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Fan poll: 5 best movie soundtracks of all time

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Music is an essential part of any movie, and, if executed well, can become just as immortal as the film itself — if not more. While we could easily rattle off dozens of legendary accompaniments, we turned to our readers and asked them to vote on the best movie soundtracks of all time instead. Given that there’s been an overwhelming number of great ones over the years, from the sounds of John Hughes’ coming-of-age classics to Tarantino epics and beyond, many have been excluded. These are the top picks, ranked accordingly below.

Read more: 10 iconic alt ’90s movie soundtracks

5. Garden State

Despite coming out in 2004, Garden State continues to be remembered for its phenomenal soundtrack. Featuring 13 songs, all hand-picked by director/writer Zach Braff, the dramedy is essentially a mixtape of “the music that [he] felt was scoring [his] life” while he worked on the screenplay. It introduced several alternative greats (The Shins, Nick Drake, Thievery Corporation) to wider audiences while mixing in bigger groups like Simon & Garfunkel and Coldplay, which worked to great effect.

4. American Pie

It’s tough to believe that more than two decades have passed since American Pie came out, revitalizing the teen sex comedy for a new age and spawning a franchise that’d gross millions. Its soundtrack acts as a time capsule of alt-rock greatness as the ’90s reached its end, including hits from Sugar Ray, Goldfinger, Third Eye Blind, and blink-182 (whose raunchy humor falls in line with the film so much that they make a cameo as a local band who witness Jim and Nadia’s awkward webcast). Just a golden soundtrack from start to end.

3. Twilight

There was a time when Twilight felt inescapable during the 2010s, but its soundtrack still holds up. Black Ghost set the scene with the folky and eerie “Full Moon,” which introduces viewers to the rainy town of Forks, Washington, whereas Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole” soundtracks the Cullen’s equally fun and strange baseball game (a scene that still lives in our heads so many years later). There are also two Paramore cuts — “Decode” and “I Caught Myself” — but, as Hayley Williams recently pointed out, the movie accidentally uses the “soundcheck demo version” of the latter while Bella, Jessica, and Angela shop for prom dresses.

2. Singles

Released less than a year after Nevermind, Cameron Crowe’s Singles casts a bright light on the biggest names of Seattle grunge. Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and Screaming Trees all have their moment in the sun, but there are also other inclusions outside of the scene that totally work — Jimi Hendrix, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, to name a few. It’s a triumph of a soundtrack — one that captures the grunge movement in all its glory and, year after year, continues to endure.

1. The Crow

Are you surprised? The Crow’s soundtrack remains a sterling entry point to alternative culture, so it’s only fitting that readers named it the greatest of all time. Featuring giants such as the Cure, Rage Against the Machine, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and beyond, there’s not a weak song in the bunch. Plus, there are some undeniably great covers, like the Rollins Band taking on Suicide’s “Ghostrider” and Nine Inch Nails doing Joy Division’s “Dead Souls.” It’s not just an incredible soundtrack — it’s a portrait of underground music in the ’90s.

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