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The British public totally fucked the vote for the greatest ever movie soundtracks, so we fixed it

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By Sam Diss & Dave Fawbert

In a survey carried out by the Royal Albert Hall, the British public covered themselves in shit once a-fucking-gain while attempting to vote for the greatest movie soundtracks of all time. 

Crack a window and look at this list: 

1. Titanic
2. Chariots of Fire
3. Star Wars
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
6. The Great Escape
7. The Magnificent Seven
8. Back to the Future
9. Gladiator
10. Jurassic Park

Terrible. Good films on there, sure, a couple great scores, you bet your sweet sonic ass, but Titanic is not the greatest soundtrack of all time. It has one song – you know the one, I’m not even going to bring myself to name it because come on – and that one song is key to dismantling the rest of the list. 

Well, ShortList, clearly they were voting for SCORES and not SOUNDTRACKS as many of us know them, as choice little Spotify compilations that we like to nod along to in the car. But no, they’re wrong: if you’re going for Celine Dion – and I’d dare anyone to tell me that they’re actually voting for eight-minute mood piece "Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave" by composer James Horner – then all bets are all the way off. 

Look at this list: 

1. Titanic – one song
2. Chariots of Fire – one song
3. Star Wars – one song
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – barely even a song! It’s a jingle! Jesus Christ! 
5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – OK, this is fine. My dad used to listen to this in the car a lot: ‘Council of Elrond’ bangs
6. The Great Escape – one song
7. The Magnificent Seven – who even knows
8. Back to the Future – overrated, but I guess fine
9. Gladiator – oh, but it’s Hans Zimmer! Remember him? He did Batman! Shut up, I don’t care. Boring. Move on. Crap
10. Jurassic Park – Jurassic Park is the shit, fair play

A dog-shit list. A list for bad people who don’t deserve ears. 

Here – HERE – is the real list:

10. Superfly

Anyone who voted for Titanic should be strapped down and forced to listen to Curtis Mayfield’s masterpiece until they realise what an actual soundtrack is, admit their heinous, heinous error and vow to spend the rest of their waking days educating others to not make the same mistakes in life they did. To be fair, being forced to listen to Superfly is the opposite of a punishment, so perhaps they should be waterboarded while listening to it, just to introduce a penalty aspect that will, just about, turn it into a negative experience overall, so they learn their lesson. It simply has everything. Effortless grooves, astonishingly detailed and brilliant arrangements, heartrendingly beautiful strings, bold brass stabs and the pleading falsetto of Curtis, who deftly educates us like a preacher about the realities and meanings of life. Plus, there is some absolutely banging conga playing throughout and there’s literally bugger all of that on Titanic, so you can stick Celine Dion and the rest up your arse.

9. Trainspotting

Now this, this, is a soundtrack. It’s so good that the sequel basically didn’t even bother to get new tracks, it just reused the ones from the first time round (to be fair, the same could be said about the film itself but we digress). This is a peerless selection of stone-cold bangers from start to finish. ‘Lust For Life’, ‘Perfect Day’, ‘Born Slippy .NUXX’ – a song so perfect it makes grown men cry because it reminds them of the drugs and nights out that they are now no longer physically able to handle, but god wasn’t it good while it lasted? Come on guys, we can still do it, one last bender to Ibiza yeah? Oh we’ve got to find a babysitter first of course… and there’s the golfing weekend we’ve already booked, OK maybe next year then – cuts from Elastica, Pulp, Sleeper, Blur and Primal Scream and it’s got the best New Order song, ‘Temptation’. Now, fine, nearly all these songs all existed before the movie, but the use of them was so perfect that it’s impossible to hear ‘Lust For Life’ or ‘Perfect Day’ – which had both already done, how shall we put it, pretty well – without thinking of the film. And smack. Delicious, delicious smack.

8. Saturday Night Fever

Before we go on, we can’t believe this didn’t make it in, even accounting for the idiots who clearly did the voting. Because even if you’re an idiot and someone says ‘great movie soundtracks’ your instinctive reaction should be Saturday Night Fever, because everyone knows it’s great. But no. The people of Britain appear to have been so lobotomised that even this reflex – like breathing – appears to be beyond them. Anyway, what more is there to say about this? It’s the sound of the Bee Gees – an act that should, by any measure, be absolutely absurd – three blokes singing in falsetto, one of whom looks like a lion? Do me a favour mate – but which actually turns out to be one the greatest musical ideas since John Lennon and Paul McCartney thought it might be an idea to put a band together – on the greatest form of their career, just smashing out tune after tune, six in total, that will, all six of them, still be played long after everyone who voted in this poll will be – deservedly – dead and gone. And you’ve got ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’, ‘Night on Disco Mountain’ and ‘Disco motherfucking Inferno’. What more do you bastards want, blood?

7. Pulp Fiction

Basically, every Tarantino soundtrack is better than everything on that godforsaken list which we’re trying to get out of heads right now. So we could just fill eight of the spots on this list with his eight movies. But we’re good to you at ShortList and we will provide more than that, because we’re generous, generous people. The best one? We’ll just about go with Pulp Fiction, with a stunning collection of lost classics (‘Misirlou’ by Dick Dale & His Del-Tones), forgotten gems (Kool & The Gang’s ‘Jungle Boogie’) and evergreen masterpieces (Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’). Although you’ve got to give Reservoir Dogs a shout out – can anyone truly say they’ve ever listened to ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ and not felt a tingle of panic in their right ear?

6. Top Gun

A high octane movie (and it’s definitely a movie) with a high octane soundtrack to match, this is just stacked with raging, rip-roaring bangers. Kenny Loggins, like a jet engine, is on fire – contributing ‘Danger Zone’ – a song which should be the American National Anthem - and ‘Playing With The Boys’ (yes, the one that soundtracks that definitely macho and definitely not gay volleyball and shower scene). Meanwhile, you’ve got ‘Take My Breath Away’, aka probably the best synth bassline in history, as well as the majestic Faltermeyer-assisted ‘Top Gun Anthem’. The Titanic soundtrack is the sound of a boat sinking, this is the soundtrack of fighter pilots cruising through the air whilst being arrogant and wearing really cool jackets and shades. Which do you really want?

5. Straight Outta Compton

Musically, this is basically the polar opposite of Titanic isn’t it? Which means this is brilliant and that isn’t. A potted history of an astonishingly inventive and brilliant period of hip-hop, together with some of the soul and funk tracks that inspired it, this is just banger after banger after banger. N.W.A’s greatest hits, some fruity Parliament brilliance, a funky Funkadelic epic, some Roy Ayers soul, Ice Cube and Eazy-E solo cuts, and then ‘Nuthin But a G Thang’ to round things off. Lord of the Rings? If Bilbo Baggins dares to disagree with us then Dre will pop a cap in his ass. Little bitch.

4. 24 Hour Party People

Look, it was one of the greatest periods in music history, and it’s a film about it. Of course it’s going to be brilliant isn’t it? Literally every song on this is amazing, beginning with ‘Anarchy in the UK’ from that Sex Pistols Free Trade Hall gig which kicked the whole thing off and ending with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, via the best of Joy Division, Happy Mondays, New Order and a few acid house classics thrown in for good measure. Our only criticism: would it have hurt to put some Simply Red in there? Mick Hucknall was at that gig after all.

3. The Lion King

Straight away, from the ‘ARSENE WENGER’ in the first two seconds of the soundtrack, it’s got you by the jaffers. And from that point on, there’s simply no let up as King John treats us to tune after tune. ‘Circle of Life’? Amazing. ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’? Amazing. ‘Hakuna Matata’? Amazing. ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’ Jesus, stop it guys, you’re spoiling us. Chuck in some classic Zimmer score (yeah OK, we were a bit harsh about him earlier, sorry Hans) and what have you got? Absolute genius that the British public, in their infinite wisdom stupidity, have chosen to ignore. Mufasa dying was your fault guys. It was your fault. You deserved it. You idiots.

2. Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels

It’s got a load of clips from the film – a little scouser being a smart-arse about a shotgun being shot-down by a man with a voice so bassy it makes Barry White shit himself – and music from James Brown (twice!), Dusty Springfield, and the Stooges plus Ocean Colour Scene going full ‘90s car-chase with ‘Hundred Mile High City’ and E. Z. Rollers dropping damage with the subbass and breaks on ‘Walk This Land’. It’s a Tarantino rip-off in the absolute best way possible, and just as good as any soundtrack ol’ Homage McFootfetish has ever released.

1. Jurassic Park

Right, let’s get this straight. This is the best. The 30-second ‘Opening Titles’ track alone would net it the prize, John Williams just casually tossing off a piece of tension-filled genius which most people will spend their entire careers trying to match and not even come within the same light year of doing so. But forget that, we all know what this is about. This is about not one, but two of the greatest music riffs in history within the same track (‘Welcome to Jurassic Park’). It’s like if Led Zep and Metallica had got together and Jimmy Page said, “d’you what, we don’t think ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is finished, have you guys got anything else you can chuck in the mix?” And James Hetfield said “sure, we’ve got this track we’ve been working on called ‘Enter Sandman’ but we’re not sure it’s good enough as it is either, why don’t we put them together and that might turn them from being 3/10 tracks to maybe a 7 if we’re lucky.” Which riffs? Oh don’t pretend you don’t know.

Da-da-daaa-daaa-daaa, da-da-daaaa-daaaa-daaaa and

Ba-baaa, ba-baaa, ba-da-daaa-da-da-da-daaaaa

Don’t pretend you’re not singing them now. And don’t pretend the hairs on the back of your neck are not standing up while you’re doing it. And don’t pretend you’re not seeing the image of those dinosaurs by the lake and remembering the sheer joy and wonder you felt when you first saw that scene, and every time you’ve ever seen it since because the feeling doesn’t diminish, it gets stronger because the music is just so goddamn beautiful and evocative and perfect.

And that’s why it’s the best.

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