New York, NY (Top40 Charts) As all music lovers, film buffs and avid video gamers will know, the difference between a good music soundtrack and a bad one can quite easily be the difference between success and failure. Think of the Star Wars movies (not the Disney ones) without John Williams or The Legend of Zelda video game franchise without the music by Koji Kondo. For many video games and movies, the right music can be the difference between a film going down in the history books or a video game becoming a treasured childhood memory for the rest of a person's lifetime.
For your reading pleasure, we have compiled a short list of some of the most compelling soundtracks from video games and movies. Whereby without such brilliant music to accompany them, these movies and games may not have had quite the same profound effect on viewers and players.
First up is the pioneering classic, Tetris. The Tetris soundtrack is perhaps the most recognisable video game soundtrack ever. Tetris itself was created by Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov, a Soviet Russian software engineer in the 1980s, but the soundtrack for the game was created (in part) by Hirokazu Tanaka. The Tetris theme song was not created for the game itself. The Tetris theme was based on Korobeiniki, a 19th century Russian folk song which Tanka remade as the song for the Nintendo Game Boy version of Tetris in 1989 - incidentally this is the version of the game which made it the legendary game that it is today.
Back to the song, Korobeiniki is based on a poem by famous Russian poet and writer Nikolay Nekrasov. The melody of the song is exactly the same in both the original song and the Tetris version. The original song (before it was re-made by Tanaka) obviously had less of a techno sound to it and was usually played on a piano or the Oriental dombra, a two-stringed oval shaped instrument brought to Russia in the 14th century. Whichever instrument it is played on, the song is instantly recognisable.
Much of modern-day video game music is in part based on Tetris' iconic soundtrack. The electro beat to the tune ensured that the theme was ahead of its time and helped inspire music in classic video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Tetris also ensured that music would forever become a vital part of a video games makeup. Modern day video game creators including those behind the epic God of War video game franchise dedicate an immense amount of time and money into ensuring the soundtrack is perfect for their games. Other games such as the low variance slot game, Guns n Roses, brings in and entertains its audience simply by playing fantastic music in the background to the actual game.
Would Tetris now be regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time without its iconic soundtrack? That's a hard question to answer. Nevertheless, the Tetris theme remains one of the most well-known and influential video game soundtracks of all time.
When producers Marc Platt and Adam Seigel optioned the 2005 novel Drive to be made into a feature film of the same name, both men knew that a fitting and memorable soundtrack was going to be of the upmost importance to determining whether the film Drive would be a success or failure at box office. Therefore, they brought in Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn who would choose Jonny Jewell and Cliff Martinez to score the film.
Refn wanted abstract electronic music to accompany the noire and edgy film. By the end, Martinez was asked to emulate the sound and gave the soundtrack a "retro, 80s, synthesizer europop" sound. Drive ended up being ranked as the 4th best film of 2011 by MetaCritic. Numerous other film magazines and movie sites gave the film a multitude of awards which was in no small part down to Drive's impressive and unique soundtrack.
Perhaps the two most memorable songs from Drive's soundtrack include 'Nightcall' by French electronic musician Kavinsky and 'A Real Hero' by French electronica artist College. Even though the film itself is undeniably brilliantly shot and completely original and unique, the soundtrack to the film was the icing on the cake, so to speak.
Schindler's List needs no introduction. Apart from being one of the most emotive films in history, the screenplay is also accompanied by what is without a doubt a perfectly matching soundtrack. Many of us sometimes forget how music can so easily set the tone and mood in any given situation.
The soundtrack to Schindler's List was vital as it needed to be both quant and respectful as well as emotive and powerful. In actual fact, the film composer - John Williams - told Steven Spielberg - the film's director that: "you need a better composer than I am for this film." Spielberg responded: "I know but they are all dead." William was taken aback by the film and thought that composing for it would be too challenging.
Fortunately, Williams was indeed up to the task and he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for the film. Not only that but the scores are still played widely today on numerous classic radio stations. Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman performed the theme for the film on violin and how was amazed by how authentic Williams made everything sound. The theme to Schindler's list is one of the most iconic cinema scores in history.
Legend of Zelda Oracina of Time - A soundtrack beloved by many from a game that has become a treasured childhood many to thousands.
Lord of the Rings - A soundtrack full of a variety of incredible music from the sad and dreary to the happy and hopeful.
James Bond - For the theme tune alone.
Halo: Combat Evolved - The iconic menu theme song.