From Bollywood and Hollywood movies to any of the world’s other thriving commercial film markets, the world of cinema has been responsible for some of the greatest music albums of all time. These soundtracks are the unseen characters that help bring motion pictures to life for audiences. Without further ado, here is a list of arguably the 5 greatest film soundtracks in history.
In The Mood For Love (2000)
Much like the film’s plot of lost love, In the Mood For Love’s soundtrack is a romantic, tense, and hauntingly beautiful collection of ambient orchestra music and jazz standards. Combining the talents of Michael Galasso, Nat King Cole, Rebecca Pan, and Zhou Xuan, the result is an album that can keep you company during long car rides or contemplative nights. More than 20 years after its release, In the Mood For Love remains to be a classic, must-see film for any fans of romantic drama or fantastic storytelling.
A harrowing story about a boy’s traumatic transition to adulthood, Tommy is a film based on an earlier album of the same name by seminal ‘60s rock band The Who. Its soundtrack is comprised of more than 30 songs, which apart from The Who featured the likes of Elton John, Tina Turner, Roger Daltry, Oliver Reed, Ann-Margret, and Jack Nicholson. With the songs mainly penned by The Who guitarist and principal songwriter Pete Townshend, the man’s ability with Gibson guitars and vocalist Keith Moon’s natural talent take center stage. But with Elton John and other artists in the mix, the result is a multi-genre masterpiece soundtrack that is an undeniable product of its time.
Brown Sugar (2002)
Childhood friends Dre (Taye Diggs) and Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) embark on their new respective careers, the former as a music executive and the latter as the editor-in-chief of a hip-hop magazine. The two share an impulsive kiss on the night before Dre is supposed to get married. 2002’s Brown Sugar is the definitive film about love and hip-hop. And its soundtrack was made by the likes of Mos Def, Faith Evans, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Hi-Tek, and Eric B. & Rakim – some of the most influential R&B and hip-hop artists from the ‘90s. If classic ‘90s boom bap is your thing, get yourself some Brown Sugar.
Purple Rain (1984)
Anyone who’s seen Purple Rain will agree that it’s a somewhat weird film. Be that as it may, its soundtrack is arguably the greatest pop-rock R&B album in film history. In fact, it won the Oscar for Best Original Song Score in 1984, and was even added to the National Film Registry for its cultural significance in 2019. A veritable showcase of Prince’s axemanship, obsession with Boss pedals, and stellar songwriting and vocal work, Purple Rain is a sexy rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece for the ages. Although it’s strange how the movie paints Prince as the underdog – especially how it highlights his talents – this might be the closest we’ll ever get to an autobiographical Prince film.
Many Bollywood films have come after 1949’s Barsaat, the movie that gave renowned singer and humanitarian Lata Mangeshkar her first taste of Hindi cinema stardom. However, very few new films can hold a candle to this influential album, wherein every song is a classic in its own right. Barsaat’s soundtrack became the biggest seller in the ‘40s and continues to inspire filmmakers not just from India but around the world today. Alongside Mangeshkar, Barsaat was also responsible for launching the career of musician Shankar-Jaikishan. In short, Barsaat and its soundtrack changed the face of Bollywood. Out of the many awesome music albums from the history of Hindi cinema, Barsaat’s soundtrack definitely deserves to be recognised as one of the best if not the greatest of all time.