Weekly survey: What’s the best alt-rock-based movie soundtrack of all time?

The sale of movie soundtracks used to be a sizeable source of income for studios, labels, and bands. Not only were they great marketing tools for movies but they also offered artists ways to expose their music to new artists.

Think about what the soundtrack albums for John Hughes’ movies did for breaking British artists like New Order and OMD in America. The soundtrack for Singles helped boost the fortunes of grunge. And the Judgement Night soundtrack proved that you could bridge the gap between rock and rap.

Or maybe you want to get super-retro. I know that at least a few readers in Winnipeg are thinking about Phantom of the Paradise right now. (It really is a Winnipeg thing. Trust me.) Remember movies like FM and Urban Cowboy? Those soundtracks were massive.

Here are a few more of my favourites:

  • Clerks
  • The Crow (1 and 2)
  • Empire Records
  • Garden State
  • Trainspotting (both volumes from the original movie)

What, in your opinion, was the best of all the alt-rock soundtracks?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

32 thoughts on “Weekly survey: What’s the best alt-rock-based movie soundtrack of all time?

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:15 am
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    Dunno about “best” but Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver has a fabulous soundtrack. His “Scott Pilgrim” also (and bonus points for the name coming from a Canadian alt-rock tune!).

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 11:08 am
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    I love the “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack. “The Crow” is another good one.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 11:13 am
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    Personal favs are already listed. The Crow, Singles, Judgement Night.

    Other favs:
    Pump Up The Volume
    Lost Highway

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    • March 11, 2019 at 9:02 pm
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      You read my mind!!

      Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 12:56 pm
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    I love the songs featured in American Pie:

    Hole – Celebrity Skin
    Everclear – Everything to Everyone
    Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta
    Blink 182 – Mutt
    Barenaked Ladies – One Week
    Third Eye Blind – Semi Charmed Life

    Problem is, most of these songs aren’t even featured on the official soundtrack.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    Urgh…A Music War

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 1:22 pm
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    Some Kind of Wonderful (written by John Hughes but directed by Howard Deutch (who became the future Mr. Lea Thompson) is a very underrated 80’s alt rock soundtrack.

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    • March 12, 2019 at 7:29 pm
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      Angus (super underrated), lost highway, and I gotta admit that the american pie soundtracks were solid.

      Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    The “Heavy Metal” soundtrack is at the top of my list (although this may be due to the epic quest to find a used LP back before they had the copyrights figured out for reissues).

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    Six Feet Under had a great soundtrack and introduced artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Phoenix, Interpol, Sia, Arcade Fire.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    Not to mention “Cha Cha” with Herman Brood, Nena Hagen and Lene Lovich

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  • March 11, 2019 at 2:21 pm
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    No one mentioned my fave yet. Lost Highway. Killer album.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 2:32 pm
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    “Cool World”. If I remember correctly, 5 tracks from that soundtrack were on the CFNY countdown simultaneously. The movie was abysmal, but the soundtrack remains one of my “go to’s” for introducing 90s alternative.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm
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    Singles. For Smashing Pumpkins’ “Drown” alone.

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  • March 11, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    Singles tops my list by far (although Phantom o/t Paradise is one of the greatest ever!)…also Reality Bites and Romeo + Juliet (w/Leo DiCaprio & Claire Danes) stood out…

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  • March 11, 2019 at 9:21 pm
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    Valley Girl! The Plimsouls appeared in the move with ‘A Million Miles Away’ and ‘Oldest Story in the World’. Then there was The Psychedelic Furs ‘Love My Way’, Modern English “Melt With you’, Payolas with ‘Eyes of a Stranger’. The (unofficial) soundtrack wasn’t released until 1993 by Rhino.

    Reply
  • March 11, 2019 at 9:25 pm
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    Singles
    The Crow
    Love and a .45
    A Life Less Ordinary
    Trainspotting
    Tank Girl

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  • March 11, 2019 at 10:28 pm
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    Love and a 45!
    Natural Born Killers!

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  • March 11, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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    Empire Records soundtrack is legendary, in my opinion. And one that I don’t hear mentioned often, that was a go to for me, was the Pump Up the Volume soundtrack. Great tunes on that one too!

    Reply
  • March 12, 2019 at 10:16 am
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    The Crow, Empire Records, Dazed & Confused, Lost Highway, The Punisher (2004) and Daredevil (2003) are all ones I’ve had in heavy rotation at some point or another.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 12:34 pm
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    Brian De Palma’s PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE by Paul Williams is the best rock soundtrack of All-Time.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 12:50 pm
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    24 Hour Party People

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  • March 12, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    Romeo and Juliet — Garbage, Radiohead, Butthole surfers, amongst others. A solid soundtrack from end to end.

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  • March 12, 2019 at 4:06 pm
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    Dumb and Dumber also has a great soundtrack.

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  • March 13, 2019 at 10:07 pm
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    Not sure if it fits alt-rock completely, but Underworld (2003) has some standouts.

    By 2009, the industry figured out the mesh with music, but Twilight – New Moon has quite the track list.

    Mentioned by many above, The Crow holds up well.

    Reply

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