Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom and Zooey Deschanel as Summer, 500 Days of Summer became one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2009, drawing $60 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of $7.5 million and capturing millions of hearts with its offbeat story of a doomed love affair. Given the significant role music plays in the film, expectations were riding high for its soundtrack. Fortunately, it lived up to them, bringing together an eclectic collection of songs that capture the film’s quirky wistfulness to perfection. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack.
15. Here Comes Your Man – Meaghan Smith
Meaghan Smith’s version of the Pixies’ Here Comes Your Man might be a world away from the original, but its frothy sweetness is still beguiling.
14. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – She & Him
The Smiths get a lot of airplay on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack, and not only with their original material. This swooning cover of their classic song, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want (which also makes an appearance in its original form), is treated to a sweet update by Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward of She & Him.
13. Vagabond – Wolfmother
On a soundtrack dedicated almost entirely to soft indie rockers and wistful acoustic numbers, a contribution from a bunch of Aussie hard rockers who’ve built their career on sounding like the modern-day equivalent of Led Zeppelin might seem out of place, but Wolfmother’s Vagabond works surprisingly well.
12. You Make My Dreams – Hall and Oates
This top five hit from Hall and Oates has appeared on countless soundtracks over the years, including The Wedding Singer, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Step Brothers, Despicable Me 2, Eddie the Eagle, UglyDolls, and, of course, 500 Days of Summer.
11. Bad Kids – Black Lips
Good Bad Not Evil, garage band Black Lips’ fourth album, is a short, sharp, 35-minute blast of fuzz-frazzled sonics and sordid pleasure. It doesn’t waste time with niceties, but it gets the job done. Two of its tracks – Bad Kids and Veni Vidi Vici – both made appearances on 500 Days of Summer, but only Bad Kids made it to the official soundtrack.
10. She’s Got You High – Mumm-Ra
As Tom’s story with Summer draws to a close and his new one with Autumn begins, Mumm-Ra’s optimistic indie anthem signals a fresh start. Since its release in 2007, the song has been used on various TV shows and movies, including Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Torchwood, and The Inbetweeners. Somewhat incongruously, it’s also featured in the TV adverts for the upmarket UK supermarket, Waitrose.
9. There Goes the Fear – Doves
In 2011, NME ranked Doves’ There Goes the Fear as one of the “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years.” Originally released in April 2002, the song was a top 5 hit in the UK.
8. Quelqu’un m’a dit – Carla Bruni
This languorous beauty from French chartreuse Carla Bruni may sound the definition of mellow bliss on the surface, but dig around the lyrics and you’ll find a song drenched in melancholic sadness.
7. Mushaboom – Feist
On Mushaboom, Feist dreams about an easy life in a small town where she has the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Released as the first single from the album Let It Die in 2004, the song reached number 9 on the US Alternative Songs chart.
6. Us – Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor contributes two songs to 500 Days of Summer. The first is Us, a delightfully optimistic burst of innocence and sunshine that plays during the opening montages of Tom and Summer’s childhood. Find the original version on Spektor’s major-label debut, Soviet Kitsch.
5. Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap
Being included on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack did this indie anthem from Temper Trap no harm at all, helping it to No. 9 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and the top ten in the UK and Ireland.
4. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – The Smith
As screenrant.com notes, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want perfectly encapsulates Tom’s desire to find “The One.” The song has been covered by numerous artists over the year, not least by She & Him, whose swoony cover also made it onto the soundtrack.
3. Bookends – Simon & Garunkel
Considering how vital The Graduate is to the unfolding of Tom and Summer’s relationship, the soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without at least a little Simon & Garfunkel. The gorgeously wistful, heartrendingly resigned Bookends was the song that made it through.
2. Hero – Regina Spektor
Up next is another song from Regina Spektor, this time in the shape of Hero. Played as Tom comes to terms with the crushing realization that Summer isn’t “The One” and that he might not, in fact, be the hero, it stands in stark contrast to the sunny optimism of Spektor’s other contribution, Us.
1. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
Up next is the timeless nugget of indie gold from The Smiths. Johnny Marr and Morrissey’s working relationship may have ended in acrimony, but before they went their separate ways, they made some of the finest songs to emerge from the ’80s. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out is widely regarded as one of their best, with Marr telling Far Out Magazine: “I didn’t realize that ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ was going to be an anthem, but when we first played it, I thought it was the best song I’d ever heard.”