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Here are the best movie soundtracks of the 1990s

The popularity of the CD format revolutionised ’90s movie soundtracks. There was a return to big budget soundtracks and with the rising climb in Blockbusters, Hollywood bigwigs needed a mean soundtrack to back their film. This led to some of the most best movie soundtracks to date for some of the greatest cinema zeitgeist moments of the decade.

Here are 10 of our favourite soundtracks from the 1990s.

Best Movie Soundtracks

We have collated 10 of our favourite movie soundtracks from the 1990s to transport you back to the flannel, romance, grunge and glory.

10. The Matrix

Seamlessly blending heavy rock, electronic, alt-rock and experimental, The Matrix soundtrack is almost as genius as the film itself. Flashes of Neo, Trinity and Morpheus in epic slo-mo sweeps will dance across your vision as you contemplate the philosophical ramifications of reality.

The metallic edge of Marilyn Manson‘s Rock Is Dead, Rob Zombie on Dragula, and Deftones My Own Summer (Shove It) are potent as ever. However nothing is more iconic than Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation). There is also an incredible compilation soundtrack of all three movies on YouTube which is quite literally the best pump up compilation ever made.

9. Batman Forever

Trivia note: only five songs on this soundtrack made the movie. However, for those who blind bought it for Seal and U2 were treated to an excellent compilation with PJ Harvey, Mazzy Star, Nick Cave, Massive Attack, Method Man, The Flaming Lips and The Offspring – covering the Damned’s Smash It Up.

The highlight however is INXS‘ Michael Hutchens covering Iggy Pop‘s Passenger. U2 even won a Grammy for it!

8. Forrest Gump

What a film! While this masterpiece of cinema is predominantly predicated upon a ’60s and ’70s centric soundtrack, it deserves a spot of this list for it’s chart topping success and ability to powerfully represent one of the most iconic times in music history.

Going 11x Platinum in Australia and 12x Platinum in the US, it’s 32 unstoppable American classics wrapped into one neat bundle.

7. Spawn

Before Marvel and DC had solved the riddle of concurrent blockbuster comic book hits they were giving a few side heroes their shot at the limelight. Spawn is one such creature. It was unique at the time for blending heavy rock bands with electronic artists like Metallica and DJ Spooky on For Whom The Bell Tolls. 

Other team ups include: Crystal Method and Filter, Marilyn Manson and Sneaker Pimps, Korn and The Dust Brothers, Henry Rollins and Goldie, and even out very own Silverchair with Vitro.

6. Reality Bites

While the film wasn’t necessarily a standout, the soundtrack was iconic. Kickstarting a young Winona Ryder and Ethen Hawke’s career, Reality Bites has become a bit of a cult classic. I can never go past Arrested Development’s Give A Man A Fish. 

Throw in alt-rock legends such as Dinosaur Jr, New Order, and World Party and you have a highly loveable snapshot of the ’90s on your hands.

5. Romeo + Juliet

Another romantic tragedy featuring Leonardo DiCaprio to top the charts, the culturally updated Romeo + Juliet is an anomaly is every sense. The modern retelling of the Bard’s famous tale of star-crossed lovers is a brilliant collage of at his Baz Lurhmann experimental best.

Pouring in dashes of Radiohead, Kim Myzelle and The Cardigan, Lurhmann created one of the best movie soundtracks of all time selling 4 million units worldwide.

4. Singles

If you had to explain grunge to someone you would hand them the Singles soundtrack. The bands on here are so quintessentially ’90s it hurts. The growlers include the almighty: Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Chris Cornell, Mudhoney and Paul Westerberg.

Throw in a bit of Hendrix and you have one hell of a rock flick painting the grunge scene of Seattle in the ’90s.

3. Trainspotting

A shining example of culturally relevant songs that serve a scene, Trainspotting is a downright masterpiece. With hits form artists like Iggy Pop, New Order, Lou Reed, and Blur, there’s a super eclectic mix in there and it perfectly supports the themes of the film.

Every time I listen to Brian Eno I can’t help but feel like I’m plunging into the world’s deepest toilet.

2. Titanic – James Horner

The magnificent score from James Horner was shot to the top of the charts after the immense success of Titanic, selling 30 million copies and is one of the best selling albums of all time.

From the poignant Rose, and Hymn To The Sea the orchestra surges and swells with emotional intensity putting you right back in the clutch of one of the great modern romantic tragedies. I defy you to listen to My Heart Will Go On without tearing up.

1. Pulp Fiction – Various

Rarely is a soundtrack as much of a cult classic as it’s accompanying screenplay. From Chuck Berry‘s You Can Never Tell to The Revels’ Comanche, to Urge Overkill’s cover of Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon they all matched iconic scenes to boot – as Tarantino is wont to do.

Widely regarded as Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction is equally as significant.

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