Our Ten Best: Songs for Any Soundtrack

You’ve thought about it. You’re watching your favorite show or a really great movie and the music that is supposed to heighten the moment leaves you flat. Whether it’s DMX’s “Up In Here” or Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” you believe that you can fill that moment with a song that completely fits. Better still what if you had to create a playlist to emphasize a mood or manipulate heartstrings? Here are ten tracks that can fill those spaces.

“Carry On Wayward Son” – Kansas

Kansas? Yes. Originally peaking in the top 20 thirty-three years ago, the band was catapulted back into the consciousness of fans of the show “Supernatural” where it has been used to review the highlights of the previous episodes for nearly five years. Kansas created a song that speaks of a never-ending journey. Whether it’s battling physical demons or your own, it’s a track that will enrich a scene.

“Oh Death” – R.I.S.E. Rising Appalachia

Yes the “Supernatural” theme comes back as this was the horseman Death’s theme song this past season. It made the actor who played him unimaginably frightening. Imagine a man in a black suit with a haunting melody and the lyrics “When God is gone and the Devil takes hold/who will have mercy on your soul?” Initially this song is one of mourning and its origins are Appalachian in nature making it versatile for nearly any situation.

“Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You” – Madonna

Whatever you think of Madonna she has a vast repertoire of tracks that will speak to you. However the lyrics in this 2008 song from the Hard Candy album in particular will resonate with you whatever situation you’re in. It talks about “even [if] the Devil wouldn’t recognize you” the protagonist does. It’s about the type of person that pushes your buttons and you know that they’re bad for you, but you’re continually drawn to him/her. It’s a deep thought-provoking song that makes you remember why Madonna has at least three volumes of greatest hits albums.

“Run This Town” Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West

“Who’s gonna run this town tonight?” You are and why not? At least that’s what any wanna-be superhero or badass may be thinking. From the Blueprint 3 album Jay-Z in collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West created an anthem for your inner warrior. Clever lyrics, a hook and a tight melody make this a complete song that will renew your spirit or give you an influx of arrogance that cannot be measured.

“God’s Gonna Cut You Down” – Johnny Cash

No album would be complete without a song from Johnny Cash. From the album American V: A Hundred Highways, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is the theme song for your hero or that person who you don’t quite know what their intentions are. “Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter, sooner or later God’ll cut you down” are lyrics that will give you goose bumps. Another thing that makes this song perfect soundtrack material is its complexity in emotions given through a stripped down melody and straight forward lyrics. Although it has been recorded by several artists through its nearly 60 year history, it is Cash’s rendition that far exceeds any other version.

“So What” – Pink

You can’t have a soundtrack without a total rock out song and Pink can definitely provide that in “So What.” Who else could come up with the lyrics “and you’re a tool” and two lines later lament how the one she loved wasn’t there for her. And an emotional roller coaster track is what a movie needs.

“Motherless Child” – John Legend

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child/sometimes I feel like a fatherless child.” Sung by John Legend from the Hope for Haiti album “Motherless Child” is a heartbreaking rendition. For that character who is totally lost and gives you permission to bawl your eyes out in the theater, this song is it.

“Stupid Girls” – Pink

They’re out there “dancing next to 50 Cent” and they must be stopped. For that fed up character who wants to obliterate every dumb acting person out there even if it’s in their mind this is their song.

“Reminder” – Jay-Z

You know those shots where people are walking in slow motion, trying to look cool, but come off as dorky. This camera angle has been overdone to death, but give it a jolt of Jay-Z and the five protagonists emerging out of the wreckage of an amazing action scene will look like the coolest people on the planet “remember me, silver bullet hard top mentally/they think I’m out of shape so I have to jog their memory…think I have to send you a reminder/here it is…”

“Look Who’s Dancing” – Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers

Your favorite characters have survived, some might have died, but now it’s time to celebrate and perhaps look forward to a sequel. That’s where reggae icons Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers come in. From their album One Bright Day, Marley and his troupe created a melodic, rhythmic sound with a strong message. The tone is upbeat and the rhymes and lyrics are tight creating a song that will have you clamoring to see that film again.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 634 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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