11 Amazing Movie Soundtracks from the '90s ...


11 Amazing Movie Soundtracks from the '90s ...
11 Amazing Movie Soundtracks from the '90s ...

Going into this, I know that choosing the most amazing movie soundtracks from the '90s is an almost impossible undertaking. Given the nostalgia for the era, the wealth of really excellent music, and the sheer number of movies that have attained cult status, either for being good or for being awful, picking just a few official soundtracks is almost impossible. Music is incredibly subjective anyway, so my favorites won't be your favorites and your favorites may not tickle someone else's fancy. So this is no definitive list of the best movie soundtracks from the '90s, but in the estimation of the unholy triumvirate – myself, the Better Half, and our friend Pickles – this list does contain some real lyrical gems. However, it calls out for your additions too!

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Empire Records

Empire Records On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

In addition to being one of my favorite movies of all time, I truly believe that Empire Records has one of the most incredible movie soundtracks from the '90s. Coyote Shivers' solo version of “Sugar High” is enough to cement that claim, but then you have Gin Blossoms, Better than Ezra, the Cranberries, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Even the kind of creepy “A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins will get under your skin, but good.


Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

This super violent flick had a soundtrack that played right into my moody youth. I didn't start listening to it until years after its 1994 release, because my parents would not let me see this epic movie at age 12. You've got Nine Inch Nails, Dr. Dre, Lou Reed, Jane's Addiction, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen – what more do you need?


Romeo + Juliet

Romeo + Juliet On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I had to fight for this entry, because for reasons forever unbeknownst to me, Pickles argued hard for the inclusion of the Titanic soundtrack instead. I think Romeo + Juliet had a greater amount of generally awesome music, though, to the point where I still routinely listen to this soundtrack. It's worth a mention just for the rendition of “When Doves Cry,” but when you're also listening to Mundy, Garbage, the Cardigans, Everclear, Des'ree, and Radiohead, you know you've got a good thing going. It's a classic '90s soundtrack, although Volume II doesn't hold a candle to Volume I.



Mallrats On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I am a huge Kevin Smith fan, in part because his soundtracks are always ridiculous, even on some of the blander movies. Mallrats has its moments as a movie – quite a lot of them – but the soundtrack is a winner all the way around. It won me over at Silverchair (I'm still such a huge fangirl), and Weezer's “Suzanne” is a thing of magic. Belly's “Broken” is likewise amazing, plus then you have Bush, Sublime, Girls Against Boys … the list goes on. Long live Kevin Smith!



Armageddon On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Consider this the obligatory heart breaker movie soundtrack, because the tracks are so much better than the single hit we got off Titanic (sorry, Pickles). Aerosmith's “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing” was on the radio forever after this, but I was also a huge fan of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” as covered by Chantal Kreviazuk. Besides, I'm a sucker for any soundtrack that includes Our Lady Peace, to say nothing of Patty Smyth, Journey, ZZ Top, and Bob Seger.


Dangerous Minds

Dangerous Minds On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I was so excited about this film when it came out, due in equal parts to my enduring crush on Michelle Pfeiffer and the previews, which were always backed by “Gangsta's Paradise.” The entire soundtrack is epic, as dark and somehow brooding as the movie itself, so much so that I don't know if the movie would be as great without the music. I fell hard for Immature thanks to this soundtrack as well, and I still love “A Message for Your Mind” so very much.


Sunset Park

Sunset Park On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

This soundtrack. This soundtrack is rhythmic and gritty and dangerous and dynamic and just … it's practically everything. It's like hip-hop heaven, and if you haven't listened to “Motherless Child,” I don't think we can be friends anymore. From 2Pac and Ghostface Killah to Aaliyah, it's very nearly perfection.



Angus On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

True facts, I adore this movie. It was a great score for the unpopular kids who just try to live their lives and be happy doing what they're good at. The soundtrack perfectly reflects the message and mood of the movie. Again, hi, there's Weezer, with the adorably awkward “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly,” along with Green Day. Some of the songs deserve a miss, but many of them will perfectly define puberty for you, whether you were a '90s baby or not.


Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

I love it when a great movie has an equally great soundtrack. This film is perfectly scored, and it makes the list mainly because it introduced me to Elliott Smith, whose music actually gives me shivers. If you've never heard “Miss Misery,” please go listen to it. Right now. Don't worry; I'll wait. Actually Elliott is all over this soundtrack, and every song, from “Between the Bars” and “Say Yes” to “No Name #3,” will change the way you listen to music. Besides, you also get gorgeous doses of Al Green, The Dandy Warhols, and Andru Donalds. Listen to this soundtrack!


Velvet Goldmine

Velvet Goldmine On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

The soundtrack for Velvet Goldmine was my entire life in 1998. I was already ridiculously in love with Placebo, whose cover of “20th Century Boy” still tickles my fancy, but there's so much more to this soundtrack. It's as wild and colorful and moody and sexy as the movie itself. Shudder to Think's “Ballad of Maxwell Demon” is frigging amazing, and “Ladytron” will change your life. There are several great tracks from The Venus in Furs as well, not to mention “Bitter's End” by Paul Kimble and Andy Mackay.


City of Angels

City of Angels On iTunes at: itunes.apple.com

Actually, here's a final heart breaker for you. This movie wrecked my life, and the soundtrack still makes me cry. The standout naturally comes from the Goo Goo Dolls, and I still maintain that “Iris” is one of the most beautiful love songs from the 1990s. Sarah McLachlan's “Angel” is still a hit, and “If God Will Send His Angels” turns me into an enormous puddle of tears. My very favorite track, however, is Alanis Morissette's “Uninvited.” To this day I can barely understand a word of it, but that plaintive voice rips my heart out every time. Besides, you also have to love a soundtrack that features Jimi Hendrix.

The '90s really were kind of magical in retrospect, and there were some damn good songs. No matter what your taste in movies or music, you likely heard tunes from all of these. But are they your favorites? If not, please do at your favorite soundtracks from '90s flicks – let's share playlists!

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Brilliant. Before reading this I was thinking empire records has to be on here and it was #1!! city of angels and Romeo and Juliet sum up my teenage years of the 90's. Totally agree with Temi that cruel I tensions is a must!!

Cruel Intensions needs to be on this list!

Nice article!!! I loved the empire records and good will hunting soundtracks!!

I like the way this author writes. Easy to read and funny!! Thanks girl

I saw Natural Born Killers at 20y/o in the theater and it still stands as one of my all time fave movie and soundtrack. Saw Janes Addiction and NIN at Hollywood Bowl a couple yrs ago which was amazing. So glad to hear you young ones are still enjoying....

I'm shocked you left out Reality Bites! Lisa Loeb, U2, the knack, Juliana hatfield, Lenny Kravitz and even Ethan Hawke!!

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