A definitive list of the best soundtracks of 2021 – the Aquarian

2021 was not much better than 2020, but the best soundtracks of the year prove it was a little less terrible.

Why even make a soundtrack? Most people listen to music through their favorite streaming service and do so by choosing a list of tracks they want to hear. A soundtrack seems outdated and even a bit old-fashioned. Except that in 2021, a slew of first-rate soundtracks accompanied all the films that had stalled in 2020.

A total cinephile’s dream, as one amazing movie after another has become available for streaming and in (some places) real theaters, the albums are as adorable as their visual counterparts. It’s not too late to drop a needle on one of those 2021 soundtracks and give up control. Consider NOT spending an extra second organizing your list instead of embarking on a sound adventure with one of these albums.

As many of these soundtracks prove, some great ideas transcend time and space.

tick, tick… BOOM!

Lin Manuel Miranda’s debut film is an adaptation of the life and work of musical writer Jonathan Larson. Larson fans will love the soundtrack of the To rent the creator’s approach, mainly, by telling the key points of the story through the song. What’s good about listening to tick, tick… BOOM! soundtrack is that each song advances the plot of the story. Many musical soundtracks remind us of the characters’ emotional truths or support obscure but important details. BOOM! has its fair share of these too, like “Green Green Dress” or “Sunday,” but other songs like “Johnny Can’t Decide” tell the tale of Larson’s struggle between pursuing his dream. ” be a successful music writer and stay with his girlfriend Susan. “Real Life” is Robin de Jesus’ moving performance about the AIDS epidemic ravaging the lives of New Yorkers – a constant underlying threat to Larson’s circle of friends. Besides being entertained by the narrative facets of these show tunes, the fantastic vocal contributions of Vanessa Hudgens, Tariq Turner and The Mountain Goats make the songs richer and more varied. Finally, it’s proper to call Andrew Garfield’s impressive performance on Larson on its own – no small feat.

Licorice Pizza

Another achievement by famous director Paul Thomas Anderson is Licorice Pizza. Like the worlds he created in Boogie evenings and Magnolia, Licorice PizzaThe atmospheres of lean heavily on the sounds of their time. Anderson, still the authority on total film immersion for his viewers, takes us deeper into his characters, their lives, the overall story – and everyone’s aura – with this musical masterpiece. . Licorice Pizza takes place in California before I was even born, but tunes by David Bowie, Nina Simone and Blood, Sweat & Tears anchored me in that unknown era. Simultaneously, Jonny Greenwood’s melodic composition of the song “Licorice Pizza” adds the right amount of heart to bind audiences to the film’s less specific attributes than time. For example, the universal themes of love and youth make this story timeless. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, you can enjoy this bouncy soundtrack; while seeing the film only reinforces the emotional resonance of songs like “July Tree” by Nina Simone or “Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day” by Taj Mahal. In short, PTA made us another solid.


The music for this predominantly live-action movie is very much out of a Disney soundtrack manual. This makes the case that soundtracks are out of fashion because they are as over the nose as you might imagine… but as a standalone piece, this is rocking listening! Cruel opens with a positively feminist hymn from a title track by Florence + The Machine. A good girl / bad girl contemplation unfolds as Estella kisses like Cruella. We hear the Stones and feel warmth for a suffering young woman who has been victimized, but also feel her anger as she walks down a track with vigor for “I want to be your dog.” The film is fully embellished with “Five to One” by The Doors and The Clash. It’s bold and courageous, which is worth listening to.

Gucci House

If your eyebrows are kissing your hair in the absence of Gaga or 30 Seconds from Mars on the House of Gucci soundtrack, you’re not alone. While surprising, don’t get bitter about this eclectic mix of musical masters. Press play and step into the glamorous world of Italian fashion in the late 1970s. The record features legends, such as tenor Luciano Pavarotti, as well as Dame Judy Sutherland. However, it is not only Italian opera boujee and is far from missing the pop musicality of a Lady Gaga. David Bowie, Donna Summer, Blondie, New Order, George Michael and Eurythmics are some of the famous artists. So even if you are the biggest Jared Leto fan on the planet, it will be hard to resist this mix. Alice’s “Una Notte Speciale” gives the impression of dancing under a sparkling disco ball thanks to its synth pop sound. As Catrina Caselli’s Italian cover of the Monkees’ song “I’m a Believer” will remind you that this song is worthy of the life beyond. Shrek. Do something ultra-fashionable instead of spending time building your own playlist. Treat yourself to start-to-finish listening Gucci House soundtrack and feel like you’re head to toe in high fashion.


If you don’t know the Sparks Brothers, this soundtrack will give you a taste of their intriguing art rock style. Edgar Wright released a documentary about the duo this year because the two are worthy of their own history. As for Annette, stars Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver play the lead roles and perform a number of songs. “Can we start? And “True Love Finds a Way” incorporate choral singing groups and make the songs full and resonant. Listeners will find that some scenes blend into these songs as well, also think of atmospheres like cars and TV news. Sometimes that soundtrack is stringy, orchestral, and dark. “I Have The Same Dream Every Night” is sung with Driver’s raw energy, which makes it both creepy and intriguing, for example. Annette is fascinating listening. If you want big, orchestral and dramatic sound, you won’t be disappointed.

Judas and the Black Messiah

It is far from an edifying film. In addition to the gruesome murder of Fred Hampton, the heinous institutionalized persecution of the Black Panthers is dramatized in this film. The good news is Judas and the Black Messiah is full of award-worthy performances and its musical accompaniment is just as spellbinding. Unlike the other movies on this list, Judas does not rely on period music to establish a tone. Instead, a roster of talent ranging from Jay-Z to A $ AP Rocky delivers hard-hitting verses. At the same time, melodies float in songs like “Fight For You” by HER and “America” ​​by Angela Hunter. Rakim’s “Black Messiah” is distinguished by his unparalleled MC prowess coupled with the telling of the Panther story. Do not miss this soundtrack, because apart from supporting the basis of the film, it is a standalone for its epic sounds.


I admit being totally biased when it comes to director Morgan Neville Roadrunner playlist. Neville not only included songs from the Anthony Bourdain documentary, but combed through the chef’s writings, social media, and friends to find his favorite songs. The result is almost a hundred songs from across the musical map (which is hardly surprising for a guy who has traveled the world with an open heart, mind and stomach). The writer and chef-turned-TV star’s aural tastes included shaggy, punky, psychedelic (and sometimes), nasal tunes from artists like The Clash, The Stooges, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Modern Lovers, Joy Division and Arms. Since it’s not actually a soundtrack, that doesn’t justify understanding why it succeeds, but it does warrant real listening as it’s an eclectic collection of the most popular songs, artists, and acts. appreciated by Bourdain. Something about hearing them reminds us of a man who was generous enough to share with us. These songs and the specific playlist of this film are a kind of memorial of him that I love to visit.

West Side Story

Steven Spielberg took the famous 1961 film version of Romeo and Juliet (not the 1957 theatrical production), with music by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and gave it a makeover. All the big ones are still there, they just appear in a new order, and there’s a fiery addition – “La Borinqueña”. The Puerto Rican anthem adds dynamism to Western coastexisting sounds. The new version of Spielberg was praised for its improvements to the character story, the casting and the adoption of a character called Valentina, who is played by Rita Moreno (original Anita from the 1961 film). The incredibly moving song “Somewhere”, originally performed by main characters Tony and Maria, is now sung by Moreno in Spielberg’s version. Discover the new West Side Story if you love the old and want to see what works musically and inclusively in the new. Bernstein and Sondheim weren’t so much ignored as they were redesigned in a formidable and modern way.

The summer of the soul ( Or, when the revolution will not be televised)

Fortunately, this life-changing musical event has finally been “televised”. It’s definitely coming too late, and it’s for anyone who can stream it (barely a large audience), but the fact that this footage came out of 1969 in New York City seems miraculous. Thanks to Ahmir Questlove Thompson, performances by groundbreaking artists like Nina Simon, Sly & The Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, The Staples, the 5th Dimension, The Temptations, BB King and Gladys Knight & The Pips (to name a few a few) were selected on the film’s soundtrack. Reconnect with the energy and love that filled the air at the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival at Marcus Garvey Park (formerly known as Mount Morris Park). A mix of the world’s most influential singers and musicians makes for completely captivating and nostalgic live music listening. Summer of the soulThe soundtrack proves that good music never ceases to move its listeners, no matter the time.

The velvet metro

What’s absolutely fascinating about director Todd Haynes is that he can tell a story about who and what is true with as much verve as his fictional films. You’d be hard-pressed to find a work by Haynes that isn’t captivating, like the 2021 music documentary, Velvet Underground. Along with Velvet’s 11 songs, the soundtrack includes influences and associated musical talents from the era. You’ll find Bo Didley’s rendition of “Road Runner” from his live performance in Myrtle Beach. Distant guitar riffs crash like waves and the influence on Reed seems like an obvious oversite despite years of listening. The Primitives performance of “The Ostrich” is incredibly fun and Velvet Underground-y. However, what makes it successful is that it’s basically a compilation of sounds from the guys who laid the groundwork for zillions of amazing acts that followed their lead. It really is that simple and as sturdy as that.

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