We are still living in very unusual times. And as Valentine’s Day draws near, things we’ve done in the past might not be possible. Just a year ago, I met my lady in my hometown of New York and showed her the best parts of the city, from romantic dinners to Broadway plays to a whirlwind (and I say that because it was both a bucket list thing AND windy) trip to the top of the Empire State Building. It was wonderful, but this year, with the pandemic in full effect, it’s impossible. So while sitting still, let’s take a different approach to Love Day, and think about the music that can always take us places. The soundtracks that move our souls. They are the gift that keeps on giving. So, to kick off Valentine’s Day week, I present to you 10 classic music soundtracks–some classic, some new–that should be in rotation as the day of love approaches.
Sylvie’s Love: Music by Fabrice Lecomte (2020)
This soundtrack from the film that featured a throwback love story, is filled with classic Jazz tunes. Whatever your love language, these arrangements–led by the stunning track “B-Loved”–are guaranteed to set a romantic mood for your weekend. Take a listen.
Love & Basketball (2000)
Way back in 2000, when this soundtrack was released, these tracks were already considered classics. “Love and Happiness,” “I Like,” “Soul Sista,” and “Sweet Thing” will set off just the right amount of nostalgia to have you smiling and ready to shoot your shot. Heh.
Love Jones: The Music (1997)
I mean, sure, this film hasn’t aged well, but the soundtrack? It’s aged like a fine wine. One listen and you’ll find yourself getting caught up in the musical matrix of tracks by artists like Lauryn Hill, Cassandra Wilson, Duke Ellington, and a young Maxwell. It will leave you hopeless, like a penny with a hole in it. Or something else good.
Bridgerton: Music by Kris Bowers (2021)
One of the major highlights of the Netflix period piece was the music, and the way producer Shonda Rhimes and her team gave modern songs a reworking in order to fit the 1800s aesthetics. Take a listen to Kris Bowers’ soundtrack to hear versions of tracks by Shawn Mendes, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, and yes, even Taylor Swift. It’s um, lovely.
The Photograph: Music by Robert Glasper (2020)
Robert Glasper has won multiple GRAMMYs during his career, and with this soundtrack, he’s guaranteed to win your heart with the collection of tracks he assembled for last year’s ode to romance. One full listen to the compilation will leave you mesmerized and ready (readdyyyyyyyy) to love. Word to classic cameras and museum dates.
The Bodyguard Original Soundtrack Album (1992)
Two words: Whitney Houston. Go on and Press Play and make things happen. You’re welcome.
Boomerang: Original Soundtrack Album (1992)
You could justify playing this soundtrack for the P.M. Dawn song alone, but digging deeper and hearing tracks from Johnny Gill, Shanice, and the debut of a singer named Toni Braxton will keep you smiling. Believe that.
If Beale Street Could Talk: Original Motion Picture Score by Nicholas Britell (2019)
This might be the most somber soundtrack of the ones listed, but still (and by still I mean if you sit still and listen), you are sure to be captivated by the score organized so, so well by Nicholas Britell. It will serve as the perfect background music to conversation, and even for when Beale Street stops talking.
Malcolm and Marie (2021)
This wild film needed a soundtrack to anchor it, and the tracks played during the two-hour sparring session does just that. Sounds from Alabama Shakes, The Fatback Band, and Outkast will serve as refreshing interludes during a night that hopefully ends in love.
The Best Man: Music From The Motion Picture (1999)
Talk about an All-Star lineup! Tracks from Kenny Lattimore, Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, and Me’Shell Ndegéocello make this soundtrack an instant classic, even all these years after the film made its debut. Throw in some wine, some Faith Evans and some Eric Benét, and then go on and retire to the bedroom and be your best, man. (OK… I’ll see myself out.)