The best soundtracks to Psychedelic movies
As psychedelic as you can get!
Now, you know our taste in music here at It’s Psychedelic Baby, but do you have any idea what kinds of movies we like? We’ll give you a clue—the genre starts with ‘psy-,’ and, no, it’s not ‘psychological thrillers’ (good guess, though). No, we like nothing more than a good old-fashioned mind-melting psychedelic movie. Think Willy Wonka (the original, of course), but with more boat scenes.
So, today we thought we’d take a slight change of direction from our usual best-ever-type lists and talk about our favourite soundtracks to psychedelic movies. The music doesn’t have to be psychedelic, but the movie certainly does.
Requiem for a Dream
One of the most underrated movies of the last 25 years, this Darren Aronofsky-directed flick explores the inner psyche of people desperate to connect with others. Clint Mansell composed the original score, which takes us through an emotional rollercoaster of mood swings that’s perfectly in tandem with the movie’s parallel storylines.
Although some tracks are quite short (it’s a movie soundtrack, after all), it’s well worth a listen, even if you haven’t seen the movie itself.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Now, there have been many movies that have featured casinos throughout history, but when it comes to those of a psychedelic nature, there’s one clear winner: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Now, as for the movie itself, it’s undoubtedly one that divides opinion. You either love it, or you hate it, but the soundtrack is pretty epic.
From the jazzy tones of Elmer Bernstein to the classic feel-good vibes of Tom Jones, to say that this collection of music is a tad eclectic would be a major understatement. Give it a listen and expect to hit the entire spectrum of moods, from the first track to the last.
As far as soundtracks on this list go, this is one of the most famous. Who hasn’t sat and listened to this during their college days? Regardless of the fact that the movie is one of the most popular of all time, the soundtrack (like many of Tarantino’s) is just as popular as the flick itself.
From Steppenwolf’s classic rock tune ‘Born to be Wild’ to the surprisingly-trippy ‘Wasn’t Born to Follow’ by the Byrds, this is a soundtrack that will undoubtedly have at least one track you love and one that you might even go so far as to hate. All the same, everything somehow fits together.
The original Suspiria is a cult classic, and if you haven’t seen it, then we suggest you do so now. It’s horror with a psychedelic twist that verges on the surreal (yes, it’s possible to be surreal in a horror flick). And as for the soundtrack? It’s immense.
Recorded by Italian band Goblin (yes!), the soundtrack is everything you expect from a 70s horror movie score. With screams, wails, whimpers, thunderous crashes, and some haunting melodies thrown in for good measure, this is the horror soundtrack of the ages. We suggest you don’t listen to this in bed alone unless you want nightmares for months after.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The infamous white room
An all-time classic and one of the most ground-breaking movies ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey, has the soundtrack to match. As with many sci-fi blockbusters, it’s all strings and wind instruments, but in not opting for an original score, Stanley Kubrick showed us that classical music could quite literally be used in any movie.
The interesting thing about this soundtrack is that, to truly appreciate its power, you really have to listen to each piece in the context of the scene it was chosen for. On its own, it’s a collection of orchestral masterpieces, but when combined with Kubrick’s cinematographic genius, it’s the most mind-bendingly magnificent soundtrack of all time.
Honorable mentions go to Enter the Void (for being so wonderfully psychedelic in every possible way) and The Doors (for being… well, The Doors). There are, of course, others, and perhaps many that we have yet to see, but as far as we can tell, these are the best. Care to disagree? Then let us know what your favourite psychedelic movie soundtracks are, but remember, the movie has to be a real mind-bender from start to finish.