15 of the best A24 movie soundtracks, ranked
In the world of film, there isn’t a more recognizable name right now than A24. Since its first release in 2013, A24 has had a hand in the distribution of well over 100 movies, producing many of them along the way. These movies have collected Oscars, earned glowing reviews and captured the minds and hearts of audiences.
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Another staple of A24 films is killer soundtracks. The projects the company puts out are meticulously crafted, and the music is no exception. We’ve gathered 15 of the best A24 soundtracks to celebrate the sounds that make these movies stand out.
Locke’s soundtrack has to do a lot of heavy lifting, given the film is entirely Tom Hardy having phone conversations in a car. Composer Dickon Hinchliffe is up to the task, though, imbuing each track with the corresponding emotion for Hardy’s calls. Some are heart-wrenching and solemn (“Confession”), while others are grim and menacing (“Happy Day In Hell”). It’s a soundtrack’s job to support the emotion of a film, and with such an emphasis on human relationships, Locke’s soundtrack more than delivers.
Who better to score a movie celebrating the skate scene and youth culture of the 1990s than Trent Reznor, one of the decade’s most influential artists? Along with Atticus Ross, Reznor crafted a soundtrack that will bring any ‘90s kid right back to their youth. The familiar low thrum of the lower registers is there, providing a sense of urgency and drive. Almost no one does simple piano chords in scores as well as Reznor and Ross, and in Mid90s, these chords fully bring home a sense of childhood adventure.
While A24 movies span genres, horror outings are some of its most renowned films. Hereditary is one of the scariest movies in recent memory, and the soundtrack by Colin Stetson plays a big role. Stetson’s score is jarring and discordant, underscoring the pain and terror happening on screen. “Party, Crash,” which plays during that scene, crescendos violently to the climactic moment, and the sudden cutoff at the end is brilliant.
A24’s first Oscar winner also has some of the company’s best music. As Ex Machina ponders the question of AI and our own relationship to technology, Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow craft a score built on plenty of synths. The music's pulse combined with the stir of strings captures the intersection of the artificial and real while also being intimate enough to reflect moments of genuine connection.
Lady Bird is a force of nature on all fronts, from Saoirse Ronan’s performance to Greta Gerwig’s writing and direction. Jon Brion’s music is no different, capturing Lady Bird’s quest to define herself in its acoustic guitar-based melodies. The use of horns adds plenty of texture and nuance, making each track feel lived-in and cozy. The recurring motifs on the various tracks titled around the concept of hope provide a fascinating throughline to both the movie and the music.
Of all the soundtracks on this list, the one Anna Meredith crafted for Eighth Grade is the most fun. In almost all synths and keys, the music vibrates with the nervous energy that main character Kayla feels toward the future. At the same, the bright tones and fast tempo always contain a sense of wonder and openness pointing toward a future full of possibilities. A24 has always prized distinct styles, and this soundtrack shines in that regard.
Another horror entry, The Witch’s soundtrack understands that in many cases less is more. A few eerie strings here, a few unsettling clicking sounds there, and suddenly composer Mark Korven has audiences’ skin crawling. As the horror increases and the fear of the unknown settles in, the tracks become more manic, less confined and far more likely to cause some discomfort to satisfying effect. The inclusion of several folk songs in the traditional style of the film’s time period is also a nice touch to immerse listeners into the foreboding woods of New England.
Morris From America
Another incredible coming-of-age film from A24, Morris From America follows the titular character trying to find his place in the world and in music. Morris’ journey is fueled by hip-hop, and Keegan DeWitt’s soundtrack incorporates plenty of incredible percussion. Where the soundtrack fully shines is in the combination of hip-hop beats and EDM production, signifying a gathering of cultures. Musician Jay Stone is also on hand to provide several verses, all of which are top-tier.
At its core, Uncut Gems is a film about addiction, and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) understood this deeply while crafting the film’s soundtrack. Using synths that shimmer and shine as much as Howard’s jewelry, the soundtrack fluctuates between soaring euphoria and melancholy sparseness. Uncut Gems is also extremely stressful, which Lopatin captures with uptempo tunes packed as sonically dense as they can get to mirror the film's heated arguments and familial drama.
While many of the other soundtracks here make good use of repeating musical motifs, none do it quite like Best Picture winner Moonlight. At each stage of Chiron’s life, composer Nicholas Britell introduces a new musical theme for the character. This theme flows through the rest of the music during each phase of the movie, mirroring the journey Chiron is on himself. It’s a beautiful use of music to further the purpose of a movie, and the loving orchestral arrangements are incredibly moving.
It’s not surprising that a documentary about one of the most gifted artists of the 21st century has spectacular music. Amy Winehouse put out countless incredible live performances and songs through her short life and career, and some of the best are here, including live versions of “Rehab” and “What Is It About Men.” The original music composed by Antonio Pinto is suitably subdued, gently accentuating the triumphs and devastations of Winehouse’s life.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
It might be a bit of recency bias, but A24’s highest-grossing movie also has one of the best soundtracks. Everything Everywhere All At Once is chaotic, funny and action-packed, and Son Lux’s brand of offbeat experimentation is the perfect choice to score the film. “Sucked Into A Bagel” captures the beauty of this soundtrack, with the humorous subject matter paired with an expansive, echoing sound with just a pinch of distortion to spice things up.
Minari rightfully received a slew of Oscar nominations after its release, including for Best Original Score. Emile Mosseri’s music is cozy and intimate during scenes between the Yi family, signifying the bonds they build with each other. In other spots, including the beautifully sung “Rain Song” and “Wind Song,” the music soars with the beauty of the natural world and the life cycle of plants that sustain and nourish the characters both physically and spiritually.
Swiss Army Man
Swiss Army Man is unapologetically weird. Andy Hull and Robert McDowell understand this and embrace it, and the result is a soundtrack that’s delightfully off-kilter. Actors Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe sing themselves on the soundtrack, enhancing the closeness of the characters in the film. In a movie that's so strongly about human connections and what it means to relate to someone else, the major use of vocals on this soundtrack is a brilliant decision that makes it stand out.
Of course, Green Room tops this list. A movie about a punk band fighting to survive against a group of Neo-Nazis is begging for a great soundtrack, which Brooke and Will Blair fully supply. The punk tunes of the fictional band the Ain’t Rights are catchy and satisfyingly grimy, utilizing the actor’s intense training for the roles to great effect. The rest of the score is dark, brooding and captivating, fitting for a movie that is brutal and unflinching in its violence. A score has to fit its movie, and no A24 score fits better than the one for Green Room.