The MTV Movie Awards could add a category for Best Soundtrack, but for a show that hands out golden popcorn trophies for Best Scared-As-S**t Performance and Biggest Badass Star, well, that would be so conventional.
That’s not to say that a number of the movies being honored on this Sunday night’s show didn’t have seriously kick-ass soundtracks. Here’s a breakdown of some of our favorites among the nominees.
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” (Best Movie): The folks behind the “Twilight” franchise have had few missteps in translating the vampire drama to the big screen. One of their biggest successes is in curating killer companion albums and the “Eclipse” lineup is no exception. With strong tracks from Muse, the Bravery, Black Keys, Band of Horses and Cee Lo Green, “Eclipse” is another eclectic, surefire winner.
“The Social Network” (Best Movie): The Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning score by Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross is a twitchy, buzzing nest of ambient music that captures the movie’s mix of technological futurism and youthful naïveté. Jumping from piano cues mixed with crackling noise to driving techno instrumentals and NIN-like techrock on tracks such as “A Familiar Taste,” the music brings to mind the minimalism of earlier electronic greats such as John Cage while still sounding totally contemporary. (And yeah, we can’t wait to see what the team has done for their “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” soundtrack.)
“Iron Man 2″ (Best Villain): Like the movie, the album for “IM2″ was, well, eh. Made up of some of Australian rockers AC/DC’s biggest hits, the disc included such nuggets as “Highway to Hell,” “Have a Drink on Me” and “Back in Black,” but then again, so do AC/DC greatest hits albums.
“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” (Best Jaw Dropping Moment): The Biebs is the king of the mostly-killer-not-much-filler mini-album, and the companion piece to his record-breaking live 3D film is no exception. With the title track featuring Jaden Smith, as well as a “That Should Be Me” remix with Rascal Flatts, remixes with Usher and Chris Brown, and the Kanye West remix of “Runaway Love” with Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, the teen hit the jackpot again.
“Jackass 3D” (Best Jaw Dropping Moment): You can count on a few things from any “Jackass” soundtrack: a song from friends-of-the-‘Ass CKY, some oddball throwback tunes from the likes of hippie icon Melanie (“Brand New Key”) and the Blasters (“I’m Shakin'”), cheesy metal (Twisted Sister) and, of course, some good old-fashioned smash-mouth punk (Gang Green, Smut Peddlers, Cock Sparrer). The best part, though, is “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough,” the country tune from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O.
“Kick Ass” (Best Breakout Star): This compilation is reminiscent of the mid-1990s golden era of movie albums. It has a bit of techno (the Prodigy, Zongamin), some driving pop dance (MIKA & Redone), shambolic rock (Primal Scream, the Dickies, the Hit Girls) and just plain pretty pop (The Little Ones, Ellie Goulding), with a bit of Elvis, New York Dolls and Ennio Morricone thrown in for good measure. In other words, a hot mess.
“Get Him to the Greek” (Best Comedic Performance): Credited to the movie’s fake band, the Russell Brand-fronted Infant Sorrow, this album is funny, but maybe not more than a few times. “Furry Walls,” “The Clap,” Bangers, Beans and Mash” and “African Child” are hilarious in their send-up of Brit pop and cheesy balladry.
And since there won’t be an official winner on Sunday, we’ll go ahead and choose our own: “Eclipse.”