Monthly Music: 7 Upbeat Sci-Fi Soundtracks and Scores to Get You Ready for Summertime

These soundtracks are not only a treat to listen to during the day, they will also have you revisiting the best scenes from these franchises.
Donovan Alexander

Summer is coming. Aside from the warmer weather, barbeques, and stress-free swimming, there is a lot happening across television and in the movie theaters. From the Final Season of Game of Thrones to the reemergence of Stranger Things, and of course, Avengers Infinity War: Endgame, this spring/summer is going to be packed with huge pop culture moments.


Aside from whether or not these properties create great engaging stories, another crucial component of these films and movies will be their score and soundtracks; something that occasionally gets overlooked. 

As mentioned in our previous soundtrack article, in the realm of fantasy and science fiction music serves a very specific purpose. From simply setting the right atmospheric tones for a film to even laying the perfect pack drop for an action-packed scene, music shapes the perspective and setting of a sci-film whether you realize it or not.

Today we are going to explore some of the more upbeat soundtracks and scores from pop culture's most memorable films. Not every science fiction film has to be dark and brooding or play on your emotional heartstrings.

However, before we send you off through the world of anime, Netflix series and sci-fi classics you should answer the question: what is the difference between a soundtrack and score?

Soundtrack vs. Score

The answer is not as obvious as one may think. A film score is usually music specifically composed for the purpose of a film, to serve and enhance the story. Think Hans Zimmer, John Williams, or Danny Elfman.

While a soundtrack may include original music, but most of the time it includes hits from modern artists, classic songs, and even pop songs created specifically for the movie.

For today’s list we will look at not just the original score of the film but the soundtracks that accompany them. In an age laden with nostalgia, the soundtracks/playlists selected for these projects are equally important.

The Fifth Element

Director: Luc Besson

Composer: Éric Serra

Album Choice: Soundtrack

The Fifth Element’s soundtrack effortlessly mixed elements from the 80s and 90s popular music across a wide range of genres to help tell the zany but well-crafted story of this film. Unlike some other films on this list, there is only one official soundtrack.

The story follows a futuristic cab driver played by Bruce Willis, who finds himself trying to save the world after he becomes the central figure in the search of a legendary cosmic weapon. Just as colorful and quirky as the film, the music on the soundtrack hosts sound with hints of reggae, opera, electronic, and Algerian jazz.

Éric Serra expertly crafted a soundtrack that will make you want to dance and also do battle at the same time.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Director: Edgar Wright

Composer: Nigel Godrich

Album Choice: The Score

The premise of this movie is simple; Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart. However, Edgar Wright masterfully brings this comic to the big screen padding the movie with subtle references to video game classics like Zelda and Tetris.

This is not your standard comic book film and Nigel Wright's score represents that. Though the soundtrack is filled with great rock classics, the score is an exercise in form following function. The playful digital scores will bring back the memories of some of your favorite video game boss battles.  

Black Panther

Director: Ryan Coogler

Composer: Ludwig Göransson/ Kendrick Lamar

Album Choice: The Score and The Soundtrack

Black Panther was historic for a plethora of reasons, tapping into the heartbeat of modern culture to create a movie that is as beautiful as it is enjoyable. Curated by the eclectic Kendrick Lamar the soundtrack featured playable, danceable, and recitable tracks from a host of hip hop’s leading acts.

While the young and talented Ludwig Göransson fused aspects of modern hip hop and afro-centric music to create the score. His score juxtaposed booming gritty 808s with the overwhelming power of orchestral strings alongside the occasional vocal chants.   

Stranger Things

Creators: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

Composer: Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein  

Album Choice: The Score

The Stranger Things series has taken the world by storm, producing great television that is both suspenseful and endearing. Though the soundtrack has many noteworthy 80s classics that will have you and your mother dancing across the living room. However, the synth-driven Stranger Things original score creates something that is instantly recognizable to those who know the series.  

Guardians of the Galaxy

 Director: James Gunn

Composer: Various Artists  

Album Choice: The Soundtrack

Now you probably saw this coming to a few galaxies away. The Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit for a lot of people including Marvel. The film and soundtrack did so many things right as well as start a trend in Hollywood a lot of movies tried to recreate. (We are looking at you Suicide Squad.)

The film’s juxtaposition of lo-fi classic happy go lucky songs like The Spinners’ Rubberband Man or The Sweet’s Fox on the Run paired with the futuristic sci-fi action create a formula that just works for viewers and critics.  


Director: Spike Jones

Composer: Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett

Album Choice: The Score

Her is another unique score on this list. Composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, this subtle but powerful soundtrack borrows elements from indie music with some orchestral elements.

The music itself operates as a powerful medium for the telling of the love story of Theodore and his OS system. And, the music even plays well as a soundtrack on its own.

Cowboy Bebop

Director: Shin'ichirō Watanabe

Composer: Yoko Kanno/Seatbelts

Album Choice: The Score

Cowboy Bebop will go down in history as one of the best animes in history and as one of the soundtracks greatest in anime history. Yoko Kanno is a prodigy and her understanding of the role of music in storytelling helped frame some of the most memorable scenes in this anime with the help of the eclectic Seatbelts. The jazz heavy scenes paired with fluid fights and action make it a sonic treat.

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