The Top Five Indie Soundtracks of 2000-2010

These days, many new, emerging bands lacking a genre are called “indie.” Whether these bands blow up or stay under the radar, they offer a breath of fresh air by creating a sound that, for the most part, can’t be found on the radio. Here are five soundtracks from the 2000-2010 decade that provide an eclectic blend of indie music.

Number Five: Igby Goes Down (2004). Released in 2004, the soundtrack for Igby Goes Down is definitely indie, but also contains heavy elements of alt-rock, such as “Not You” by Underwater Circus and “Anyway” by Jelly Planet. The Dandy Warhols contribute two catchy, neo-psychedelic tracks that will surely remind you of the film (“Boys Better” and “Bohemian Like You”). This soundtrack also features a cover of The Band’s “The Weight” (by Travis), and the daunting “Everybody’s Stalking” by Badly Drawn Boy.

Number Four: Juno (2008). Released in 2008, the Juno soundtrack houses a mix of modern indie music and classic rock gems that probably were considered “indie” before the genre even existed. There are six songs by Kimya Dawson, along with two tracks by Belle and Sebastian. Highlights include the catchy “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches, the beautiful “Sea of Love” (covered by Cat Power), and the bittersweet “Superstar” by Sonic Youth. At the classic rock end of the spectrum are songs like The Kinks’ “A Well Respected Man,” The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking with You,” and Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes.”

Number Three: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009). Released in 2009, The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack contains a wide array of indie artists, as well as lesser-known songs from some of today’s most well-known bands. Examples of the latter include “I Belong to You (New Moon Remix)” by Muse, “A White Demon Love Song” by The Killers and “Hearing Damage” by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Notably upbeat songs from indie acts include “Meet Me on the Equinox” by Death Cab for Cutie, “Friends” by Band of Skulls and “Monsters” by Hurricane Bells. The true highlights of this soundtrack, however, are found within its slow ballads. “Slow Life” by Grizzly Bear with Victoria Legrand (of Beach House) is harmonious and haunting, while “Roslyn” by Bon Iver & St. Vincent will stir you poetically and sincerely. The most beautiful song on this album is Lykke Li’s “Possibility,” a song about being broken by a relationship, which most will remember from the scene in the film where Bella sits and watches the changing seasons.   

Number Two: Wicker Park (2004). Released in 2004, the soundtrack to Wicker Park is an indie-lover’s dream. The plot of the film involves obsession and deception, but if these songs were chosen to mirror this theme, we as an audience have no choice but to empathize with these acts. Most of the tracks featured here are slow, gritty and morose but still make you feel comfortably numb. Examples of such tunes include Snow Patrol’s “How to Be Dead” and Broken Social Scene’s “Lover’s Spit.” Perhaps the best representation of this melodic melancholy is a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” by Johnette Napolitano & Danny Lohner. Another notable cover featured is “Against all Odds” by The Postal Service, which adds some sedating electronics to the mix.

Other indie artists on this soundtrack include Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Stereophonics, while Mogwai contributes some instrumental shoegaze. The biggest highlight, however, is Mazzy Star’s “Flowers in December.” The song features a breezy harmonica which makes it less narcotic than the other tracks, even though the lyrics seem to echo the intentions of the film’s characters.

Number One: Garden State (2004). Released in 2004, the music featured on the Garden State soundtrack matches the film’s mood and plot perfectly. In the film, Zach Braff’s character goes off the various medications he’s been on his entire life; this allows him to feel emotion for the first time, resulting in having the courage to experience life from a new perspective. Essentially, he finally feels like he sees the world from “such great heights”- which is the name of the poetically beautiful song from The Postal Service. On the soundtrack, however, the song is covered by Iron and Wine, resulting in a slow, indie-folk track instead of electronic.

The Shins contribute two tracks: “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang” (the latter was in the scene where Natalie Portman gives Braff her headphones, saying that the song will change his life.) Other songs will remind you of the movie as well. “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7 should bring you back to the scene at the party where everyone’s doing drugs, and “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel should remind you of the heartfelt scene where the characters scream down “the infinite abyss.” Other highlights include “Fair” by Remy Zero, “One of These Things First” by Nick Drake and “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” by Colin Hay. The two best songs on this soundtrack, however, are the songs which begin and end the film: “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay and “Let Go” by Frou Frou. “Don’t Panic” can be found on Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes, and the song can be considered indie, as back in 2000 Coldplay was not yet a mainstream band. “Let Go,” which features the vocals of Imogen Heap, plays at the end of the film when the characters are in the airport, and features the beautiful lyric, “It’s alright / Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown.”