Coen Brothers Top 5 Soundtracks: What Do Justin Timberlake And Marcus Mumford Have To Live Up To?

We all love the Coen Brothers, and with the news that they're reportedly going to be hooking up with Justin Timberlake and Mumford & Sons for the new soundtrack for their next film Inside Llewyn Davis, we thought it would be high time to have a delve through their past soundtracks and see which ones stood out to us. 

Coen Brothers 2008

The great Coen Brothers

Much like Tarantino, the Coens place more emphasis on the soundtrack than most, though unlike their fellow director, they aren't afraid to mix up a glut of pop culture references with a more traditional form of film scoring. Here then, are our top five Coen Brothers soundtracks.

5. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

The Man Who Wasn't There was largely accompanied by a series of sonatas by the great Beethoven. It says a lot of the quality of these pieces that, despite their huge overuse, they can still resonate when used in the right way. The Man Who Wasn't There was a neo-noire film, and the likes of Moonlight Sonata were the perfectly melancholic foil to this Billy Bob Thornton-starring classic Coen brothers tale of blackmail and deceit. 

Beethoven 'Moonlight Sonata'

4. True Grit (2010)

When the Coens go Western you just know that, like Tarantino, they're going to go all out to pay homage to this most classic of genres. The Coens had no fear of treading a well-beaten path with their selection for the trailers, using Johnny Cash's 'God's Gonna Cut You Down'. But when it came to the score itself they gave the film huge gravitas by taking inspiration from 19th century church and hymnal music, to create a sonic land scape that was just as foreboding as their adapted tale, which sees a Jeff Bridges-starring US Marshal help a young woman to track down whoever it was that murdered her father. The score was written by the Coens long-time collaborator Carter Burwell.

Carter Burwell 'Ride To Death'

3. The Big Lebowski (1998)

As if Bob Dylan's The Man In Me isn't one of the greatest songs to introduce a movie ever, then this classic 1998 film about the bowling King Pin who becomes embroiled as a reluctant bounty hunter, is full of top notch rock and jazz staples, from Duke Ellington, The Rolling Stones and The Eagles to the likes of Elvis Costello and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Dude needed a damn cool soundtrack after all, and boy did he get one. 

Bob Dylan 'The Man In Me'

2. Fargo (1996)

Set in a sleepy backwater of sleepy Minneapolis, the Coen brothers were clever in adding to the out-of-time feel of the setting, the Fargo soundtrack heavy with gentle 1950's and 60's rock and rollers and achingly unhip crooners like Burt Bacharach. Further more these songs from a seemingly more innocent age of popular music, chimed in contrast with the bloody scenes that the film was based around.

Jose Feliciano 'Let's Find Each Other Tonight'

1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Incredibly, the CD of the soundtrack won album of the year for 2002 at that year's Grammy Awards, while it was huge seller with sales of almost 8 million copies in the United States. It would be easy to put it down to the George Clooney factor - but it was also just, with the actor turning in a genius set of old country and folk tunes alongside the rest of the Soggy Bottom Boys as they encapsulated the tone and feel of this great movie perfectly. 

The Soggy Bottom Boys 'Man Of Constant Sorrow'


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