The Ubiquity

Donnie Darko Soundtrack

By Alyssa Hoffman, Staff Writer

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Donnie Darko, a cult-classic movie released in 2001, follows the strange supernatural encounters of a teenage boy trying to make sense of his sudden onset of apocalyptic visions of the future, along with cryptic meetings with a strange human-rabbit. It is truly a strange movie with a complex plot and meaning. It is one that appeals to a niche group with a taste for somewhat disturbing sci-fi themes.

For a movie such as this, it is absolutely crucial to have a soundtrack that fits the mood of the movie perfectly and is able to project the right emotions onto the viewers. Aside from the haunting instrumental tracks that provide a very unsettling atmosphere, the movie features a blend of 80’s pop, indie, and alternative songs that were popularized at the end of the decade.

The most notable song from the film is probably Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon.” It is an extremely unique melody that plays as the movie begins. Being the opening track, it is tasked with the job of setting the mood for the entire movie. The song has a somewhat eerie feeling, due in part to the cryptic lyrics that talk of fate and higher beings, as well as the combination of instruments giving the song a dreamlike quality. In the director’s cut of the movie, “The Killing Moon” is replaced in the beginning by INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” and the original song instead makes its appearance during a crucial party scene.

The feeling of being in a dreamlike state is common throughout the rest of the soundtrack as well. This makes sense considering that throughout the movie, the line between reality and unreality is very blurred. Appearing multiple times on the movie’s soundtrack is famed pop group Tears For Fears. “Head Over Heels” along with “Mad World” complement each other well and help to develop the uneasy, yet sometimes fun feeling of the film.

Other featured artists on the soundtrack include Joy Division, Duran Duran, and Oingo Boingo, all of whom are well known and monumental artists of the 80’s. These music choices, while helping the time period of the movie feel more authentic, also happen to be among the favorite artists of the producers of the film.

Fans of 80’s pop will definitely enjoy this soundtrack, regardless of whether they like the film itself. It is definitely worth giving a listen, and I highly recommend hearing it in the movie for the full effect.

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Donnie Darko Soundtrack