The Best Songs From Wes Anderson Films

From Hotel Chevalier to Moonrise Kingdom, the choice cuts from the big man's soundtracks are all covered here...
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Wes Anderson is a true cinematic auteur, and with The Grand Hotel Of Budapest being tipped for a bunch of Oscars the time for him to be hailed by them upstairs might be drawing close.


Like Quentin Tarantino, the music in his films never sits left of stage. It is an intrinsic as the clothes on the actor's backs, and the words from their mouths.  Good job, then, that he's got unimpeachable taste...

Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To My Lovely?

From the short film Hotel Chevalier that preceded The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson brought this 1969 song back to modern audiences and its twee quirkiness seemed to catch on. It encapsulates a romantic scene in Paris perfectly, quaint and with a feeling of the historic.

The Faces - Ooh La La

Rushmore is a fantastically well put together film that started my Wes Anderson appreciation.

A song about the lessons we learn through time about love from the perspective from a grandparent to his grandkid, ends with what we all know - you have to learn the lessons yourself anyway. This is a nice summation about the perils of infatuation at different ages, as shown throughout the film. It's also just a great track to finish any film, book or a sandwich to.

Seu Jorge - Rebel, Rebe

From The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, to this day my favourite Wes Anderson film, Seu Jorge’s versions of Bowie tracks are absolute treats that follow the course of this story. Instantly recognisable whilst at the same time so entirely different, there is something about this iconic Brazilian artist alone with just his acoustic guitar which perfectly matches the more melancholic and lonely parts of the film.

Mark Mothersbaugh - Ping Island/ Lightning Strike Rescue Op

The two main composers in Wes Anderson’s cinematographic life have been Mark Mothersbaugh, who scored Bottle Rocket, Rushmore,The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic. Later, he turned towards the much awarded Alexandre Desplat: the French composer who worked with him on Fantastic Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. The latter two feels almost entirely aesthetically pastel, and much the same can be said about the accompanying score. It is very pretty, and it expertly conveys a sense of setting, historically and geographically - and a notable mention must be given for track ‘The New Lobby Boy’ - but whilst it is all much more polished, Devo’s frontman Mark Mothersbaugh gave The Life Aquatic a real sense of fun and urgency.

The Kinks - This Time Tomorrow

I am biased as 'This Time Tomorrow' is my favourite Kinks song, which is one of life's tougher choices, and that’s bearing in mind there is tough competition from the other two tracks from Ray Davies on this soundtrack alone. The Darjeeling Limited is a strange slightly hypnotic blend of scenes all about a journey in the wanky and the non-wanky use of the term, and what better way to accompany that than starting the whole film with the line: “This time tomorrow where will we be.”

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Nico - The Fairest of Seasons

This whole scene where Margot Tenenbaum gets off the Green Line bus is phenomenal, from the beautifully husky voiced narration, the front and centre close ups that are so distinctive to Anderson’s style, and the fact it has Margot Tenenbaum in it which obviously adds an a-plus. Nico and Margot were inevitably audio compatriots as her vocals lend that effortless cool which exudes so easily from this film’s leads.

The Ramones - Judy is a Punk

My love affair with Margot Tenenbaum is perhaps just a giant embarrassing teenage hangover: after all constantly smoking was something I was more impressed with in year 8. Perhaps The Ramones are also just a teenage dalliance, but her soundtrack 'Judy is a Punk' doesn’t feel embarrassing, no more so than the bohemian rebellious of Salinger’s Zooey and Franny which recalls the same themes. Yet it is that very side of Margot which is reflected in The Ramones' track which makes it fun rather than grating, and it unsurprising that this is the track that accompanied the trailer for the dysfunctional family.

Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man

Such a great track, which hardly needs to be said. It is so good. This track accompanies the 'Terrible Tractor's chapter of Fantastic Mr Fox, where the terminally persecuted foxes are finding their back doors smashed in by Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Who am I to say that a rebellion based on ‘not being able to steal’ isn’t politically sound, but fuck it I was on the side of the foxes just as I am naively on the side of a street fighting man.  I think this  essentially means I shouldn’t be trusted to vote.

Alexandre Desplat - Boggis, Bunce and Bean

As well as a very hard Shag, Marry, Kill (they're all equally mean) this is also one of those irritating songs that ends up in your head for days after watching this film. Nothing makes you feel more like a kid than singing this incessantly whilst pretending to have a full time job.

Whilst their villain names need work (by the nature of their trade this just sounds like a shit Gregg's pasty) the repetition of the tune throughout the film gave it a special edge for me and felt like reading the book all over again.

Francoise Hardy - Le Temps d’Lamour

Of all his films, Moonrise Kingdom probably has the most blah soundtrack, but this scene sees Suzy Bishop put on her favourite album on her portable record player as they discover their secret cove (that's not a euphemism but if the scene had gone on for two minuted longer it might have been). The scene sets their first dance and kiss, and although the scene is a touch creepy in a ‘I bet paedos watch this’ way, it is also young and naive and very sweet. Also everything is fucking cooler in French so despite Suzy Bishop probably being a precocious fuckwad, she gets given the obligatory aura of sophistication.