This list is dominated by directors I number among my favorites, which raises the question: Am I listing these songs because I love the films of these directors, or do I love the films of these directors in part because of how well they use these songs?
I’ll argue for the latter. My favorite filmmakers make great use of music, whether it’s Woody Allen’s Gershwin tunes, Spielberg’s John Williams scores or Wes Anderson’s ear for 60s Brit Pop.
Aimee Mann’s record studio problems went from bad to worse as she worked on her third solo album. She turned her material in to Geffen and heard the classic line: “We don’t hear a single.” In fact, the studio shelved the album until she could produce something more commercial. She wound up writing a track called ‘Nothing is Good Enough’ about, you guessed it, evil record studio heads.
But then a funny thing happened. Mann’s close friend, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, was inspired by a line in one of her songs (‘Deathly’) to write and shoot the film Magnolia. And he intertwined Mann’s music into the film as well, using several existing cuts and asking her to pen a new one for the film.