Guest List: Soundtrack Serum by Katie Harrington

We are so excited to share a guest playlist from Katie Harrington, editor at Behind the Chair magazine. She's given us a gold mine with this list, and you can read more of Katie's brilliant work at her portfolio, and at

I mean. Damn. There's a lot to dip your toes into here. It really got us thinking.

I remember the first time I saw the punch dance scene in Hot Rod. I loved how it used music as an emotional prop for both Rod and the audience to find release.

When Interstellar came out a few years later, my roommate would play the soundtrack when we went to bed (thanks for the good sleepy time playlists and the art this week, Dan). I remember the music entering my dreams and painting their happenings. The soundtrack seeped into my subconscious the same way the audience seems to seep into the Hot Rod scene because, for a second, both us and Rod are listening to the same song. Just like in Her, when Samantha writes a song and shares it with Theodore as he sits on a bench. We hear it for the first time with him. “We don’t really have any photographs of us. And I thought this song could be like a photo that captures us in this moment in our life together,” Samantha says. He says that he likes the song, and that he can see her in it. “I am,” she responds.

Tasteful use of music in a scene allows the film and the music to influence one another. When I’m watching Interstellar, the wave scene is complemented by the use of music; but when I isolate the song, the music makes the wave grow even bigger in my mind’s eye, peaking my anxiety in a way that only my mind can do, unencumbered by a visual portrayal. The music has taken a shape of its own. That's what a good relationship between a film and its soundtrack can do.

Catch gems from classics that became soundtrack standards such as Drive, to funny a T. Rex feature in Diary of a Teenage Girl, to a FANTASTIC new find in "Anthonio" by Annie in The Guest, to one of my personal favorite uses of soundtrack in the Bon Iver song at the end of The Place Beyond the Pines. Thank you for that good shit, Katie.

Art by  Daniel Carr

By Katie Harrington:

There are two things I do after I finish watching a movie I love. First, I Google the reviews, and then I Google the soundtrack—because normally when I come across a good movie, chances are I’m into the soundtrack, too. This habit has proved a foolproof method for discovering new music. So here, I’ve assembled some of my favorite films (and the memorable songs associated with them) from the past few years or so and put them all in one handy list—that is my way of recommending both the films and the songs.

If you’ve seen the movies, I hope listening to these songs transports you back to a magical moment in movie history—whether it’s Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy drunkenly dancing around the living room in their underwear in “Obvious Child,” John Hawkes’ seductive lullaby to Elizabeth Olsen in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” or Annette Bening and Billy Crudup discovering Art Fags (aka Talking Heads) for the first time in “20th Century Women.” 

If you haven’t seen them, I think you should check them out. Happy listening, and happy viewing. 


  1. Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy - The Dø (“Raw”) 
  2. The Big Country - Talking Heads (“20th Century Women”) 
  3. Baby - Donnie & Joe Emerson (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”). Note: the version in the film is the Biggest Crush Edit, which can be found here. 
  4. I Follow Rivers - The Magician Remix - Lykke Li (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”) 
  5. Redbone - Childish Gambino (“Get Out”) 
  6. Nightfall - Kavinsky (“Drive”)
  7. Afterlife - Arcade Fire (“Her”) 
  8. The Obvious Child - Paul Simon (“Obvious Child”) 
  9. Detroit - Disasterpeace (“It Follows”) 
  10. Rescue Song - RAC Remix - Mr Little Jeans (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”) 
  11. Precious Star - T. Rex (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”) 
  12. Roll with the Changes - REO Speedwagon (“Cabin in the Woods”) 
  13. Anthonio - Berlin Breakdown Version - Annie (“The Guest”). Disclaimer: I actually didn’t really love this movie when I saw it, but this song was too good not to include. 
  14. Lonesome Loser - Little River Band (“The Loved Ones”) 
  15. The Wolves (Act I and II) - Bon Iver (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) 
  16. Marcy’s Song - John Hawkes (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) (not on Spotify, but watch the scene here) 

Apple playlist