Soundtrack scores resonate long after credits roll

Often in different visual forms of media, with movies, TV shows, cartoons, anime, video games, etc, music supervisors will choose music to use for the specified project, or in other cases, the studio will hire or already does have a composer working to make music specifically for the media. These OST’s, or Official Sound Tracks, can be a vital part to experiencing the art as they can add emotion and tension, as well as give a defined atmosphere to the scene it accompanies. The mark of a good OST is whether or not it can be enjoyed separately from its original media, could the music stand alone as a good album or EP? This article will feature a few OST’s that I believe do just that.

Blade Runner (1982) – The original Blade Runner film is a sci-fi/cyberpunk movie set in a dystopian future of flying cars, neon signs and replicants (machines made to look and act the same as humans.) The soundtrack consists entirely of moody instrumentals, synths, saxophones and grand pianos lace the songs with an otherworldly relaxing feeling, something futuristic enough to accompany the neon signs and holographic ads, but jazzy enough to accompany the rainy streets and the noir narrative that unfolds. It’s not a soundtrack that’s meant to get you moving on the dance floor or rock your head; it’s the perfect atmospheric soundtrack. Enjoying it separately from its movie is still quite entertaining as you can focus more on the instrumentation and composition of it.

Berserk (1997) – The anime, based on the manga Berserk, is a story set in a fictional medieval era, following Guts, his struggles and trauma that befalls him all throughout his life. The soundtrack that accompanies the original 1997 anime is short, sporting only 10 songs overall. Most of the instrumental tone-setting tracks were composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who’s been composing music since 1978. The artist for Berserk, Kentaro Mirua, who unfortunately passed away on May 6, 2021, listened to Hirasawa’s work while drawing Berserk, so it means something special that he managed to get one of his favorite composers when his work was animated. Hirasawa’s work perfectly portrays both the grimness and the ever-persisting hope that emanates throughout the story and characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (2014) – Being one of Marvel’s most successful movies to release since 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 has been considered one of the best movies in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Some of that popularity could be attributed to the soundtrack, aside from the separately composed tracks, Guardians of the Galaxy had a set of songs chosen to be used in the movie, taken from various artists, including Redbone, David Bowie, The Runaways and so on. All of these songs are taken from a relative pool of time, somewhere between the ‘70s and the ‘80s; this era had a lot of rock and disco, and those styles are definitely heard throughout the movie. While taking from a specific era can make your piece of media dated, music from this era is widely seen as timeless, and to its credit, a lot of music from that era holds up under scrutiny. 

Music is a vital part of all kinds of media, and how what we hear can affect what we see and what we feel. There’s a lot that goes into choosing what sounds good with what visuals, and these were only a few examples of well chosen and well made soundtracks.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.