The Top Ten Soundtracks Of 2014
Hey everyone. The new year is ending. I posted my Top 100 albums of the year list. It was different than most other lists on the web because, surprise surprise, this is a website where I get to express my opinions, not those of the rest of the population. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks for the tweets and emails and comments. Of course, the list I posted Sunday evening covers a wide swath of recorded music from 2014, but it completely disregards soundtracks. Why, you ask? Because soundtracks are their own behemoth, worthy of a list that is all their own.
Now, this list is not to be confused with the best film scores of the year. I usually post that right around Oscar season. This is a list of the best soundtracks that were released between 1/1/14 and 12/31/14. The movies could be from this calendar year, but they don’t have to be. Maybe someone somewhere dug up a previously-unreleased soundtrack from some obscure ’70s flick (like Mondo did with The Visitor) or maybe a long-awaited score was finally pressed to vinyl (like Death Waltz and Jagjaguwar did with Beyond The Black Rainbow). Make sense? Good. Here’s this year’s list.
The Top Ten Soundtracks Of 2014
10. Ennio Morricone – Lizard In A Woman’s Skin (Death Waltz) – Previously released as an acetate only in Italy way back in 1971, this soundtrack captures Morricone’s forays into lounge-y, funky orchestrations. It’s not as propulsive and exciting as, say, L’attentat, but it’s cool and flows nicely. The scat vocals and trumpets are a nice juxtaposition to his typical string arrangements. Quite good!
09. Franco Micalizzi – The Visitor (Mondo) – An obscure Italian horror flick from 1979 starring Sam Peckinpah and Lance Henriksen finally saw the light of day this year thanks to Mondo. This is a total coke-fueled funk explosion complete with flute-trills and silly bass lines. It’s hard not to imagine yourself set in some goofy cop show while you’re grooving to this, but it’s also got a lot of awesome moments tucked inside it. [Listen to “Running Away From Jerzy”]
08. Mica Levi – Under The Skin (Milan)
07. Cliff Martinez – The Knick (Milan) – Is Cliff Martinez the best in the game these days? If not him, than who? Michael Giacchino? Ramin Djawadi? Alexandre Desplat? It’s gotta be Martinez. From Drive (we won’t count Solaris because it was a decade earlier) to Only God Forgives, and now The Knick, he’s done some incredible work in the past couple years. [Listen to “Placental Repair”]
06. Roberto Donati – Cannibal Ferox (One Way Static)
05. Jon McCallum – Surf Nazis Must Die (Strange Disc)
04. Rick Ulfik – Street Trash (Lunaris) – Street Trash is one of those terrible/awesome movies that I can never decide whether I like or loathe (watch the Trailer). But one thing is for certain: the score is unmistakably good. Almost as good as the next soundtrack on the list – which also hails from a terrible ’80s flick.
03. Chuck Cirino – Chopping Mall (Waxworks) – When I was in college, Chopping Mall was one of my favorite movies to get baked and watch. It’s so incredibly bad it’s awesome. It’s awfulsome (Again, watch the Trailer). And the score is just brilliant. You can imagine my elation when a customer brought me a copy of the newly-released soundtrack on vinyl with the front cover autographed by the composer, the film’s writer, and the film’s director. It instantly became one of the most cherished albums in my collection. [Listen to an excerpt from Chopping Mall]
02. Cho Young-Wuk – Oldboy (Milan) – It was released on CD in Korea ten years ago, but until now there has not been a full-score vinyl release for Oldboy, which remains – in my opinion – one of the best movies of the 21st century. I watched the stupid Spike Lee remake a few months ago (someone close to me was responsible for some of the TV spots for the film, so I think I owed it to her to watch it) and it can’t hold a candle to the original. It wasn’t until I saw the remake that I realized how important (and incredible) the music is. “In A Lonely Place” is a mesh of Morricone trumpets, lush string swells and modern electronic music that works beautifully. “The Old Boy” is the quintessential piece – from that memorable fight scene down the hallway. The one-two punch of “The Big Sleep” and “The Last Waltz” are reminders of the brutal ending. It’s a perfect score. And it would have been #1 if not for those fuckers who dug up this year’s #1 soundtrack… [Listen to “The Old Boy”]
01. Sinoia Caves – Beyond The Black Rainbow (Death Waltz/Jagjaguwar) – As you may remember, I painstakingly posted the full score from this film a couple years ago after I first saw the movie. At that time there were no plans for any sort of official soundtrack release. I can’t tell you how many people wrote me to thank me for sharing those tunes. Finally after two years fans of Sinoia Caves’ work on BTBR were gifted an almost full score, thanks to Death Waltz and Jagjaguwar. It’s not perfect, but it’s SOMETHING. And for that, I am eternally grateful. Now I just have to find someone with enough time and money to issue The Enchanter Persuaded (Jeremy Schmidt’s first and only studio album) on vinyl. I’d offer to do it, but all my funds are currently tied up in my next release. [Listen to “Forever Dilating Eye”]
Leave a Comment