Top 13 '90s Movie Soundtracks

For this week's Ranked!, we decided to follow up last week's look at the best movie soundtracks from the 1980s with our favorite '90s movie soundtracks. Did your favorite make our cut? Take a look!

13. Can't Hardly Wait
12. Batman Forever
11. The Commitments
10. Forrest Gump
9. Empire Records
8. Hackers
7. Trainspotting

6. The Crow
I'm having a hard time putting my finger on exactly why I loved the soundtrack from The Crow so much. If I were pressed, which I am since I'm writing this, I would say I this album and my enjoyment of it had less to do with the individual songs and more to do with the experience as a whole. The Crow was more than the sum of its parts and yet, taken individually, doesn't stand up as much as other albums of the era. But it captured the feeling of that point in time so perfectly, it's practically a time capsule.

See what I mean? Hard to explain.

Sure, I still like to listen to Nine Inch Nails' cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" and "Burn" by The Cure. "Big Empty" by Stone Temple Pilots remains to this day one of my favorite songs from that band and Jane Siberry's "It Can't Rain All The Time" might be the only song I've ever really dug that featured so much of the spoken word. There were some killer tracks to be found on The Crow, but taken individually, most of the songs don't hold up today. They simply never became superstars. Case in point, are you humming Rage Against the Machine's "Darkness?" I doubt it. However, put them together with the other songs from the album and combine with the movie, the mystery surrounding the untimely death of actor Jason Brandon Lee, the graphic novels (which I devoured before the movie came out), and the timing of its release.,and you've got a dark, seething, pulsing monster of an album.

The album, the graphic novel, and the movie are all complex creatures. Did the original songs inspire the graphic novel? Seems like it. Did the movie inspire the songs? Seems like it. Was the timing ripe for all of it? In 1994? Absolutely.

Don't know what I'm talking about? You obviously weren't paying attention then. Go download the album, watch the movie, and pretend you're back in the mid '90s. You might want to turn the lights down really low and dress yourself in black first. It helps, trust me. --Tania

5. Pump Up The Volume
"Everybody knows the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed."

Here's a quick fact for you: I bought the Pump Up The Volume soundtrack before I saw the movie. True. I was stationed in Germany at the time and newly released movies were few and far between for us. But I knew that I would love the movie based solely on the music. Pump Up The Volume is certainly in my Top Five soundtracks. More accurately, it holds the #2 spot behind Pretty In Pink. And, in all honesty, depending on my mood, those two spots are fluid. I like them both because they compile what it was that I was listening to at the time - sort of a greatest hits of my life. A soundtrack to my life as it were. But the best thing about both discs is they were decidedly not mainstream; they epitomize alternative when the label actually had meaning.

If you haven't seen Pump Up The Volume, run out and get it now because I'm not here to provide a review or synopsis of the movie. And if you don't have this soundtrack, why not? Concrete Blonde, Peter Murphy, The Pixies, Henry Rollins and Bad Brains, Above the Law: the tracks cover everything from soul to punk to hip-hop. Cynicism, rebellion, upheaval, love: all are addressed in song. What sets this disc apart from some other soundtracks is that the tunes chosen are used as props, allowing for characters to interact with the music, not just set a mood. Each track has a specific role in the movie and has been chosen to add depth to that particular scene through the music and lyrics. And isn't that how we really use music? How we listen to it? Pump Up The Volume is the mixtape I would have made 20 years ago if someone asked, "Tell us a little bit about yourself." --Mr. Big Dubya

4. Reality Bites
Reality Bites is one of my very favorite movies. I'm not sure why I didn't list it in my bio other than sometimes I'm an idiot, but that really has nothing to do with this. This movie, along with its soundtrack, came along just as I was in a similar place in my life: moving out on my own and navigating the world as a supposed grown-up. But when you're in your early twenties you're mostly not grown up. We screw up. We make our fumbling way and we listen to songs full of angst. Reality Bites was the '90s version of The Breakfast Club or St. Elmo's Fire. Angst and great songs. I defy you to hear "My Sharona" (especially while in a gas station) and not feel the urge to hop around crazily. No? Just me? One of my favorite tracks on the album is "Tempted." I drove around many times in college belting, "There's no other! Tempted by the fruit of another!" I didn't have a boyfriend at the time so I don't know what I was belting that for, but it sure is a catchy tune. Every time I hear U2's All I Want Is You, I feel the longing and emotion from the movie, from my own life when I was wishing for someone to love me back. Dang. Now I'm all verklempt.

I do have to say that the first time I saw the movie and also when I first bought the soundtrack I thought Ethan Hawke was a TERRIBLE singer. I was horrified that "I'm Nuthin'" was on the soundtrack, but later even that song grew on me. Guess I can be worn down after a few hundred listens. --Heather

3. Pulp Fiction
In a dusty cardboard box stored in a closet in my bedroom is a very old, very scratched copy of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. The jewel case is cracked in several places and has turned grey from scratches; the disc itself is so banged up it starts skipping midway through Jules and Vincent's "Royale With Cheese" and doesn't stop until "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon." I just can't bring myself to throw it out, despite the fact that it hardly plays anymore, because of what it represents: one of the best movies I've ever seen, set to some of the best music I've ever heard. The Pulp Fiction soundtrack is a symbol of some of the best years of my life.

Pulp Fiction is an all-around awesome movie, and that fact that it's got such a great soundtrack to go with it is just the icing on the cake. It's one I know by heart, note for note, word for word. For a long time in college, the greeting on my answering machine was the "Bring Out the Gimp" dialogue. I had to share that gleaming quote of awesome with everyone who called me, I just HAD to. That soundtrack went everywhere with me; it was on heavy rotation in my CD player for years. The only reason why it's not anymore is because it's now on heavy rotation on my iPod, instead.

Like the movie, the Pulp Fiction soundtrack is cool. It's sleek and sexy, dangerous and eclectic. It's a brilliant mix of sounds put together against a very surf-rock, soulful backdrop, and the result is one bangin', bitchin', timeless compilation. --Mamatulip

2. Singles
Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mudhoney... are you kidding me? The movie Singles gave a glimpse into the Seattle grunge scene before most people knew what grunge was, plunging you into a life of overcast days and nights of bands with sounds too loud for the tiny clubs they were playing in. And the soundtrack followed up with an instant education in some of the greatest grunge groups around, right before they got mainstream recognition. How hipster is that?! The Singles soundtrack validated every plaid shirt, pair of boots, and slouchy sweater you had in your closet. But rather than being a continuous stream of grunge the entire album, there was also the infectious pop of Paul Westerberg (admit it, you're humming "Dsylexic Heart" right now) and nods to the classic greats, Hendrix & Page. The album illuminated a new and unique scene but also rounded out its edges. Couple that with the movie, it took it out of the realm of whiny teen angst fare and into the world of grownups. Listening to that album instantly added some sophistication to your disaffected, hipster youth. Singles was hardcore and coffee shops rolled into one. --The Weirdgirl

1. Grosse Pointe Blank
Grosse Pointe Blank's soundtrack isn't just background music. It's actually a supporting character in the film. Grosse Pointe Blank's music was so awesome, it couldn't be contained by just one soundtrack. Less than seven months after Grosse Pointe Blank was released, Volume 2 hit the shelves.

Check out the artists featured on the original soundtrack: The Who's Pete Townshend, David Bowie, Queen, The Clash, and Guns N' Roses. It's like an entire wing of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame! But the album also contained Violent Femmes, pre-Mike Patton Faith No More, The Specials, The Jam, The English Beat, and others.

It's not surprising the soundtrack is so great given the fact that one of the movie's main characters is a DJ. The music sets the mood and contributes to the scenes in Grosse Pointe Blank almost like no other movie. Guns N' Roses' "Live And Let Die" plays as Cusack pulls up to the site of his boyhood home. When he discovers a quickie mart instead of his old house, he enters the store and "Live And Let Die" cleverly switches to the Muzak version. It's moments like this that make this movie and soundtrack a must for any music fan.

But the best musical scene in the movie is Cusack's Shakabuku moment with the baby, set to the tune of Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure." --Chag

We showed you ours, now show us yours! What was your favorite soundtrack from the 1990s?

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