The last of the round 2 polls are ready for your decisions to be made. To vote on any of the other 3 quadrants, here are some links:
Remember, your votes are for the soundtrack album and not the movie. Also fair warning: this could get messy!
And so it begins with a bang. If you grew up listening to musicals, it’s pretty likely that both of these albums were apart of your childhood. I only have a small handful of soundtracks on vinyl, but West Side Story and The Sound of Music are certainly a couple of them.
This particular match-up might be more of a split between subcultures, but something tells me it will still be a tricky choice for many. The Blues Brothers are the SNL cast members covering 60’s soul, while Moulin Rouge has the hollywood stars covering 70’s and 80’s classics. The choice is up to you.
Grease was able to knock out the beloved Mary Poppins, so it is not something to underestimate. O Brother eliminated Frozen, which may not seem like that big of a deal, except that there are a lot of parents voting that love that ridiculous stuff. Both soundtracks use their music to remind of us of a particular time period, and do what they do very well.
John Williams’ Catch Me If You Can is the only 16th seed that made it past the first round, and it is full of super catchy saxophone lines, so I’m a fan. Psycho has a drastically different feel, keeping you on the edge of your seat with or without visuals. What’ll it be?
This is a great matchup. Another John Williams’ masterpiece in Star Wars goes up against the dark and synth heavy Blade Runner. Both are full of great music, and although both contain some iconic themes, somehow I’ve found neither of these albums too distracting while attempting to work at home.
This would be a tough competition even if it were only between the two theme songs, “Gabriel’s Oboe,” from The Mission and “The Pink Panther Theme,” from The Pink Panther. Both soundtracks tease out their theme songs with songs that hold down a pretty consistent sound and style. At risk of showing my cards, I’d be happy for either of these albums to make it to the final 4.
This matchup contains two underdogs that beat out Drive and The Piano to be here. Gone With the Wind is a dynamic, emotional orchestral soundtrack with a flare for the dramatic. So is Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire, now that I think about it, though it was composed mostly electronically, and is not quite as brash.
If you haven’t yet voted for the other brackets, links are below!
It’s time to continue voting in round 2 of the Featured Artist bracket! These are soundtracks that heavily feature songs performed by one particular artist or band. It’s up to you to choose the four albums you’d like to see in the Sweet 16 next week. Please remember that your votes are for the Soundtrack album, and not the movie. Good luck, and vote responsibly!
I doubt this match-up is any surprise to anyone following the brackets. As popular as the soundtrack for Rushmore may be, it was no match against The Beatles’ Help! And Very few albums in this bracket could offer top-seeded Purple Rain much competition… until now, I’m sure. These are both solid records from massive stars, and each is full of hits that have shaped generations.
When Magnolia beat out Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly in the first round by a single vote, we had our first great upset and surprise. Blue Hawaii was also an underdog that beat The Beatles to be here. Knowing that both albums clearly want this so bad, which one will you send to the next round?
A friend recently reminded me of a soundtrack I was obsessed with in high school that also featured a bit of Whitney. Anyone else remember Waiting to Exhale? Well, if you like The Bodyguard, go check it out. Since starting this project of listening to more soundtracks, I have to admit that Saturday Night Fever has caught me off-guard by being a far more solid album than I expected. Yes, “Stayin’ Alive” has been played out, but there are a lot more tracks to keep this in the running.
All the first round polls are closed and winners have moved on to face new challenges! Here’s the updated bracket, with the 32 remaining albums. Several more polls to vote on, but for now we’ll focus on the Compilations Quadrant in the top right. Let’s take a closer look. The number one seed of the bracket, Trainspotting, predictably moves ahead to take on a fairly similar compilation in the Trent Reznor produced Natural Born Killers. Both are dark and ecclectic mid-90’s film soundtracks that require time and energy to give a full listen to, but they’re well worth it. Each of these albums can feel like films on their own, pulling songs together that otherwise have no logical connections. If you’re a big fan of either of these soundtracks, I’d also recommend Velvet Goldmine for Trainspotting fans, and The Big Lebowski for NBK fans. But before you go do that, you should make a choice.
Fifth-seed Pretty in Pink has already beat out one ode to the 1960’s in Stand By Me, but now faces the Motown-heavy contender, The Big Chill. The 12th seed may be technically the underdog here, but is full of some of the most well-known classics branded as the “music of a generation.” Then again, Pretty in Pink could just as easily be described as the music of a generation: one of shoulder pads, big hair, and great accessories. Now that the 80’s is considered retro, this is going to be a tricky decision.
Both Juice and Romeo + Juliet were victorious underdogs in round one, and I was so not-so-secretly happy to see them upset the higher seeded American Graffiti and Garden State respectively. Each is a well crafted album full of popular artists from different times and contexts meant to set a tone more than create hits (though both are full of some fantastic hit tracks too).
It seems rather appropriate that two Tarantino film soundtracks would match up in this bracket. Both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were favoured in the first round, and are very much in the same style of juxtaposing cheerful tracks with explicit and often violent film dialogue, giving the soundtracks a feel that is consistent with the movies themselves. These are quite easily two of the best examples of this style of soundtrack, and I expect this will be a relatively close race.
Before we begin to vote, a brief caveat is necessary. You might have already noticed that not all the soundtracks in this bracket are strictly musicals. Classic musicals are here in this bracket, along with films that feature songs actually sung by cast members as part of the plot. Albums in this bracket are all made up of songs performed and recorded by the bulk of the film’s cast. Although this means that the songs are even more tied up with the characters that sing them, please remember to vote for the soundtrack itself, and not for the movie, as difficult as it may be to make that distinction.
West Side Story (1) vs. Once (16)
I’m sorry. And the choices do not get any easier from here. With Shakespeare as their muse, Bernstein and Sondheim combine powers to create the album that held onto the Billboard #1 spot for the longest run in history. West Side Story goes up against one of the most beautiful collaborations of the last 10 years that has inspired a broadway musical and given the stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova (who are both musicians before they are actors) a chance to tour together as The Swell Season. I know who I will vote for, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be painful.
Sound of Music (9) vs. Singin’ In The Rain (8)
Two classics that have only grown in their popularity and influence will face off here. It has been hard for me to find a copy of Singin’ In the Rain that doesn’t rely on film clips, which could either hurt or help it depending on how people feel about the broadway style of dance. I thought I had a fair amount of nostalgia tied up with The Sound of Music, but when Julie Andrews walked on stage at the Oscars and people in the room watching with me burst into tears, I realized that some folks have an even deeper attachment. I suppose this will be one type of nostalgia against another.
Blues Brothers (5) vs. The Commitments (12)
Which group of soul-singing white men will you choose: The SNL sketch-turned-revivalist movement that drew a fan base extending way beyond the film; or a collection of covers by Irish youth, creating a fusion of two cultural souls expressing their humanity under oppression? At bare minimum, these are two great collections of reinterpreted soul songs.
Moulin Rouge (13) vs. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (4)
Moulin Rouge is what happens when a compilation soundtrack is performed by the characters. Familiar songs by Elton John, David Bowie and The Police are given a rebirth into a turn-of-the-century Parisian context. It seems somewhat appropriate that the cabaret-set Moulin Rouge goes up against Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the music from a transgender performer that has gained a massive cult following and is now back on broadway with Neil Patrick Harris as its lead.
Wizard of Oz (3) vs. Inside Llewan Davis (14)
I have no idea how to compare these two soundtracks. The Wizard of Oz Soundtrack was released in 1956, seventeen years after the film, and is as classic a musical as this bracket gets. Inside Llewyn Davis was released in 2013, making it the most recent album in the Soundtrack March Madness, though the music is mostly 60’s folk tune covers.
Wild Style (11) vs. This is Spinal Tap (6)
Wild Style is not a documentary, but it acts like a time capsule for early hip hop as both the film and soundtrack are stacked with pioneers like Fab 5 Freddy and the Cold Crush Brothers. Spinal Tap is a mockumentary with a strong cult following, and although the metal band is fictional, the album has found success as both soundtrack and satire.
Mary Poppins (7) vs. Grease (10)
Well these albums certainly hit two very different parts of my childhood, how about yours? Julie Andrews continues to have inexplicable powers over much of the world. Grease takes us back to our youth, regardless of whether we were youth in the 50’s, 70’s or 90’s.
O Brother, Where Art Thou (2) vs. Frozen (15)
Not only is Frozen the most recent album (along with Inside Llewyn Davis) in these brackets, it’s also the only soundtrack to a fully animated film. No other soundtrack in the past ten years has broken so many records both on Billboard and in sales, so it seemed appropriate to give it its chance here in March Madness as well. O Brother is a collection of traditional and modern bluegrass and country songs, many of which are performed by the Soggy Bottom Boys in the film, and it is addicting. It also heavily features Grammy darling (winner of 27 trophies!), Alison Krauss.