice, anticipating the aesthetics of both Animal Collective and Broadcast.

The film score for this movie did great justice to both its plot line and its title. Its disco beats attained the multi-multi-platinum position in the world of music. Composed by the ever flamboyant Bee Gees, this soundtrack reshaped the whole of the music world, bringing with it beats and rhythms never heard before. Even music figures from the punk genre tried to use it in their sounds, despite trying to create something greater than this. This film score was also the influence behind James Murphy and Pat Mahoney as they sneaked in the Bee Gees and other disco acts into their DJ sets, using the LCD sound systems, to make their audience aghast. Even today, flecks of the Bee Gees are heard in everyone from Radio 4 through Escort. Speaking in terms of the score's modern influences, you can hear the similar beat in The Rapture's "In the Grace of Your Love". "I love the Bee Gees," attests singer Luke Jenner.

Few films sound as amazing as they look. If they manage to do so, a lot of that credit is owed to its music composers. They are the real masterminds who are able to bring forth to life the scenery using audio. In the same pretext, this 1982 dystopic science-fiction dirge Blade Runner looked as supreme as it sounded. In accordance with the film's story of a futuristic city writhing in chaos, a reminiscent score by the Greek synth-whiz Vangelis aided it story with their emotional sense of reflection, loss and everything in between. The contemplative, ambient, downcast and electronic textures with their brooding tone were strikingly evident among techno's originators in Detroit. Carl Craig once said. "What was really phenomenal about Blade Runner, other than the visuals ó because the storyline was kind of shitty ó was the music, which was incredible. Vangelis did an amazing job at bending ideas and capturing moods in what he composed."

John Hughes was an enthusiastic artist in terms of making films, one of them being The Breakfast Club. It brings to mind names like Molly Ringwald. It also brought with it a new wave of movie soundtracks were wholly reflective of that era's teen angst-ridden acts. There are not many films after this which have had that sort of difference made in the musical world, apart from Wayne Crawford's Valley Girl.. This score has gone forward to be major influences for classics like Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order, The Smiths and so on. The Breakfast Club was the first who made Simple Minds more popular than U2 with its lead-off track "Don't You (Forget About Me)." It remains among the decade's most unexpected yet well-received No. 1 singles, proving to be the hand that guided the world wide acclaim of those like the Cure, Depeche Mode and R.E.M.

"You gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear," Natalie Portman said to Zach Braff in this film and it did, given you're an indie-rock band in the early '00s. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" brought alternative rock to the heights of acclaim. The Shins' "New Slang" as it played in Portman's headphones brought the wave in indie rock. Garden State soundtracks stayed high on Billboard chart. Those featured on the soundtracks: Iron & Wine, the Shins and Nick Drake, made alternative and indie rock look like the cogs and wheels running the music industry. The movie soundtracks also influenced Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Gotye and Fun.


About the Creator

Beat Staff

Constantly humming, always tapping, forever in the Beat. We constantly fight over artists, and the best song of this year. Karaoke is a must.

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