11 Of The Best Film & TV Soundtracks | sheerluxe.com
Whether you need something to soundtrack your working day or weekend afternoon in the garden, there’s a series or film playlist to suit the mood. From Cruel Intentions to Normal People, here are 11 of the best.
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Normal People

The most talked about show of the year so far, Normal People has more than a killer cast and all-consuming plotline – it also has a great soundtrack. As Marianne and Connell graduate from school to university and from distant acquaintances to on-again/off-again lovers, their lives are soundtracked by the likes of Chvrches and London Grammar – both hit artists in 2011, when the early scenes are set. Song highlights include that scene in episode two, where Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide & Seek’ plays as Marianne and Connell embark on their first, physical love affair.

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Derry Girls

Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls was an instant hit when it launched in 2018. Set in the early 1990s, the show depicts the lives of four teenage girls (and a male cousin) as they grow up in Troubles-era Northern Ireland. But this is far from a depressing depiction of a war-torn time, rather it’s a genuinely laugh-out-loud tale that follows protagonist Erin Quinn and her friends as they attempt to navigate the highs and lows of being 16. The 90s nostalgia, which covers everything from questionable outfits to nude lipstick, also extends to a soundtrack that includes the likes of Gabrielle, The Cranberries, The Corrs and Whigfield.

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Purple Rain

A great album in its own right, Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain became the basis for this wonderfully OTT 80s film – also starring Prince. With a plot designed to link the songs together – Purple Rain was developed to showcase Prince's talents – the film follows The Kid, a talented but troubled musician, as he struggles to navigate his career, relationship with his parents, band, girlfriend and a new rival. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score – an accolade that’s stood the test of time. It’s worth watching for the concert scenes alone.

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A Star Is Born

It seems fitting that Lady Gaga’s first major movie would be a musical. Joining a line-up of legendary singer-actresses to take the role of Ally before her, Gaga’s performance in this is remarkable and proved that first-time director Bradley Cooper was a force to be reckoned with. The original, all-American country score was created by Gaga and Cooper – who went on to set tongues wagging when they performed hit song ‘Shallow’ at the 2019 Oscars ceremony.

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Amélie

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen is the man behind this extremely Parisian soundtrack. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the film is a whimsical depiction of contemporary French life, set in Montmartre. It tells the story of a shy waitress, played by Audrey Tautou, who decides to change the lives of those around her for the better while struggling with her own isolation. As she goes about her quest, we hear accordions, banjos and beautiful piano movements – all of which combine to create the perfect backdrop for working to.

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Cruel Intentions

Anyone who grew up in the 90s will remember this seminal teen film – in particular, the final scene, soundtracked by The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Geller, it follows step siblings Sebastian and Kathryn, who make a bet based on Sebastien sleeping with headmaster's daughter, Annette. Its soundtrack is a compilation of many of the coolest bands in the 90s – think Blur, Garbage, Faithless, The Cardigans and Fat Boy Slim.

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Call Me By Your Name

Sufjan Stevens has always written beautiful music – check out his 2005 album Illinoise – but his work on Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is among his best. It's 1983, and 17-year-old Elio is staying with his family at their villa in Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who's working as an intern for Elio's father. The pair discover their desire for one another over the course of a summer – all soundtracked by Stevens’ soft piano compositions and 80s classics, in particular Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’ – the film’s euphoric motif.

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Stranger Things

When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl. Set in the 80s, the soundtrack soon became one of Stranger Things’ biggest talking points when it first landed on Netflix in 2016. Series one alone featured 80s heavyweights Duran Duran, The Pointer Sisters, The Police and Bon Jovi, helping to cement the story’s time and place. Elsewhere its original compositions – written by Kyle Dixon – really hit the sci-fi theme, and have been the soundtrack for numerous Halloween parties ever since.

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Peaky Blinders

From the moment Peaky Blinders blasted its theme tune – ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – for the first time in 2013, we knew we were in for something good. Over its five series, the hit BBC show has showered its gun fights and gambling scenes with the likes of PJ Harvey, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys. But the show’s also been praised for giving up-and-coming bands and artists a leg up, playing tracks by Idles and Nadine Shah in recent series.

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G.L.O.W.

G.L.O.W tells the fictional story of Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress in 80s LA who finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women's wrestling. The official soundtrack features a strictly-80s line-up: think The Bangles, Guns n’ Roses, Hall & Oates, The Go-Gos and Whitesnake. Perfect for tuning out work and gearing up for the weekend – or as a workout companion.

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Kill Bill Vol.1

Quentin Tarantino is famed for his soundtracks and the thought behind each piece of music used in his films. The tracklisting for Pulp Fiction might be his most famous, but we love the score for Kill Bill Vol. 1, which opens with Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’. Throughout the action scenes – where Uma Thurman’s The Bride takes down assassin after assassin – original tracks, named ‘Flip Sting’ and ‘Sword Swings’ play, while the film’s defining song ‘Woo Hoo’ by Japanese band The 5,6,7,8’s has since become a classic.

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