5 Musicians We Want to Score a Film

Music in film has been around since the dawn of motion pictures. Birthed in the form of silent film accompaniment, and grew into full orchestrated scores. Composers get to work with expensive toys and get creative on how they want to convey an emotion through the music, or highlight a beat of sorts in the scene. Of late directors have been getting creative as well, with their choice in composers. I don’t know who started the trend but the idea of having popular musicians tackle a film score sounds pretty fucking groovy. Marilyn Manson collaborated on the score for Resident Evil (bad example I know), Pink Floyd did the soundtrack for the film More, Daft Punk recently did Tron Legacy, Elton John has done two films The Lion King, and Gnomio and Juliet, Phil Collins made Tarzan into one of the most memorable latter Disney films, RZA did his own thing with Kill Bill The Man With The Iron Fists, and Bret McKenzie won an Oscar for his music in The Muppets. Now I don’t mean these following musicians should do a single original song for a film, cause we’ve seen that done hundreds of times before. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” by Three 6 Mafia, both won oscars. Original songs are usually written before the film is shot or edited and not set to fit specifically to a scene more as a cool piece to lay over some visuals or credits. Remember Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done for Transformers, or when Muse used to compose songs for each Twilight film? There are also films that use music from one artist, like Harold and Maude with Kat Stevens, The Graduate with Simon and Garfunkel, and Rocket Science with the Violent Femmes. Those are soundtracks, previously recorded music taken for use in the film. A score is music written specifically for the film. I figured I’d keep the list exclusive and include maybe what kind of film they should compose.

5. The Pixies

Could you imagine a throwback exploitation film with some rockin’ new Pixie tracks? Okay here’s the story, a female mercenary is hired to pluck a briefcase from the middle of a mob deal, she bursts through the glass ceiling with duel wielding revolvers and a katana. Then a crazy new Pixies song kicks in, a punching bass line, and Black Francis scruffy vocals shouting over some scratchy chords. Tell me you’re not feeling that! Now the Pixies sort of, kind of, broke up, but they had a reunion tour in 2011 with no plans for any tours for the future. We can still dream though, imagine if The Pixies had done the score for Deathproof or Planet Terror, or Machete?

4. Mumford & Sons

I sorta feel like a sell out for putting these guys on the list. But Olivia Wilde tweeted something about wanting to run out in the rain and kiss people to their new album. While I’m not sure I feel the same way about their second record, though their first is one anthem of folk rock after another. Could you imagine a screwball rom-com with a Mumford and Sons score. Make it sharp and witty like a Howard Hawks film, or episodic like When Harry Met Sally, then highlight those emotional beats with some stylized moody lighting, and an original Mumford and Sons song. I think we’ve got a tear jerker with this combo.

3. Serj Tankian

If you ever watched Fear Itself the half baked rebirth or Masters of Horror when it switched to network television, you’ll know that Serj Tankian’s “Lie Lie Lie” was used as the theme song. Appropriately dark, but the most interesting member of System of a Down provided a track to another soundtrack. When Batman: Arkham City was released, a number of musicians including two on this list were drafted to compose an original song. Serj Tankian’s “Total Paranoia” is an ode to the unnerving. The bass carries the melody in a minor key with Tankian’s already shady voice echoed by female vocals. Imagine an Italian horror film, or a Giallo with Tankian’s unnerving melodies. Maybe a psychological thriller, or an avant garde horror piece like Begotten. Most of Tankien’s music isn’t that dark but he’s got a taste for the ghastly.

2. Pete Townshend

Besides being the lead guitarist for The Who, Pete Townshend has been in a number of other projects, like almost being in Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, & Tich aka DDDBMT and almost making the music for The Iron Giant musical (a lot of almost), yes before the current Brad Bird version of the film The Iron Giant was a musical with music by Pete Townsend. The soundtrack was actually recorded, it’s pretty awful (probably the reason for the change), but I can’t help but wonder if Townsend had lent his hand to another children’s film, maybe one a little goofier and more fun. Like with an industrial influence, I can dig some of that. Imagine an animated kids flick about an adventure to the big city, or an animated sci-fi foreign film like Fantastic Planet.

1. Coheed and Cambria

Coheed and Cambria has released 6 studio albums (soon to be 7) that are all one over-arcing sci-fi epic. Whatever they borrow from they ten fold it. Their music is already set to tell a story with repeating themes and melodies that chime in the entrance, or return of a character emotion, memory or event. Their music is layered deeply both musically and in substance. They recently had producer Mark Whalberg pick up the comic book series written by lead singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez, upon which their studio albums are based on. They could do a killer score sci-fi epic, or an action film. Their last album Year of the Black Rainbow actually reminded me of an action film soundtrack. Their single “The Running Free” was originally submitted for the first Transformers film but was beat out by “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park. Their ballad “Wake Up” was used in Snakes on a Plane, and much to the disapointment of viewers their anthem “Welcome Home” was used only in the trailer for 9. Just Watch their music video for “The Broken” and tell me that a big budget version of that wouldn’t be amazing. They could even do a surrealist drama/sci-fi epic which is exactly the story their albums tell. These guys have a sound all their own, and from hearing their album intros, there is no hesitation in my mind that they can be theatrical.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Taylor Ramsey

    Oooh! Coheed and Cambria would be a great choice. I never would have thought of them. Nice list!

  2. Wow great choices! What about composers that produce psychedelic type of music, like Shulman or Ott! I could totally imagine them scoring a science fiction!

    • Brandon Somma

      I considered The SOund of Animals Fighting or Marconi Union for that but I figured I could always do another list.

    • Hadoken

      What about Boards of Canada? I was a music video of theirs a while back that took me on a “trip”!

  3. Getter Trumsi

    Interesting choices! I haven’t heard about most of them.. Mumford and Sons would be definitely something awesome!

  4. David Tatlow

    I hope Coheed get a chance to score any adaptation of Claudio’s comic-book work. Either that or just use their ace music.
    Serj is a great choice – he’s a really talented guy with some fantastic ideas musically.

  5. Bradley

    love the list, but an honorable mention should be The Dear Hunter (Casey Crescenzo)

  6. Neat article. I think it would be cool to see pop artists take on new roles like this. As much as pop music is criticized for its overall simplicity, it would be interesting to see the critique on pop film scores.

  7. LavenderNotebook

    I definitely agree with the Mumford & Sons point, but I’m not totally sure about their lyrics in a screwball comedy…maybe just the instrumentals for those?
    Now, especially with their newest album and transition to electric guitar and harder rock, their music could suit maybe adventurous montages or road-trip films.
    Random side note: Pink Floyd also contributed to the soundtrack of Zabriskie Point if you want to check that out.

  8. I was very satisfied to see Leighton Meester singing her songs in “Country Strong.”

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