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Hit songs initially released to accompany movies

Several popular songs have actually originated from movie soundtracks.
Several popular songs have actually originated from movie soundtracks.

Movie soundtracks are often accompanied by a song or two that’s original to and written for the film. Sometimes, these songs are directly related to the plot and characters within the film, but that’s not always the case. 

Here are a few modern examples of popular songs that actually originated from movie soundtracks. 

‘Can’t Catch Me Now’ — Olivia Rodrigo

Just this past month, Olivia Rodrigo released her hit single “Can’t Catch Me Now” for the film, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” The song perfectly captures the emotion of the Lucy Gray Baird storyline, set to a melody that screams “The Hunger Games.”

‘What Was I Made For?’ — Billie Eilish

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” was the movie of the summer, and one of the most powerful scenes within the film included the vulnerable hit by Billie Eilish, “What Was I Made For?” The song played over a montage of clips of girlhood, many of which were submitted by people who worked on the movie. The song is up for five awards at the 2024 Grammys.

‘Still Alive’ — Demi Lovato

Released alongside the sixth installment of the “Scream” franchise, the single “Still Alive” by Demi Lovato helps to portray the protagonists of the film as survivors. Though many characters could not say the same, the remaining characters all survived the Ghostface killings and were ready to do it again. Accompanied by a fun, catchy beat, this was the perfect song for “Scream VI.”

‘Carolina’ — Taylor Swift

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Written to accompany the film “Where The Crawdads Sing,” Taylor Swift’s “Carolina” is a beautiful, melodious single with a tune that sounds like it came right from her albums “folklore” and “evermore.” The brilliant lyrics transport the listener to North Carolina, where the film is set. 

‘Happy’ — Pharrell Williams 

Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” was written for “Despicable Me 2,” the 2013 sequel to the popular film. This catchy single took audiences by storm and became a staple in many households with children. The fun, upbeat theme of the song made it the perfect addition to the family-favorite movie franchise. 

‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’ — Justin Timberlake

Another hit written to accompany a children’s movie, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake was the lead single for the film “Trolls.” It’s another fun, feel good song, and because of that, it suits the movie perfectly. The bright, colorful and musical aesthetic of “Trolls” is perfectly mirrored within this tune.

‘Safe & Sound’ — Taylor Swift

Released in 2011, “Safe & Sound” by Taylor Swift was recorded for the first “Hunger Games” film. The lyrics tell the story of protagonist Katniss Everdeen from her perspective, featuring vocals from the Civil Wars. The emotional piece was re-recorded to accompany Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in 2021.

‘Sunflower’ — Post Malone and Swae Lee

Released to accompany the hit animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the 2018 single “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee took the radio by storm. Though the song is catchy and has a fun beat, it also contains a very heartfelt message that’s reflective of the movie. It spent a significant amount of time on the charts, and was very well received by audiences.

‘No Time To Die’ — Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s “No Time To Die” was released as the theme song for the 2021 James Bond film of the same name. The mysterious, suspenseful song was listened to by enjoyers of Bond and Eilish alike, and it got fans excited about the action-filled film. Eilish’s vocals accompany the tone of the single perfectly, making it both heartbreaking and thrilling at the same time.