You get such a range of music usually by different artists that - to my mind - it's considerably better value in most cases than a single artist CD!
There are some soundtracks that are widely regarded as justifying the word brilliant (just as there have been some right duds!). Recently these would include Singles, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Garden State, Kickass, Juno and 500 Days of Summer. Even when I'm not necessarily enamoured with the films, I can't help but sing along every time one of the tracks pops up in my play list.
But my favourite pets are usually those soundtracks that were devised around particular a TV show.
It goes back to watching 'My so called Life' and 'Freaks and Geeks'** in my teenage (impressionable) years. Aside from being fantastic shows (don't get me started - anyone who follows me on twitter will no doubt have seen me rambling about them), and genera defining, wonderfully written and the best representations of teenagers EVER, the music captured me totally and utterly. Even now, the moment I hear those opening chords of 'Blister in the Sun' by the Violet Femmes, an image of Clare Danes dancing on her bed - utterly free - pops into my head!
Sons of Anarchy
Despite having one of the most consistently brilliant soundtracks throughout its three seasons so far; SOA took the unusual step of restricting the music released to three short LP's.
As a result, each mini-album contains the absolute best of the best from each season. Every song released encaptures a particular theme within the show. There isn't a single 'free to skip' song.
These are albums of solid rock and roll. The old fashioned kind - where music and lyrics are each pivotal, with the added twist of being performed by less well known artists - rather than the loud angry metal that seems to be oft mistaken for the same in the charts today.
- Forever Young by Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers - a hauntingly beautiful track utilised so well in the show.
- Ruby Tuesday by series star (and Futurama alum) Katey Sagal - one of my favourite songs of all time.
- Hey Hey, My My by Battleme - the title track for the third series.
Every episode opens with a fantastically atmospheric piece by David Schwartz.
Unusually, every episode ends with a different track. From Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to K.D. Lang and Bessie Jones - each track is carefully selected to match the mood of the episode that preceded it.
Although there is great variety between style - vocally and musically - content - heck, even the era of the song - they weirdly work well together to form a fantastic collection of music.
**The music was so integral to the show Freaks and Geeks that the definitive DVD release was delayed by several years until permission for every single song used in the original TV run was successfully received for re-release.