Sunday, April 3, 2011

Favourites #6: Movie Theme Songs

Choosing a favourite movie theme song is almost as hard for me as listing down my favourite movies of all time. But I haven't been able to shake the thought off my mind all day, so I thought I'd put it down into writing just so I could have some peace of mind.

Although a brilliant mind is never at peace. You can tell by their hair...
Now, I did not Google for anything, because my aim is not to list down the best movie theme songs, these are merely my personal favourites. Note the complete absence of the legendary John Williams. It's not that I don't find his works to be any less epic, if anything it's the opposite. I was just unable to choose just one out of his amazing body of work, so I decided to regard him as being in a league of his own and proceed with movie theme songs that I actually listen to on a regular basis.

But before we get to that, you might be wondering why is this even worth undertaking? Well, imagine this; once I got into a fistfight (I was a child, so nothing brutal here). It was a very Karate Kid-like thing because I was on the losing side when the other kid got a little arrogant and lowered his guard. I seized the chance and swung my entire arm to his face... and missed.

Yeah, I got my ass handed to me that day. But had it all take place in a movie, there would have been a killer soundtrack to my attempted finishing blow to the bully. If it was a movie, I wouldn't have looked like such a doofus. Here are some tunes that would have made me look badass, while others were simply great songs to listen to.

#1 Chariots of Fire
Composer : Vangelis
Movie : Chariots of Fire [1981]
Link : Click here

Frankly, I haven't had the chance to watch this movie. But such was the brilliance of the song, I feel like I've known the movie all along. Instantly recognisable and widely parodied, but one thing nobody can deny was the original feeling this piece of music is meant to evoke; euphoria. Vangelis have other spectacular scores, but this one is easily an all-time favourite of mine.

#2 Eye of the Tiger
Composer : Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan
Movie : Rocky III [1982]
Link : Click here

Ahh... How can you not have a Rocky tune on a list like this? Even if you're neither a boxing nor a Stallone fan, you have to admit this is one very inspirational song. Written specifically for the movie, it might appear to be irrelevant outside of it. Well, think again. Just like the recurring theme to the Rocky movies, the toughest fights are really the ones that doesn't involve your fists. Even the song can be interpreted as such.

#3 Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Composer : Brent Smith and Dave Bassett
Movie : The Expendables [2010]
Link : Click here

This song was as explosive and macho as the movie was, also written specifically for the movie. Being a rocker myself, you can see how easy it is for this song to seep into my subconscious. Accompanying the badass riff are the lyrics that somehow makes you feel all manly, and perhaps even ready for a fight. I haven't much else to say about this other than Boom-Lay! Boom-Lay! BOOM!

#4 Chaos Theme Song
Composer : Trevor Jones and Ian Green
Movie : Chaos [2005]
Link : Click here

This movie went largely unnoticed, which is kind of a shame because it was a tight and gripping crime thriller. But I'll review on this movie another time. Trip-hop like, instrumental and mid-tempo, this song taps into the mellower side of me. If the other songs listed before this one are supposed to make me feel all powerful, this one simply makes me feel like staying in the background and watch the world pass me by.

#5 Sinnerman
Composer : Nina Simone (adapted)
Movie : Cellular [2004]
Link : Click here

I'm not much, if at all, a fan of techno music. But this particular sub-genre of techno, house is kind of pleasant to my ears. You know what I like the most about this song? It's really good for cruising around in my car and act all cool, like a man without a worry or care in the world.

#6 Ready Steady Go
Composer : Paul Oakenfold
Movie : Collateral [2004]
Link : Click here

This one isn't exactly the theme song to this movie, but nonetheless it was prominently featured and became quite popular. Well, it certainly caught my ear. Another great tune to drive to. Ready, steady go! There's even a remix in Korean where the arrangement is slightly different, but just as catchy and atmospheric.

#7 Derezzed
Composer : Daft Punk
Movie : Tron: Legacy [2010]
Link : Click here

Yeap, I know what I've said, that I'm not really a fan of techno. Yet this is the third one on the row that is of that genre. But dude, it's Daft Punk! How can you not like at least one tune by the French duo. This song, in particular gives out the same tight, atmospheric feel as Ready Steady Go.

Alright ladies and gents... Now for movie theme songs that are "actual" songs. The kind that appeals to the mellower side of me.

#8 I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Composer : Diane Warren
Movie : Armageddon [1998]
Link : Click here

Probably a song that everybody likes. Now, this is one of those songs that was a bit of an acquired taste for me. The first few times I listened to it I thought it was sappy, and I didn't quite appreciate the vocal style of Steven Tyler (*sigh*... was I ever that young?). The thing is, they couldn't have picked a better theme song for the movie. Now it's a song I'm always glad to hear whenever it comes along.

#9 The Sounds of Silence & Scarborough Fair
Composer : Paul Simon
Movie : The Graduate [1964]
Link : Click here and here

One of my favourite classics, it stars a young Dustin Hoffman playing an even younger character than his actual self. But what immediately got to me was the two Simon & Garfunkel songs prominently featured in the movie. I decided to place both songs on the same number because they're from the same movie, and I couldn't choose one over the other. They're just haunting and enigmatic.

#10 In Your Eyes
Composer : Peter Gabriel
Movie : Say Anything... [1989]
Link : Click here

Probably best known for being that movie where John Cusack held a boombox over his head, trying to win over this girl. What was equally memorable was this Peter Gabriel song playing in the scene. Twenty-plus years later and I still didn't have the chance to watch this movie, but perhaps I didn't need to because just maybe the song perfectly encapsulated how sweet this Cameron Crowe movie was.

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