Intern Picks of the Week – Favorite Movie Soundtrack

Intern Picks of the Week- Favorite Movie Soundtracks
Intern Picks of the Week- Favorite Movie Soundtracks

This week we’re highlighting our favorite movie soundtracks! In honor of the Oscars, we felt there was no better week to highlight the amazing scores throughout cinema. Music makes a scene, and those who create it know exactly how to evoke every emotion. Not only do these movies hold a special place in our hearts, but these soundtracks make them the beauty they are. As always, these picks come from your favorite movie-loving interns- Madeleine, Emily, Brooke, and Benni! 

Madeleine’s Pick: Howl’s Moving Castle – Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki; Music by Joe Hisaishi (2005)

Howl’s Moving Castle is my favorite Studio Ghibli film. No matter how often I’ve seen it, I’m always struck by the moving story and stunning visuals. Most of all, the soaring soundtrack stands out to me. When I think of Howl’s Moving Castle, I can instantly hear the music in my mind, being an indicator of an effective score.

Joe Hisaishi provides a memorable score to the most pivotal scenes. The film is riddled with sweeping string arrangements and emotionally evoking melodic compositions. Hisaishi utilizes melodic themes from the opening track “Merry-Go-Round of Life” throughout the film. This melody acts as a balanced center that the film is anchored by. The Howl’s Moving Castle score explores fantasy, romance, and self-revelation in consistency with the plot’s movement. 

The seamless connection between the story and the soundtrack makes the film a modern classic to many. Howl’s Moving Castle is a film with an infectiously replayable soundtrack that I’ll continue to revisit. 

Listen to “Merry-Go-Round Life” below!

Emily’s Pick: Lady Bird – Written & Directed by Greta Gerwig; Music by Jon Brion (2017)

There will never be a movie that has impacted me the way Lady Bird has. It’s a beautiful coming of age story that highlights the plights of trying to understand yourself in the rawest form.Set in 2003 Sacramento, the movie follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson as she combats adulthood. It’s a real look into mother daughter relationships, the awkwardness of Catholic schools, and how difficult it is to move out of where you’re born. 

Jon Brion crafted a beautiful soundtrack to match the writing and directing style of Gerwig. He was able to craft a score that is simultaneously melancholy and optimistic. It blends the ever changing emotions of Lady Bird in an effortless way. Brion had previously worked on movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch-Drunk Love, and Magnolias. For the real music lovers, he’s even noted as producer on a few tracks from Frank Ocean’s Blonde. His work has been heavily celebrated because of his ability to connect audiences. 

Perhaps there is no better example of this than “Reconcile,” which plays over the final sequence of the film. Lady Bird calls her mother from New York and leaves a message full of all the things she loved about Sacramento. The moment is bittersweet. The score is bittersweet. 

Listen to “Consolation & Reconcile” below!

Brooke’s Pick: Trainspotting – Directed by Danny Boyle

The soundtrack of the movie “Trainspotting” is as iconic as the film itself, perfectly complementing its gritty, rebellious, and raw portrayal of life amidst Edinburgh’s drug culture. It also features a lot of my favorite bands so that does help just a bit. From Ewan McGregor swimming in a toilet to Brian Eno’s atmospheric, “Deep Blue Day,” to the use of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” as a funeral song, each song adds depth and resonance to the film’s narrative. Tracks like Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” and Blur’s “Sing” evoke a sense of youthful defiance and hedonism, while Primal Scream’s “Trainspotting” offer moments of introspection and melancholy. Blending classic rock, punk, electronic, and alternative music, the “Trainspotting” soundtrack not only enhances the movie’s atmosphere but also stands as a cultural landmark in its own right, capturing the zeitgeist of the 1990s.

Listen to “Deep Blue Day” below!

Benni’s Pick: Parasite – Written & Directed by Bong Joon-ho, music by Jung Jaeil

Very few soundtracks capture and cultivate a movie’s tone as intricately and masterfully as Bong Joon-Ho’s 2019 masterpiece Parasite. With a symphony of soft strings, piano, and percussion employing both Western and Eastern musical instruments, Parasite bridges the musical gap between the naivete of peaceful ignorance and the darkness of awareness, exploitation, and primal fear. Like the movie itself, Parasite’s soundtrack develops and shifts over the course of the film, another feature that helps the music feel so connected to the story. At the start, the soundtrack evokes the unassuming curiosity that the main characters feel as they slowly adjust to their changing circumstances, and as their stories unravel into darker and more intense and unpredictable horrors, the music follows suit with additions of increasingly off-kilter chords, lingering melodic passages, and isolating performances. The soundtrack’s gradual descent from peacefulness into dread perfectly mirrors the characters’ gradual spirals from luxury into horror as the movie progresses.

Parasite’s use of this increasingly melancholy music style throughout its runtime gives it a unique edge as an artistic work and catalyzes the suspense and distinct feelings of uneasiness throughout the film. Every element of this film is a victory, and the soundtrack only amplifies its triumphs. 

Listen to “The Belt of Faith” below!