Repo Man (1984)
Why: The album is an innovative masterpiece of what happens when you slow down hardcore punk music. The result is cheesy, fascinating, hilarious, and a more fun than watching bad TV with Black Flag.
Best Song: “Institutionalize” by Suicidal Tendencies
Worst Song: “Bad Man” by the Juicy Bananas
Biggest Surprise: Burning Sensations cover of Jonathan Richmond’s “Pablo Picasso.”
Better Than the Movie? No, but its damn close. How could any album be better than a movie that features the line “John Wayne was a fag”?
Why: The album is an eclectic blend of punk, electronic, and alternative music that beautifully captures the hip, coolness of the drug sub-culture in London. It’s one of those soundtracks that gets better every time you listen to it.
Best Song: “Trainspotting” by Primal Scream
Worst Song: “A Final Hit” by Leftfield
Biggest Surprise: “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed
Better Than the Movie? Yes. The album has staying power. The only thing you leave the movie with is the scene where
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Why: This album is responsible for making disco cool. So think about how good an album needs to be in order to do that.
Best Song: “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Worst Song: “Night on
Biggest Surprise: “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy
Better Than the Movie? Hell, yes. Despite its blockbuster status, the movie is lame-ass and certainly hasn’t aged as well as the music.
Why: The movie and soundtrack captured the Grunge scene that blossomed in
Best Song: “Would?” by
Worst Song: “Battle of Evermore” by The Lovemongers
Biggest Surprise: “Nearly Lost You” by Screaming Trees
Better Than the Movie? A big head nod. While the movie was a fun romantic comedy – the music lives on.
8 Mile (2002)
Why: It’s a massive jam session of old and new rappers – put together by Eminem – that celebrates and re-energizes the genre.
Best Song: “Lose Yourself” by Eminen
Worst Song: “
Biggest Surprise: “R.A.K.I.M.” by Rakim
Better Than the Movie? Ah, yeah. There was a movie?
Valley Girl (1983)
Why: The “Valley Girl” soundtrack helped kick-started the whole alternative sound of the 80s.
Best Song: “Eyes of a Stranger” by Payolas
Worst Song: “School Is In” by Josie Cotton
Biggest Surprise: The three songs by the Plimsouls
Better Than the Movie? Yes, sir. The movie was a forgettable teen romance starring Nicholas Cage and Deborah Foreman (who?).
Purple Rain (1984)
Why: The album shot Prince into the stratosphere – and introduced an entire new way to make a movie – build one around an album.
Best Song: “When Doves Cry” by Prince
Worst Song: “Computer Blue” by Prince
Biggest Surprise: “I Would Die 4 U” by Prince
Better Than the Movie? An even split. It’s hard to think of them as separate.
Harder They Come (1972)
Why: Reggae music is one of the characters in this movie and it shows in the soundtrack. It also proved to people outside of
Best Song: “You can Get It If You Really Want” by Jimmy Cliff
Worst Song: “Johnny Too Bad” by The Slickers
Biggest Surprise: “
Better Than the Movie? Yes. The movie was a Robin Hood rip-off. It’s the music that shines.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Why: The movie captured 1980s teen angst perfectly and it was the music that helped this film retain its time capsule like appeal.
Best Song: The best song isn’t on the soundtrack, but is in the movie. “Positively Lost Me” by the very underrated, should have been huge Rave-Ups.
Worst Song: A tie between “If You Leave” by OMD (the song that replaced “Positively Lost Me”) and “Get To Know Ya” by Jesse Johnson
Biggest Surprise: “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs
Better Than the Movie? A tie goes to the film.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Why: Perhaps the coolest soundtrack to one of the coolest movies ever filmed.
Best Song: “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty
Worst Song: “Comanche” by the Revels
Biggest Surprise: “
Better Than the Movie? No. The soundtrack rocks, but come on! It’s John Travolta and Bruce Willis at their best.