top of page

Valentine's Day 2024: Top Five Rom-Coms That Brought the 'Feels' Through Music

Updated: Feb 13

Valentine's Day 2024:  Top Five Rom-Coms

The most iconic romantic comedies are powered by music. Whether our leads are at a Christmas party in England or an engagement party in Singapore, they need the right music to set the scene and tell the audience what's happening and where we're going. 

In rom-coms, music is critical for striking the right chord between drama and comedy, between a laugh-out-loud scene and a sentimental moment between two characters. In the following films, music ranging from Smooth Jazz to dramatic embellishments to 1970s Rock and even Bollywood add context, character, and feeling to the relationships developing on screen.

Here are five of the best rom-coms in recent memory that brought the feels through beautiful music.

1.Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Crazy Rich Asians was one of the most exciting and vibrant rom-coms of the 2010s. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film received accolades for its cast's performance and comedy. Crazy Rich Asians follows the Chinese-American professor Rachel (Constance Wu) as she travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding), learning he's a member of an incredibly wealthy family who are practically royalty in the country. 

From wardrobe to set design, Crazy Rich Asians is built around glamour and exuberance and, in several cases, calls back to the Jazz era. The film needed a soundtrack to match not only the wealth of the Young family but also the film's central tension revolving around Rachel's struggle to be accepted by them. 

Songs like "Tango Forever," composed by Bruno Raymond for Salon Orchestra from the Kosinus Arts library, meld the elegance and tension of the film in a slow and creeping tango. Another song provides a backing track to one of the first important scenes of Crazy Rich Asians: "Swingin' Five" from the Sonoton Music library plays when Rachel arrives at the Young Mansion, where an extravagant dinner party ahead of the upcoming wedding is taking place. Composed by Klaus Weiss and from the album Jazz Colours, "Swingin' Five" is elevated, light, breezy, and sophisticated, much like the Young family. While Rachel remarks on the size of the mansion and the party, a singer vocalizes over a jazz group playing "Swingin' Five." The piece works as a diegetic contribution and immediately places the Young family in a certain class level.  

2. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

With Bridget Jones's Diary, director Sharon Maguire brought a hilarious cult-classic-turned-franchise to the early 2000s. An adaptation of a book reinterpreting the Jane Austen 1918 classic Pride and PrejudiceBridget Jones's Diary follows the romantic trials and tribulations of its titular character played by Renee Zellweger. 

Between New Year parties, family parties (featuring the now-infamous Playboy bunny costume), and the several dinner parties that provide the perfect opportunity for banter, small smiles, and confessions, Bridget Jones's Diary is full of moments where the music fills the scene. Even more than the diegetic contributions, the music is critical for establishing a comedic light-heartedness that follows Bridget and her relationships with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) throughout the film. 

Between iconic disco tracks and ballads that make the over-the-top scenes straight from Bridget's self-pitying and hilarious imagination, music helps to fill those moments in between, while hinting at themes in the film. Bookended by winter holidays, the joyful and uptempo spirit of the season has an enduring role in the film, often juxtaposed with Bridget's misery. "Christmas Green" from the Christmas Party album in the KPM 1000 LP Series library brings a cheeky and fun Christmas tune to the film. Alan Moorhouse's modern take on the holiday classic "The Holly and the Ivy," the light shuffle adds to the holiday spirit of the film. 

Other tracks seamlessly blend into the background while still contributing to the film's overall theme. This is the case with "Every Bossa," composed by Dick Walter from Background Music from the KPM Main Series library. The relaxed Bossa Nova piece highlights the laid-back and sultry undertones of the romance in the film. "Every Bossa" also adds a mature and elevated sound, highlighting the seemingly contradictory nature of a comical and youthful romance for a single thirty-something-year-old, a point frequently belated by its title character. 

3. The Big Sick (2017)

Michael Showalter's The Big Sick, based on the real-life story of lead Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon, follows the start of the relationship between Kumail and Emily (Zoe Kazan). At the same time, they navigate her near-fatal illness and the cultural differences sparked by the demands of Kumail's first-generation Pakistani immigrants. Tracks such as "Pakistan" from the National Anthems - Volume 2 album in the KPM Music Series, "Descendents of the Dragon" from Chinese History in the Bruton library, and "Hot And Spicy (a)" from The Upside in the KPM Main Series library which brings a taste of Bollywood to the film bring scenes to life.

It's commonplace in true comedies to bring in sounds that are clearly out of a different time, often to emphasize dramatic moments, so naturally, a romantic comedy will do the same. In The Big Sick, "Finger of Suspicion" from Drama Mystery Detective in the Soho Archive library adds an exaggerated drama with cymbals, drums, and discordant trombone. Composed by Max Saunders, "Finger of Suspicion" brings a level of amusing self-understanding to the comedy side of the rom-com, a pleasant break in a serious plot line. Other APM tracks you'll find in major motion pictures, like "Sedona Breeze" from New Age Peace and Tranquility in the Nightingale Music library, are more ambient, with hints of themes tied to the film while not drawing away from the story its scoring. 

4. Amélie (2001)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie is one of the most fanciful and colorful rom-coms of the early 2000s. Rolling Stone ranked it as #37 in the Fifty best rom-coms of all time, and it has been repeatedly included in lists of the best movies ever made. Music is a vital part of the film's enduring popularity, inspiring a musical adaptation of the film that premiered in 2015. 

The music of Amélie captures the whimsy of its title character and The city of Paris. Composed by Jack Shaindlin, "Fire" from the Newsreel album in the Cinemusic Library is straight out of the opening credits for a 1950s noir film or a comic book adaptation with action and adventure. The track brings an old-fashioned scoring to a disaster or chaotic event that matches Amelie's unique imagination and mischievous nature.

5. No Hard Feelings (2023)

While No Hard Feelings is not a traditional rom-com in the sense that you're hoping the two leads fall in love—it's tough to root for a real romance between a thirty-one-year-old bartender and an awkward nineteen-year-old—the comedic genius of the film is enhanced by the touching moments between two characters growing and finding themselves. Gene Stupnitsky's No Hard Feelings is propelled not only by the strength of acting and comedy but also by the role music plays in the relationship between Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman). 

One of the most notable scenes in the film revolves around Percy playing a piano rendition of the Hall & Oates' early 1980s hit "Maneater." That scene stops the film, and beyond the viral moment, the soundtrack is chock-full of recognizable rock hits from the 1970s. Between comedic bits and sentimental pauses in the film, rock songs further elevate the comedic tones and add to the throwback nostalgia of No Hard Feelings

"The Lucky Ones (a)" from US Rock Nostalgia in the KPM Main Series library was composed by David Gerard Lawrence and Charles Morton, and while not a rock hit you can find on a Spotify 1970s throwback playlist, it sounds straight out of the era. "The Lucky Ones" features an electric guitar, rolling drums, a climbing bassline, and a gritty and catchy male vocal that fits into the classic rock genre. From the Juice library, "Tonight Is the Night (a)" achieves a similar aim. Composed by Zach Lemmon and Alexander Rudd, "Tonight Is the Night" comes from the 70s Sounds album, which includes music across the 70s soundscape, ranging from prog rock to glam to funk to classic Rock. "Tonight Is the Night" is a little harder and more gnarly than "The Lucky Ones (a)" and is a rousing track that continues the rock theme.

Together, these tracks help build out the range of emotions in their respective rom-coms. 

Listen to all the APM music featured in these films. Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day 2024:  Top Five Rom-Coms Playlist


bottom of page