October 13, 2020 — Movie soundtracks are an important component of the viewing experience, often setting a scene’s tone or mood. Synthwave songs may indicate that the crazed killer is creeping up the stairs, or the star-crossed lovers are finally united. It can round out an action segment or play up an emotional moment. Without music, a movie can feel bare, flat, and unfinished.
Understanding the purpose of a musical score or official soundtrack is the first step in pinpointing everyday tracks that belong on the Silver Screen. Let’s play the role of a music scout for a moment and dive into the world of synthwave. Here, there’s a host of tracks that will undoubtedly fit perfectly into a movie — you just need to narrow down the options.
Below, you’ll find a selection of memorable tracks with beats so smooth and guitar so electrifying that you can’t help but imagine them blaring throughout the cinema. The following seven songs are synthwave tracks that absolutely need to be used in a future movie.
The World Might End Tomorrow (Instrumental)
Despite its incredibly depressing name, IDEON’s “The World Might End Tomorrow” isn’t the downer you’d expect it to be. The track kicks off with a synthesized melody that’s incredibly upbeat and, in a way, fitting of a rom-com, playing on full blast as the two should-be lovers embrace one another at the film’s conclusion.
There is a lyrical version, but there’s something about the instrumental iteration that feels like it would play better in a movie. The song inspires hope, especially when it breaks out into the guitar riff near the song’s end.
By Midnight Danger
Talented musician Midnight Danger has a knack for creating moody tracks perfect for a horror movie. “Endless Nightmare” is among one of his best, with its repeated line of opening notes offering an air of mystery before the synthwave song kicks into full gear. Even at its peak, “Endless Nightmare” is just fast enough to work as an opening credits scene to some zombie-filled gore-fest.
About a minute into the song, the notes get higher to give a reprieve from the melodic horrors hiding within each one, but it’s very short-lived. The synth beat speeds up at just the right moment to suck you back in and add another layer to this surprisingly complex track.
A good ending song to a movie will capture the spirit of the film while providing the audience something to move to while waiting for the inevitable mid-credit tease of a sequel. “Shadowrun” starts off on the slower side, but you can immediately tell it’s building up to something you won’t want to miss. After a tense action film with a very 80s vibe, it’s exactly the slow build you need to give your adrenal glands a break.
As that instant where the track shifts gears grows nearer, you can’t help but feed into the anticipation. And then it happens. The drums kick in and SURGE”s powerful vocals fill the theater. The chorus is intoxicating, and you can’t keep your leg from moving to the rhythmic drum beat. If there’s one song in the whole movie that could get you to buy the soundtrack, it’s definitely this one.
By Fury Weekend & PRIZM
The credits slowly roll onto the screen as the protagonists celebrate a victory over some horror from beyond. You wonder how the movie can round out such a perfect blend of action and frights – and then “Sleepless Nights” starts. Immediately, with that opening string of repetitive notes, you can feel how the movie and the synthwave song connect. They’re both multifaceted and offer quite a few surprises, particularly when PRIZM’s vocals kick in.
“Sleepless Nights” is one of those intoxicating tracks you won’t be able to get out of your head. If it were available on an official soundtrack, you can bet you’d be listening to it on repeat for weeks.
By Turbo Vice
One of the more somber tracks on this list, “Escape” is a unique number that isn’t trying to amplify the energy. It’s a great ambient synthwave song, especially when that initial lone guitar riff blares through the synth notes.
It’s not quite science fiction, but it certainly doesn’t feel of this generation. Maybe it would work best in some futuristic cop drama. It has touches of a noir track, like something you would have heard on the Sin City soundtrack.
There’s definitely an upcoming retro haunted house movie just begging to include DEADLIFE’s “Downpour” on its soundtrack. That slow, dramatic build in the beginning levels off something a little spooky, especially with those sharp synth notes cutting through. There is a haunting quality to “Downpour” that kind of makes the hair on your arm stand up.
A dramatic but temporary change to the melody about halfway through is about as surprising as a specter sneaking up on you.
“Astor Place” has “chase scene” written all over it. It starts off fast, has that very brief break only seconds in, and never relents after. While there are lyrics, the synthwave song could benefit from being instrumental, especially with the energy it exudes.
There’s almost a “metal” quality to the song that really separates it from other tracks on this list. If it’s not going to be the score for an awesome chase scene, it could work for one of those fight scenes where the hero takes on 50 guys at once.
You can find all of these songs and many more on the Paxinoma “Synthwave 2020” playlist, only on Spotify.