Our Favourite Soundtracks For Films and TV Series Streaming Right Now
So, you’ve been self-isolating and as such are spending a little bit more time in front of your favourite streaming services than usual, huh?
I know, I know - you told yourself that you’d stay focused while you’re working from home, but with all the talk of coronavirus (COVID-19 to some) it’s never been more tempting to let yourself be distracted.
Amidst the chaos, some good news. The odds are that your new favourite show has had its soundtrack pressed onto vinyl, and that said soundtrack is available to buy from us! So wash your hands for 20 seconds, put on your favourite mask, and take a look at some of the best vinyl soundtracks for streamable TV and film.
‘Sex Education’ is one of very few shows that does a good job of trying to capture the weirdness, earnestness and confusion of teens figuring out who they are. This is best embodied by it being set in an American-style secondary school which is also, conversely, located somewhere in the British countryside. Bizarre. Ezra Furman tackles the soundtrack, an apt decision given that Furman is someone who has had to figure out their own identity in the public eye. As well as composing originals for the show, Furman also contributed some of his older songs as well as a wonderfully tender cover of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘I Can Change’.
Remember when some angry ‘Rick and Morty’ fans attacked a fast-food restaurant because they were out of sauce? And then bottles of that sauce started selling for thousands of dollars? What we wouldn’t give to have those days back now...
Anyway, the soundtrack to everyone’s favourite nihilistic sci-fi adventure cartoon is credited to its lead characters. Does this mean that Rick and Morty really exist? Is the show an adaptation of their lives? Are we in an episode of ‘Rick and Morty’ right now? Few TV shows even dare to tackle existentialism, let alone threaten its audience with an existential crisis. What is my purpose?
Of all of the programmes that you could stream in the ‘tine, a show called ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ is surely the most appropriate. Despite its apocalyptic title there is an endearingly awkward strain of humour that runs through the two seasons of this show which, along with a will-they-won’t-they central couple, makes it very watchable indeed. The on-screen action is bolstered by an excellent original score from Blur guitar-chap Graham Coxon, one which puts a noirish spin on classic girl-group, surf-rock and rockabilly sounds. We’ve got our hands on the second season soundtrack.
The soundtrack that launched a thousand modular-synth careers. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein sure do have a lot to answer for - most of all, for giving ‘Stranger Things’ its indisputable 80s atmosphere. The two of them took what they learned with their band S U R V I V E and put it towards creating unsettling M O D U L A R jams that make the sci-fi threat in Hawkins, Indiana feel realer than any amount of CGI ever could. Cop the scores to seasons one (in two parts), two, three and a Halloween-themed odds-and-sods collection. If all of that wasn’t enough to quench your thirst for all things stranger, the show also used music from the actual One-Thousand-Nine-Hundred-And-80s to build its world, some compilations of which have also been pressed onto vinyl.
Set five years after Sam Mendes’ ‘1917’, ‘1922’ is the latest Stephen King story to be adapted for the screen. It’s a story about family, murder, and lots and lots of rats. Faith No More’s Mike Patton composes the soundtrack, one that is part-foreboding and orchestral, and part-droning and discordant. The film takes place on a farm in Nebraska, with Patton’s score ramping up the sense of isolation that haunts the characters.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys feeling like you’re suffering a stress-induced heart attack, do I have the film for you. ‘Uncut Gems’ is the latest nightmarish, Adam Sandler-featuring joyride from rising movie auteurs the Safdie Brothers. The film features a soundtrack from Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) that is every bit as garish and overwhelming as the Safdie Brother’s direction. Kitsch synths rarely have this much bite. Lopatin also worked on ‘Good Time’, an equally stressful Safdie bros’ flick which you can also stream.
Here on this mountaintop, oh oh oh! I got some ‘Wild, Wild Country’!
Anyone? ‘Wild Wild Life’? One of the last great Talking Heads songs? Your loss.
Anyway, Netflix docu-series ‘Wild Wild Country’ has nothing to do with David Byrne, Tina Weymouth et al. Focussing on the complicated legacy of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the show’s music is like a more ornate, chamber-friendly take on the scoring work of Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. It’s also been composed by someone called Brocker Way, which is a simply excellent name.
While there hasn’t yet been a ‘Black Mirror’ episode specifically about the coronavirus pandemic, I’d imagine that it is being greenlit for production as I type these very words. We’ve got a whole bunch of ‘Black Mirror’ scores on wax for your delectation here. The producers of the show take an unusual approach to soundtracking their shows - rather than enlisting one artist for a whole series, each episode has had its music dealt with by a different composer(s). As such, while a general sense of dystopian neurosis runs through all of the ‘Black Mirror’ music, there’s a wide array of musical styles covered. Daniel Pemberton’s ‘USS Callister’ puts a modern spin on classic film-score stylings while Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow opted for eerie electronics on ‘Men Against Fire’. Contributions from Mark Isham, Max Richter and the duo of Alex Somers & Sigur Rós all blend elements of the ‘USS Callister’/‘Men Against Fire’ scores while also leaning more heavily on contemporary classical composition.
For those of us who weren’t able to make it to New York City, it truly felt like a blessing that we were able to watch ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ from the comfort of our homes. Across two hours Bruce Springsteen told stories from his life and interspersed these with incredibly raw, acoustic versions of some of his best-known songs. Most thrilling is ‘Born In The USA’, a song that has long been misunderstood by the American right and more recently the British left. Springsteen leaves no doubt that this is not a song about triumph.
What if I told you … that superheroes might not always be good? Admittedly that premise was a little tired even by the time Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons got round to writing ‘Watchmen’, but it’s an intriguing one nonetheless. ‘The Boys’ is based on the comic of the same name and centres on a group of vigilantes who think that maybe it’s a bad idea to have incredibly powerful people just milling about, doing the stupid things people do. Christopher Lennertz matches that cynicism with what sound like noisy and industrial remixes of the sort of stuff you’d expect to hear in a Marvel film.
Studio Ghibli is deservedly one of the most beloved film studios of all time. The company has recently pressed up soundtracks for two of its smaller films, ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘Porco Rosso’. The former follows the titular witch starting her own courier business on her broomstick while the latter tells the story of a pig who can fly a plane. Just lovely. The soundtracks were handled by Ghibli regular Joe Hisaishi, the only man I’d trust to capture the childlike joy of the films without sacrificing any of their emotional heft.
For those of you who like your time-travel stories a little thornier than your average episode of Doctor Who, allow us to point you towards the German sci-fi thriller ‘Dark’. Much like the recently-published ‘The Psychology of Time Travel’ by Kate Mascarenhas, ‘Dark’ is much more interested in investigating the effects of time-travel on society and the individual than merely using it as a plot device. The show’s soundtrack features booming, fractious strings from Ben Frost, and it’s as immense as anything else he’s composed.