Most rock bands aren’t really strangers to the concept of the movie world. There’s always been the old adage that all rock stars want to be actors, so it would be natural for bands to contribute to movies whenever they could, like the odd movie soundtrack including one off singles by any band. When you learn your trade a lot better though, the film studio starts to have a little more faith in what you’re able to do.
As these acts started to reach their elder statesmen phases, they all were approached by movie studios to create the backdrop for different films, with the entirety of the soundtrack featuring music made by them. While this is normally reserved for proper film composers, these acts could definitely hang with the John Williams’s of the world, knowing just the right song to put in a scene or using the lyrics as a way to tell the story along with what’s happening on screen.
It’s never easy trying to get two completely different mediums to collide like this, but when they actually pull it off, it’s much greater than just your traditional album. This is the kind of project that can go beyond notes on a page and become actual theatre.
10. There Will Be Blood - Jonny Greenwood
Most of Radiohead's back catalog isn't really for the faint of heart. It's no secret that Thom Yorke likes to play with the more heartbreaking emotions in his music, and Jonny Greenwood's guitar work has made everything feel even more unnerving half the time, as if you're about to snap under the pressure of processing any difficult emotions. Though something like Climbing Up the Walls off of OK Computer may have already felt unnerving, it did plant a seed for what Jonny would be doing down the road.
Around the time that the band was finishing up the process of making In Rainbows, Jonny flew solo to create the score to the movie There Will Be Blood, taking all of that unnerving energy with him. Compared to the music that you're used to hearing out of Radiohead, this score practically picks up where that left off, never feeling too distracting in the context of the film but also having a certain sullen quality to it that makes it feel that much more depressing every time you hear it.
As frightening as some of the scenes in There Will Be Blood may come across to the viewer, Jonny is practically telling the story on his own through his music, using string arrangements to give you a sense that not everything is what it seems when you're listening to it. This was just the launch pad for what Jonny would eventually do, scoring films like Phantom Thread in the next few years and incorporating those same arrangements into Radiohead projects like A Moon Shaped Pool and their rejected theme for James Bond's Spectre. The days of Kid A may have given us a look at some of those tense musical moments, but it's scores like these that show us what happens when that's brought to the grand stage.