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26 Soundtracks That Were Way Better Than The Movies

It's not that these movies were BAD — it's just that the soundtracks for them were really, really awesome.

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Edwyn Collins, "A Girl Like You"

Radiohead, "Talk Show Host"


DMX, Method Man, Nas, and Ja Rule, "Grand Finale"

Elastica featuring Stephen Malkmus, "The Unheard Music"


5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon [2009]

All of the Twilight soundtracks are pretty good, but this is the peak of the series, with strong original songs by Bon Iver with St. Vincent, Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Lykke Li, and Grizzly Bear.

Bon Iver and St. Vincent, "Rosyln"

Mista Grimm, "Indo Smoke"


7. Batman Forever [1995]

This one is waaaaaaay better and more eclectic than it needs to be, with excellent hits by U2 and Seal ("Kiss From A Rose"!), plus outstanding tracks from Sunny Day Real Estate, Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey, Brandy, Method Man, Massive Attack, and The Flaming Lips.

U2, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"

8. Garden State [2004]

This is the soundtrack that dragged sad guys with beards and acoustic guitars back into the mainstream. The Shins, Iron and Wine, Coldplay, Nick Drake, Colin Hay, and yet more Shins.

The Shins, "New Slang"


Nine Inch Nails, "Dead Souls"

10. Coneheads [1993]

This one is odd, but kinda works, with rare cuts by R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed in with random hits by Soft Cell and Paul Simon. Just ignore the track with Barenaked Ladies covering Public Enemy.

R.E.M., "It's A Free World, Baby"


11. Saturday Night Fever [1977]

The movie was a big deal, but let's be real, Saturday Night Fever was all about the music and this soundtrack is one of the biggest records of the '70s and the defining album of the disco era. This is the Bee Gees at their pinnacle – "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love," "Night Fever," "You Should Be Dancing," "Jive Talkin'" – but there's strong stuff from Kool and the Gang and The Trampps too.

Bee Gees, "Night Fever"

Warren G featuring Nate Dogg, "Regulate"


13. Reality Bites [1994]

The Reality Bites soundtrack is like a strange, sentimental, and totally lovable mix tape featuring old hits from U2, The Knack, and Squeeze alongside songs by Dinosaur Jr., Juliana Hatfield Three, and uh, Ethan Hawke covering The Violent Femmes. All that, plus Lisa Loeb's "Stay"!

Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories, "Stay (I Missed You)"

Mariah Carey, "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On"


Berlin, "Take My Breath Away"

16. Juno [2008]

Juno made twee mainstream by introducing millions of people to Belle & Sebastian and The Moldy Peaches, but the soundtrack also includes classic songs by Cat Power, Sonic Youth, and The Velvet Underground.

Cat Power, "Sea of Love"


17. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist [2008]

For some reason studios feel compelled to put a lot of cool music on the soundtracks of movies starring Michael Cera. This one includes material by Vampire Weekend, We Are Scientists, Band of Horses, Shout Out Louds, and Devendra Banhart.

Shout Out Louds, "Very Loud"

Prince, "When Doves Cry"


Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You"

20. Bulworth [1998]

You probably don't remember this comedy starring Warren Beatty, but the soundtrack sold a million copies on the strength of the smash hit "Ghetto Supastar," plus material from Eve, RZA, Method Man, and Dr. Dre.

Pras, Mya, and Ol Dirty Bastard, "Ghetto Supastar"


21. American Graffiti [1973]

This soundtrack, featuring 41 cuts, is basically a primer on late '50s/early '60s pop, with classics from Buddy Holly, The Platters, The Beachboys, Chuck Berry, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, The Flamingos, and The Big Bopper.

The Platters, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"

22. Singles [1992]

Cameron Crowe movies always have outstanding soundtracks, but this one really captured the early '90s grunge moment with classic songs from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains, as well as the first hit from The Smashing Pumpkins, who had nothing to do with Seattle rock at all.

The Smashing Pumpkins, "Drown"


Isaac Hayes, "Theme from Shaft"

24. Pump Up the Volume [1990]

Weirdly, the soundtrack to Pump Up the Volume does not include the M.A.R.R.S. song "Pump Up the Volume." It does, however, feature memorable material from Sonic Youth, Pixies, Bad Brains featuring Henry Rollins, Soundgarden, and Concrete Blonde.

Pixies, "Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)"


Pulp, "Like A Friend"

26. Marie Antoinette [2006]

Sophia Coppola movies always have great soundtracks, but in this case, it's like she made a cool mix tape featuring New Order, Gang of Four, The Strokes, and The Cure, and then decided to make a movie.

New Order, "Ceremony"