10 Best Needle-Drops in the Matrix Series | ScreenRant

2022-01-03 15:13:53 By : Mr. bill hao

Along with its groundbreaking action sequences, The Matrix series is infused with some of the best musical moments of the last 25 years.

One of the quintessential films of the '90s, The Matrix was full of iconic music, ranging from drum and bass, trip-hop, alternative metal, and electronica. The first film was already influenced by the aesthetic of the early digital age and it's only fitting that its music reflected that.

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All four Matrix films have impeccable original soundtracks, with Tom Tykwer and Johnny Klimeck reworking Don Davis' score to the original trilogy in The Matrix Resurrections. The series has always benefitted from needle-drops from popular music of the time though, with electronic music especially adding to the artificial nature of the story's world.

The Matrix Resurrections is full of nostalgic references to the first film, and its music is no exception. Brass Against & Sophia Urista's cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Wake Up" mirrors the use of the original in the first film's credits, with the film's final shot paying homage to its predecessor.

Using a cover at all is another way that Resurrections is in open conversation with the original films, as it is dissecting and morphing it into a different entity while also trying to be familiar on the surface. The brass instrumentation over guitars and the switch to a female vocalist change the original just enough to be familiar but significant in its difference, much like the film's own relationship to the original Matrix.

While this track might easily be missed on first viewing, when the audience is first introduced to Neo, they find him asleep at his desk, with headphones on his head and the glare of his computer screen flashing on his face. The scene is an iconic introduction both to the character and the washed-out, artificial world he inhabits.

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In his ears plays Massive Attack's "Dissolved Girl" and the opening lyrics add to Neo's sense of numbness and that the world he knows isn't quite right ('I think I lost myself again / Day, yesterday / Really should be leaving, but I stay.')

As a way of showing the sleazy underworld that Neo finds himself in, in the first half of The Matrix, the club setting where he meets Trinity is introduced, with a long tracking shot of leather-clad extras, (accompanied by Rob Zombie's 'Dragula').

This track seamlessly transitions into "Mindfields" by the Prodigy, as if by an invisible DJ. The smashing together of two late nineties hits, one nu-metal and one drum and bass, instantly places the film within the early internet age. Even though the track is mostly background noise, it adds to the greater canvas of the film's aesthetic, and the artificial, apocalyptic world of the Matrix.

A long track running over ten minutes, Juno Rector's "Mona Lisa Overdrive" accompanies the car chase sequence in The Matrix Reloaded and adds to the nervy tension of the scene. It's a track that's perhaps designed to be less noticeable than the action taking place onscreen, although it's still effortlessly thrilling.

The synth notes that kick in punctuate the scene and the push and pull between Trinity and Morpheus, the agents, and the twins. Like many of the tracks on Reloaded, the digital beat of the track is accompanied by orchestral hits, alternating between acoustic and artificial.

Capping off the perfect finale to the first Matrix film, Neo enters the Matrix once more, and following his voiceover "where we go from there is a choice I leave to you" he hangs up a payphone and disperses into the crowd.

The thumping guitar of "Wake Up" takes over and rolls into the credits, and its lyrics of political awakening tie seamlessly into the ideological message of the film. Even the name "Rage Against The Machine" seems to aptly fit the themes of the film. It's a track that adds to the effortlessly cool atmosphere; a fist-pumping moment that is only enhanced by the shot of Neo flying for the first time, teasing what's to come in the film's sequels.

Played over the excessive and indulgent dance sequence in The Matrix Reloaded, "Zion" by Fluke is an unashamed club banger that is played in its entirety during the film's first act.

While not much happens plot-wise during this scene, intercutting between Neo and Trinity's passionate love-making and the intense party in Zion's caves, thematically, it links the two together. Some may call it gratuitous and overlong but it's one of Reloaded's shining moments and characterizes the humanity of Zion in ways that the exposition often fails to do.

Rob Dougan contributed several tracks to the Matrix series, and "Chateau" is one of the most exhilarating tunes that play during The Matrix Reloaded's many action sequences.

RELATED: The 8 Best Quotes From The Matrix Resurrections

Titled after the Merovingian's lair, "Chateau" plays as Neo takes on his henchmen, showing some of the best action choreography the films have to offer, as ceramic statues are smashed left, right, and center. It's a flashy drum and bass track that hits the same notes as Dougan's other tracks, this time infused with orchestral beats that fuse it with Don Davis' score.

When Trinity and Neo decide to break out Morpheus from the Matrix in the first film's third act, it's accompanied by The Propellerheads' "Spybreak!" that channels mystery and spy film music (including the iconic Mission: Impossible theme).

It's a song that oozes cool, with a bouncy, sprightly rhythm that contrasts the bloody, brutal shootout that it plays over. While other tracks in The Matrix films attempt to evoke the dark and dystopian nature of its world, "Spybreak!" is much more playful in tone, enhancing the dizzy action spectacle that the films offer.

While it played in the trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane is well-utilized in the film, with the full track playing in an early montage of the film. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired track includes lyrics that reflect the Matrix's own influence from the classic book, like the opening line "one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small."

The hypnotic bassline and military-style drums play in repetitive, circular rhythms, reflecting how the Matrix becomes an all-consuming, evolving prison for Trinity and Neo. In many ways, it's one of the best-chosen tracks for the atmosphere and themes of the film it's in.

Possibly the most iconic track popularized by the first Matrix film, "Clubbed to Death" is still one of the most recognizable songs of the '90s and one of the Matrix tracks that holds up best today. While many of the more memorable tracks accompany the action scenes, enhancing the danger, this track plays over a scene of Morpheus explaining the functioning of the Matrix to Neo.

Rob Dougan's track takes string and piano samples from Elgar's "Enigma Variations," folding them into a dark and moody drum and bass track, accompanied by jarring alarm samples that enhance the cold and eerie nature of Wachowski's world.

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Sam Zucca is a List Writer at ScreenRant who primarily follows Film and TV, with a soft spot for animation and independent films. He recently graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Now he lives in Wales and when not working spends his time living and breathing film, reading scripts, writing them, and watching countless films for inspiration.