Ten Flawless Soundtracks

1. Romeo + Juliet

The Romeo + Juliet soundtrack is a slice of ’90s heaven. It was largely conceptual with every song revolving around forbidden love, obsession and violence. My personal favorites are the sensual swirl of “#1 Crush” by Garbage, the ethereal dreaminess of “Angel” by Gavin Friday and the quiet aggression of bands like Butthole Surfers and Radiohead.

2. Empire Records

A soundtrack to a movie about music set in the ’90s better be awesome. Empire Records was a nice mix of #dark girl music (Mazzy Star, Drill) and unabashed alternative rock (Cracker anyone?). Listening to the album makes me kinda want to work at a cool record store with my cool friends, have sex with a washed up pop star, shave my head in the employee’s bathroom, take speed to do homework, shoplift, and throw myself a fake funeral. Or something.

3. Wicker Park

Every so often, a crappy movie that no one cares about will release an amazing soundtrack and everyone will be super confused about it. Such was the case for the dud, Wicker Park, which I’m pretty sure no one saw. The soundtrack, however, is indie pop perfection. Tracks by Broken Social Scene, Mum, and Mates Of State help capture the beautiful time that was indie rock in the early ’00s and also make you forget that it’s for a movie starring Josh Hartnett about his disappearing girlfriend.

4. The Wackness

The Wackness soundtrack is essentially a crash course in early ’90s hip hop. R. Kelly, Biz Markie, A Tribe Called Quest, Biggie, Nas: The gang’s all here! There’s even the amazing/borderline LOL song, “Summertime” by Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, which I try to listen to on a daily basis. The great thing about this soundtrack is that it actually feels like a mixed tape your crush would give you in high school. My only complaint is that they didn’t include “I Wish by Skee-Lo.

5. Stealing Beauty

Did you guys ever see this movie? It starred Liv Tyler in her prime as an 18-year-old virgin (gasp!) who travels to Italy and attempts to get laid. It’s beautifully shot but is also kind of tedious so I suggest just watching it on mute with the soundtrack playing. There are so many good jams on this one. It’s a mix of moody girl music (Liz Phair, Cocteau Twins), jazz (Nina Simone, Billie Holiday), and soul (John Lee Hooker, Stevie Wonder). I remember listening to it when I was 11 and feeling very sophisticated for listening to something that my mother also enjoyed.


Ryan O'Connell

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  • Ked1991

    where is the soundtrack to Trainspotting? hands-down best soundtrack of the 90s.

  • http://twitter.com/jladz65 Joanna L

    I know it didn’t come out in the 90s, but the Jennifer’s Body soundtrack was pretty good.  Even though that movie was gloriously awful.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, I was hoping The Wackness was on here. SO GREAT. I listen to that soundtrack all the time and it’s one of about five soundtracks I’ve ever owned.

  • http://twitter.com/henryevil andrew

    A million times yes at the Marie-Antoinette soundtrack. A New Wave fan’s wet dream.

  • http://twitter.com/henryevil andrew

    A million times yes at the Marie-Antoinette soundtrack. A New Wave fan’s wet dream.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49300307 Andrea Nero

    All my picks are on here.
    But if we’re talking original scores… THE TRUMAN SHOW.

  • your cousin

    Rushmore! Royal Tenenbaums! Life Aquatic! Scream 2!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49300307 Andrea Nero

      hahaha Scream 3 soundtrack makes me think of middle school.

  • Rayray Ecore

    This list is completely and utterly flawed without “Trainspotting” on it.

  • Date by Numbers

    No Brokedown Palace?  No Cruel Intentions?

    • miamia07

      Brokedown Palace has an amazing soundtrack! I thought I was really cool for listening to it in high school.

  • http://zachdionne.tumblr.com Zach Dionne

    Garden State soundtrack aged fine for me. Not really into any of the bands individually so it’s not too context-laden (aside from being the songs from the movie), and I use it to fall asleep between two and seven times per week.

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    …Dirty Dancing? Anyone?

  • A.

    omg, yes, Empire Records soundtrack I have been listening to since 2004 and I never get sick of it.

  • Luxe

    Fucking DONNIE DARKO.

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity


  • http://fashiongrunge.com/ fashion grunge

    How is Dazed and Confused not on this list? Or Clueless!! Or Reality Bites!

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      The Reality Bites soundtrack has been played in the background during soooo many “sobbing in the shower” experiences, worldwide. Right?

    • your cousin

      I was recently in a diner long enough to know that what they were playing wasn’t just a “90s mix.” It was the actual soundtrack to Reality Bites.

  • Jordan

    Air.  Virgin Suicides.

  • Ashley Keith

    So glad My Summer of Love is on here. I’m watching it again before summer is over.

  • http://twitter.com/kevincougar Kevin

    What about Selmasongs?! 

  • Felix Flores

    Natural Born Killers should be included, as well as Trainspotting & Hackers.

  • http://twitter.com/raystraight Ray Straight

    Mad props for acknowledging The Radio Dept.

  • Refusenik

    i’m not gonna be like “oh my god how could you leave out this one”, but i highly recommend the mysterious skin soundtrack. the score by robin guthrie and harold budd is gorgeous, and the songs in the film are from all over the classic shoegaze spectrum (MBV, slowdive, ride, etc.)

  • soph

    umm, how has no one mentioned almost famous yet (or any other cameron crow movie)?

    • Maggie


  • Brendo

    No Forest Gump?  It’s got great classic hits as well as an amazing original score not unlike American Beauty

    • C.

      THANK YOU. One of my most favorite scores of all time.

  • http://twitter.com/the_deliman Rus

    The Wackness soundtrack was a pretty good sample of 90’s hip hop. Boiler Room had a great 90’s hip hop soundtrack as well.

  • -heather-

    10 Things I Hate About You!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caroline-Evertz/25521401 Caroline Evertz

    (500) Days of Summer, anyone? Hall + Oates always gets me dancin’.

    • Megan


    • Adrian R


    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      they’re just hating because now the movie is so popular it’s considered ‘trite’. i feel you, girl.

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