In the movie world, there’s no name more recognizable right now than A24. Since its first release in 2013, A24 has helped distribute more than 100 films, producing many of them along the way. These movies have won Oscars, won rave reviews, and captured the minds and hearts of audiences.
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Another staple of A24 movies is killer soundtracks. The company’s projects are meticulously crafted, and the music is no exception. We’ve rounded up 15 of the best A24 soundtracks to celebrate the sounds that make these movies stand out.
LockeThe soundtrack of must do a lot of work, given that the film is entirely Tom Hardy having phone conversations in a car. Composer Dickon Hinchliffe is up to the task, however, imbuing each track with the corresponding emotion for Hardy’s calls. Some are heartbreaking and solemn (“Confession”), while others are grim and menacing (“Happy Day In Hell”). It’s a soundtrack’s job to support the emotion of a film, and with such emphasis on human relationships, LockeThe soundtrack more than delivers.
Who better to score a film celebrating the skate scene and youth culture of the 1990s than Trent Reznor, one of the most influential artists of the decade? In the same way Atticus Ross, Reznor has created a soundtrack that will take any 90s kid back to their youth. The familiar thud of the lower registers is there, providing a sense of urgency and dynamism. Hardly anyone does simple piano chords in sheet music as well as Reznor and Ross, and in Mid 90s, these chords fully bring home a sense of childhood adventure.
While A24 films span genres, horror releases are some of its most renowned films. Hereditary is one of the scariest movies in recent memory, and Colin Stetson’s soundtrack plays a big part. Stetson’s score is jarring and jarring, emphasizing the pain and terror that occurs on screen. “Party, Crash”, which plays during this scene, crescendos violently until the climax, and the sudden cut at the end is brilliant.
A24’s first Oscar winner also boasts some of the best music in the business. As Ex-Machina reflects on the issue of AI and our own relationship to technology, Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow create a score built on many synths. The pulsating music combined with the movement of the strings captures the intersection of the artificial and the real while being intimate enough to reflect moments of true connection.
lady bird is a force of nature on all fronts, from the performance of Saoirse Ronan to the writing and direction of Greta Gerwig. Jon BrionThe music for is no different, capturing Lady Bird’s quest to define herself in her acoustic guitar-based melodies. The use of horns adds lots of texture and nuance, making each track feel alive and cozy. The recurring motifs on the various tracks titled around the concept of hope provide a compelling guideline to both the film and the music.
Of all the soundtracks on this list, the one Anna Meredith designed for Eigth year is the most fun. In almost every synth and key, the music vibrates with the nervous energy that main character Kayla feels towards the future. At the same time, the clean tones and fast tempo still contain a sense of wonder and openness pointing to a future full of possibilities. A24 has always valued distinct styles, and this soundtrack shines in that regard.
Another horror entry, The witchThe soundtrack of understands that in many cases, less is more. A few strange strings here, a few unsettling clicks there, and suddenly composer Mark Korven makes the audience’s skin crawl. As the horror increases and the fear of the unknown sets in, the tracks become more manic, less confined, and far more likely to cause some discomfort to satisfying effect. The inclusion of several folk songs in the traditional style of the film period is also a nice touch to immerse listeners in the eerie woods of New England.
Morris of America
Another amazing coming of age movie from A24, Morris of America follows the titular character trying to find their place in the world and in the music. Morris’ journey is fueled by hip-hop, and Keegan DeWitt’s soundtrack incorporates plenty of incredible drumming. Where the soundtrack fully shines is in the combination of hip-hop beats and EDM production, signifying a coming together of cultures. Musician Jay Stone is also on hand to provide several verses, all top notch.
In his heart, Uncut Gems is a film about addiction, and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) understood this deeply when creating the film’s soundtrack. Using synths that shimmer and shine as much as Howard’s jewels, the soundtrack oscillates between searing euphoria and melancholy rarity. Uncut Gems is also extremely stressful, which Lopatin captures with rhythmic tunes that are as sonically dense as possible to reflect the film’s heated arguments and family drama.
While many other soundtracks here make good use of repetitive musical patterns, none do it quite like the Best Picture winner. Moonlight. At each stage of Chiron’s life, composer Nicholas Britell introduces a new musical theme for the character. This theme runs through the rest of the music at every phase of the film, reflecting Chiron’s journey on himself. It’s a beautiful use of music to advance a film’s purpose, and the loving orchestral arrangements are incredibly moving.
It’s no surprise that a documentary about one of the most gifted artists of the 21st century has spectacular music. Amy Winehouse has released countless incredible live performances and songs throughout his short life and career, and some of the best are here, including live versions of “Rehab” and “What Is It About Men.” The original music composed by Antonio Pinto is suitably subdued, gently emphasizing the triumphs and devastations of Winehouse’s life.
Everything everywhere all at once
It might be a bit of recency bias, but A24’s highest-grossing film also boasts one of the best soundtracks. Everything everywhere all at once is chaotic, funny and action-packed, and Son Lux’s brand of quirky experimentation is the perfect choice to mark the film. “Sucked Into A Bagel” captures the beauty of this soundtrack, with the humorous subject matter paired with expansive, resonant sound with just a pinch of distortion to spice things up.
minari deservedly received a slew of Oscar nominations after its release, including for Best Original Score. Emile Mosseri’s music is hushed and intimate during the scenes between the Yi family, signifying the bonds they weave with each other. In other spots, including beautifully sung “Rain Song” and “Wind Song,” the music soars with the beauty of the natural world and the life cycle of plants that support and nurture the characters both physically and spiritually.
Swiss army man
Swiss army man is shamelessly weird. Andy Hull and Robert McDowell understand this and embrace it, and the result is a delightfully quirky soundtrack. Actors Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are sung on the soundtrack, reinforcing the closeness of the characters in the film. In a movie that speaks so strongly about human relationships and what it means to be in a relationship with someone else, the major use of voice on this soundtrack is a brilliant decision that sets it apart.
Sure, green room at the top of the list. A film about a punk band fighting to survive against a group of neo-Nazis demands a great soundtrack, which Brooke and Will Blair provide entirely. The punk tunes of fictional band The Ain’t Rights are satisfyingly catchy and grimy, making good use of the actor’s intense training for the roles. The rest of the score is dark, brooding and gripping, befitting a film that is brutal and unwavering in its violence. A score should match its film, and no A24 score matches better than that of green room.