Weddings, funerals, birthday parties. We use music to punctuate these occasions and act as a soundtrack to the biggest moments of our lives. From graduation to breakups, from laughter to tears, music has the profound power to move us. However, not all songs are created equal. With hundreds of new hits being released every week, it can be easy to get bogged down and sick of the same slick sounds.
If you’re in a music rut, one way to break free is to turn to a movie soundtrack. These artfully curated playlists can capture not just a moment but an entire mood, making them the perfect choice to motivate you on the go.
Here are 8 movie soundtracks to put on your playlist.
To Motivate Yourself in the Gym:
With all the demands of daily life, keeping up with your fitness routine can be a challenge. One way to get yourself pumped to workout is by picking a few killer workout soundtracks to sweat it out to. Try:
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) — Michael Giacchino
This symphonic soundtrack by Michael Giacchino might not be the most obvious choice for a workout, but its epic nature will certainly spur you on. The tracks range from light and whimsical to dark and intense, making it ideal for interval training. Give “Monumental Meltdown” a go. This 5-minute-long track increases in intensity throughout, building to a motivating crescendo that will leave you both sweaty and satisfied.
Other action movie soundtracks that offer a similar vibe include Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (by this executive producer) and the rest of the Spider-Man series.
Rocky: Original Motion Picture Score (1976) – Bill Conti
When talking about motivating soundtracks, you can’t go past the classic. The 1976 Rocky soundtrack might be getting on, but it’s no less powerful now than it was upon its initial release. It’s impossible not to feel motivated to complete your workout with the iconic “Gonna Fly Now” training montage tune blasting out of your headphones. In fact, all of Conti’s high-energy tracks work fantastically for everything from cardio to weight-training.
To Add Magic into Your Day:
Sometimes the monotony of everyday life can get us down. Recapture the magic of life by listening to a decidedly enchanted soundtrack next time you’re washing the dishes or doing your laundry.
Spirited Away – Joe Hisaishi (2001)
This beloved film from the mind of Hayou Miyazaki is still considered a whimsical masterpiece, even 20-something years after its original release. A large part of that is down to the heart-wrenching soundtrack. Performed by the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the tracks instantly transport you to a nostalgic dreamland that can turn even the most mundane tasks into an anime-worthy moment. The first track, “One Summer’s Day,” composed of eerie synthesizers and curious piano melodies, will lend you with a beautiful sense of longing that will leave you wanting more.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – John Williams
Instilling a sense of magic and wonder into your day isn’t hard when you’ve got John Williams’ famous Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone soundtrack playing in the background. From the timeless opening theme to the lesser known (but equally charming) Quidditch backing tracks, the entire orchestral soundtrack has an epic quality to it that will provoke childlike wonder and keep you motivated while you’re cleaning the house.
To Hold Your Partner Close to:
Sometimes, all you need to enhance a romantic moment is a gentle musical backdrop. Here are a few options to get you into gear.
Romeo + Juliet (1996) – Various
While the move itself certainly has a tragic end, the soundtrack has multiple dimensions. Like any relationship, the tracks move from volatile to tender and sensual to passionate. Using a series of 1990s rave beats transformed by choral vocals, the surprisingly upbeat soundtrack will inspire you to pull your partner into an amorous embrace and not let go. Quintessentially 90’s, this soundtrack reminds us of a glorious, simpler time.
Ghost (1990) – Maurice Jarre
Known for its overt sensuality, the hit film Ghost sports an equally saucy soundtrack that is perfect for a steamy night in with your partner. If that iconic pottery scene gets you going, let the rich sounds of Unchained Melody flood your bedroom next time you’re looking to ignite a little romance. With its deeply romantic and highly passionate overtones, it’s no surprise that this soundtrack earned itself an Oscar Nomination.
To Soothe Yourself After a Bad Breakup:
They say that time heals all wounds. In the meantime, a few well-chosen songs can help us with the grieving process. If you’re going through a breakup, the next two soundtracks are for you.
500 Days of Summer (2009) – Mychael Danna & Rob Simonsen
The film 500 Days of Summer is an ode to the manic pixie dream girl phenomenon and artfully depicts the life cycle of a doomed relationship. Steeped in emotion, it’s only natural that the movie’s soundtrack would be equally heart-wrenching. The tracks, including “Sweet Disposition” and “Quelqu’un m’a dit” are eclectic and nostalgic and pair perfectly with the main characters’ story arcs. If you’re looking for a soundtrack that can make you smile and cry in the same breath, this is the breakup score for you.
Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind (2004) – Jon Brion
Another film that has stood the test of time is the peculiar and heart-breaking Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Telling the story of a couple who make the unconventional choice to forget each other through a medical procedure, the accompanying soundtrack is subtle but poignant. The score is underpinned by the use of pianos and guitar loops that provide a sentimental, old-school quality. Somehow, the occasional pop tracks complement the melancholy backdrop of the film, adding depth and contrast to this discordant masterpiece.
Music can play a profound role in how we view the world. It can hurt us and it can heal us. Take yourself on a remarkable and varied musical journey by listening to the renowned soundtracks above.