Top 10 Contemporary Movie Soundtracks

15 Nov

Great movies are not just great because of outstanding acting but also scenery and most important, music. Music not only helps set the mood for scenes but also plays a huge role in making them memorable. There are millions of movie soundtracks out there and therefore saying this list came out of analyzing all of them would be lying through my teeth, or rather, fingers.

This list is not exhaustive by any measure and is solely based on personal taste from random movies I have watched in the recent past. There are several I personally love but have  left out for purposes of brevity.  Feel free to add or criticize in the comments section.

Disclaimer: Almost all songs in this list are drenched with emotion, the kind casual music lovers will term ‘depressing.’ They really aren’t though, it takes a patient heart, keen ear and fine taste in music to appreciate their depth.

  1. Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey’s mellow yet deep voice makes this song so apt for the scenes it is chosen for (yes, it has been used in several movies). This hit from her Album Born To Die  features in movies such as Crisis (S1.E7.) and Made in Chelsea (S2.E9.).

  1. Riverside – Agnes Obel

Out of the album Philharmonics, Riverside is a slow, somber yet powerful composition; a trademark of most of her tracks.  Some of the movies it appears in include; Grey’s Anatomy (S7.E16), Degrassi: The  Next  Generation (S11.E25), Revenge (S1.E4), Ringer (S1.E12).

  1. Skin – Rae Morris

From her debut  album Unguarded, “Skin” is a raw, emotional song that almost steals the show from the scenes its supposed to complement. The vocals, piano, and pipes are amazing and will leave you crawling the internet looking for the song.

  1. Dark Paradise – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey appears again the list, not that I am biased towards her but there’s got to be a reason music directors in movies gravitate towards her. This cryptic number also from her album Born To Die features in The Originals (S1. E3), American Horror Story (S4. E4), Furious 7 and The Age of Adaline.

  1. Kingdom Fall – Claire Wyndham

Claire Wyndham’s passionate and sweet vocals make it so easy to fall in love with this song.  The piano and the drums give it an ominious cloud. The song has been used in The Royals (S2.E5), Guilt (S1.E4), Dark Souls III and Couple’s Therapy.

  1. Dorian – Agnes Obel

“Dorian” is another song that has been used as a soundtrack in numerous movies. Like Riverside, it is slow, somber and very poignant. It appears in movies such as Betrayal (S1.E8), Made in Chelsea (S6.E7), Star-Crossed (S1.E2), Parenthood (S5.E15), Degrassi: The Next Generation (S13, E39, E40, E41, E49), Reign (S2.E2), The Royals (S1.E9).

  1. Castle – Halsey

This is another of my favorite tracks on this list and for a reason; it highlights Halsey’s haunting creativity. From the album Badlands, “Castle”  is featured in movies such as iZombie (S2.E3), The Originals (S3.E4), The Royals (S2.E8), Dance Moms (S6.E15).

  1. Johnny & Belinda – Active Child

This is one of the most played breakup tunes. Other than the heavy lyrics, the song is laden with emotion and the instruments only make it an Epic tune. The song is featured in Reign season 1, episode 14.

  1. Ribbons & Detours – Silversun Pickups

From the album Seasick, this song is masterfully crafted to sound relaxing despite the lyrics being laden with a breakup theme. The song perfectly matches Control episode of Revenge (Season 3) like it was solely created for the T.V. series.


  1. Exs & Ohs – Elle King

From her debut album Love Sick, “Exs & Ohs” is a little different from the rest of the songs in this list in the sense it falls into Pop Rock while the rest are mostly Indie.  The song’s storytelling is captivating and so is its sound. It is has been used in movies like Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce (S1.E9), Grey’s Anatomy (S11.E16), TheRoyals (S1.E5), So You Think You Can Dance (S12.E6), The Mysteries of Laura (S2.E4), Sleepy Hollow (S3. E1), Dancing With the Stars (S21. E14), The Vampire Diaries (S7. E13), Good Behavior (S1. E1), Crazyhead (S1. E4) and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.


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