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Why Do We Listen To Soundtracks?


Soundtracks are something I’ve only been getting into lately. It was the Watch_Dogs 2 soundtrack that initially set me on the path to liking them. I can’t quite describe whether or not I’m fully on board with the idea though. You see, there’s two different types of soundtracks. There’s the music from the film, a collection of songs by various artists that appear within the film at some point and there’s the score, the instrumentals that give us a certain type of feeling during the film and are there to build tension and play with our emotions.

The first of those types, I’ve never quite understood. I’m currently listening to the Baby Driver soundtrack as I write this and the songs just aren’t giving me the thrill and excitement that they were during the time I was watching the film (Amazing film by the way, definitely check it out). For example, the songs are all big, bold songs that all fit into some point of Baby’s story during the film whether that be the blistering pace of Run The Jewels during a car chase or the funk of Bob & Earl as he strolls through New York. They all hold a place in the film for a reason.

I can understand that all of these songs are good songs though, I can listen to this soundtrack and appreciate each of these songs for what they are, regardless of the film. I feel the same thing with the Guardians of The Galaxy soundtrack – especially the first one. These are all songs that already have a place in people’s hearts and are just there to amplify parts of the film. Like the beginning of Guardians of The Galaxy 2 where baby Groot is dancing through action whilst listening to ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” if anything it’s made that song seem a little cooler to me because of seeing it on the big screen and witnessing that scene.

The thing I don’t quite understand are scores. I own a few scores on vinyl. I have the San Junipero soundtrack, the Watch_Dogs soundtrack and the Fast and Furious 7 score plus a few more. All of these are pretty cool scores in my opinion, they’re something a little different to what I’m used to but they hold their own nonetheless. For example, the song “Waves Crashing on Distant Shores of Time” from the Black Mirror: San Junipero OST is arguably one of the most beautiful, provocative and evocative songs I’ve ever heard, it really does hold a special place in my heart. However, would I feel the same way about this song if I didn’t know the powerful emotional context it holds within the Black Mirror universe? Probably not.

I enjoy the San Junipero score because it brings back memories of that beautiful episode and the rush of emotions experienced whilst watching that very episode and it’s wonderfully twisted love story. However, I don’t know if it would affect me as much if I hadn’t witnessed the episode in its entirety. Would we love the Star Wars theme song if it didn’t represent the grandiose and greatest saga in movie history? The point I’m skirting around here is whether or not these albums and songs stand up by themselves and would they be popular without the films?

Let me know your opinions on soundtracks and scores on my social medias below!

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