General News

BEST OF: 20 Stunning Soundtracks for 1999

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Aug 15, 2001 | 9:04am EDT

What do the Golden Globes know anyway? Last week, voters nominated John Williams' underwhelming "Angela's Ashes" at the expense of his more stirring work for "Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace." And what of Marc Shaiman's brilliant satire of the musical theater, in the form of "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut"? Snubbed.

Well, we're here to set things right.

Which soundtracks broke new ground, broke our hearts and broke down barriers with crossover potential? Read on for our list of the Top 20 soundtracks of 1999:

20. "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "More Music from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," "Pokémon: The First Movie" -- No, we weren't very impressed with the contents of these best-selling albums, just the marketing savvy behind them.

19. "Guinevere" -- While most guys would buy this CD for Sarah Polley's cover photo alone, Christophe Beck's music combined with Thelonius Monk is a wonderfully eclectic combination.

18. "Outside Providence" -- Do you like '70s classic rock? Then you'll dig this soundtrack. A fantastic compilation of tunes by the likes of Yes, The Who and The Eagles.

17. "Dogma" -- Howard Shore's apocalyptic musical imagery conveys both the demonic and angelic moods of the hilarious and controversial film.

16. "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" -- This HBO movie (starring Halle Berry) proves that the much-maligned tube can offer great music. One of the best big-band soundtracks available.

15. "The General's Daughter" -- Carter Burwell composes a moving score, including some reworkings of old Negro spirituals from the Library of Congress.

14. "Entrapment" -- Composer Chris Young takes you from Scottish castles to Malaysian street markets. A very enjoyable trip.

13. "The Mummy" / "The 13th Warrior" -- While these two movies were quite different, the scores weren't. Veteran (and prolific) tunesmith Jerry Goldsmith composed these scores within months of each other, and you can hear the similarities. Copycat syndrome or not, they're still excellent soundtracks.

12. "Sleepy Hollow" -- Danny Elfman ("Batman") strikes again! While we all knew this score would be brooding, dark and ominous, the pleasant surprise was how original the music was while maintaining Elfman's easily identifiable style.

11. "Toy Story 2" -- If you didn't cry during Sarah McLachlan's "When She Loved Me," you have no heart. The opening score track "Zurg's Planet" is pure science-fiction fun. It's just one of Randy Newman's enjoyable selections.

10. "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" -- This soundtrack is worth it for track 26 alone: "Angelus in Medio Ignis." Go choir, go!

9. "For Love of the Game" -- Basil Poledouris presents a wonderful palette of colors and emotions with this score. You can really feel the game's tense focus when the electric guitar starts to growl! Buy the Varèse Sarabande CD and skip MCA's generic song-filled soundtrack.

8. "The Cider House Rules" -- One of the most romantic, poignant scores of the decade. A perfect companion to a beautiful movie.

7. "Mickey Blue Eyes" -- While the movie may not have set any box-office records, the soundtrack is a real winner. The CD features an eclectic mix of music, from Basil Poledouris' Italian-influenced score to up-tempo oldies by Rosemary Clooney and Louis Prima.

6. "Deep Blue Sea" -- Trevor Rabin's main theme to this summer sleeper reminds us how well he can write. Don't confuse this score CD on Varèse Sarabande to the horrible Warner Bros. rap soundtrack.

5. "Tarzan" -- Phil Collins and Mark Mancina combine their talents to create an invigorating, uplifting score. The vocals are unforgettable, and the percussion will make you want to swing from the trees in your back yard.

4. "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" -- This introspective look into the subconscious desires of the youthful psyche provides a gloriously uplifting foundation on which to build our hopes for world peace. Marc Shaiman's exquisite contributions elevate the music to a level not heard since ... umm ... since Beavis & Butthead?

3. "Princess Mononoke" -- Encompassing a wide range of style and melody, Joe Hisaishi's score brings us the wonder and mystery of an animated world filled with demons, gods and magic. Enthralling.

2. "Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace" -- While John Williams' prequel score doesn't quite equal the timelessness of the original 1977 film or its 1980 follow-up, "The Empire Strikes Back," it succeeds admirably on its own terms.

1. "Anna and the King" -- Graham Ravell's score to this just-released film encompasses all the grandeur, optimism and melody that we come to expect of an ambitious movie such as this. A wonderful achievement.

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