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The year we started going to the cinema for the soundtrack

And we started listening to the albums in full again

The year we started going to the cinema for the soundtrack  And we started listening to the albums in full again

A few days ago, the new album by Billie Eilish, Hit Me Hard and Soft, was released. A project in which the American artist truly bares herself, consisting of lyrics that recount her recent relationships (the latest, public, with the lead singer of The Neighbourhood, Jessie Rutherford), her relationship with her own body, and fame. It presents contrasting and surprising sounds, an authentic signature of the singer's innovative musical approach. Even though it's not part of Hit Me Hard and Soft, it's impossible to listen to the album without thinking of What Was I Made For?, a single that the artist recorded with her brother Finneas Eilish for the blockbuster film by Greta Gerwig, Barbie. Since the film's release last July, the ballad has received surprising success among critics and listeners, earning not only an Oscar but also the title of Song of the Year at the 2023 Grammys. The last time a soundtrack song received such recognition was in 1997, with My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion for Titanic. From Travis Scott's thunder in Oppenheimer to the boldness of Murder on the Dancefloor in Saltburn and the techno beats of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Challengers, in the past year, cinema has once again focused attention on music, perhaps due to the Hollywood screenwriters' strike.


Billie performing “What Was I Made For? (From The Motion Picture Barbie)” at the 2024 GRAMMY Awards.

original sound - Billie Eilish Home

Journalist Esther Zuckerman writes for the New York Times that We're in a New Golden Age of Soundtracks, akin to the times of Shrek and indie projects like Garden State and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Despite the successes of A Star Is Born and Frozen in past years, the last time cinema had such a music-centric period was the early 2000s, before the advent of streaming *"reshaped the music business by diverting attention away from albums."* Today, we continue to consume music in bite-sized portions, with singles climbing global charts thanks to social media success. Nevertheless, directors seem to have returned to giving significant weight to the sound accompanying their projects. Never before have films brought original soundtracks that are more interesting than the films themselves, not to mention musicals or action movies that have relied on the unparalleled talent of Hans Zimmer.

@sonysoundtracks A score that hits HARD  9 new tracks from Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' pulse-pounding, techno-infused score for Luca Guadagnino's @Challengers Movie are out today, released as a 28-minute long, continuous set reworked and remixed by producer and DJ @boysnoize Take a listen to the full mix at the link in bio #challengers #newmusic #challengersscore #zendaya #mikefaist #joshoconnor #techno #nineinchnails #housemusic #rave #electronicmusic #movie Challengers [MIXED] (Challengers Soundtrack) - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross & Boys Noize

Two of the factors contributing to this change can certainly be the Hollywood SAG-AFTRA strike in 2023 and the Covid pandemic of 2020. In times when productions and premieres were postponed, directors finally had more time to work on their projects, no longer victims of a system that demanded films debut in theaters and on streaming platforms at an unstoppable pace. While this year we find ourselves once again thrust back into previous timetables, with directors like Yorkos Lanthimos and Luca Guadagnino having already announced a new release just days after the premieres of Poor Things! and Challengers, listeners are rediscovering the pleasure of listening to an album in its entirety, and musicians have taken notice. Some poke fun at the obsessed, like Dominic Fike, who named his new album 14 minutes, after its duration, or Mac De Marco, who includes 199 tracks in One Wayne G, mostly demos. And it wasn't just What Was I Made For? that made the music of Barbie a colossal phenomenon, but the entire soundtrack, deemed "the biggest success of this century" by the international press. A nice turnaround compared to 2020, when it begged the question "Who listens to albums anymore? "