AmelieAlthough hearing isn't the sense that moves quickest and deepest into our emotional memory, a favorite movie soundtrack can definitely dash almost as quickly to the center of your brain as a smell when it comes to recalling a certain scene, the memory of listening to it driving in the car, or smooching in the theater. A lot of the time, these are actual compilations of songs - Pump Up the Volume and Pretty in Pink are the first that spring to mind for me - but sometimes they're scores from an iconic composer.

David Lynch movies like Blue Velvet or Wild at Heart would still, for better or for worse, be David Lynch movies without Angelo Badalamenti's scores, but they'd be absolutely lacking, whether we knew it or not. Ennio Morricone is another unmistakable composer, most famously perhaps for his work on Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns - who doesn't feel like they're about to do battle in a gun duel to the death when they hear the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? And I'm proud to say I was a bridesmaid at a wedding where the newlyweds entered to the Imperial March.

One of my absolute favorite scores to listen to while I work is the soundtrack to Amélie by Yann Tiersen. I spent about a month churning out 50,000+ words for National Novel Writing Month listening to the dancey accordions in "La Valse d'Amélie" and "La Valse Des Monstres," the old-timey songs with record static like "Guilty" and "Si tu n'étais pas là," the gypsy-flavored "Le Banquet," the purely joyous "La Redecouverte" and all the rest that made me feel like drinking espressos with a perfect, tiny spoon. (Which I probably was, since I had to write an entire novel in a month.) I don't know why I picked up the CD, but I'm so glad I did. It just makes me happy. I also really enjoy the score to MirrorMask by Iain Ballamy.

Do you enjoy listening to movie scores? Who are your favorites?