Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, and John Goodman, action thriller Atomic Blonde took the box office by storm in 2017, grossing over $100 million worldwide and drawing rave reviews from critics. Based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City and set on the eve of the fall of the Soviet Union, it’s got spies, double agents, and a killer score by Tyler Banks that’s complemented by a set of songs that no self-respecting goth/ new wave fan can afford to ignore. HEALTH, Re-Flex, Ministry, and Siouxsie all on the same album? Yes, please. Here’s how we rank all the songs from the Atomic Blonde soundtrack from good to great.
17. Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) – Peter Schilling
David Bowie’s Space Oddity gets a new wave update on this very weird but very wonderful song by German synth-pop maestro Peter Schilling. Released in 1983, Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) became an international hit, topping the charts in Canada, West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and reaching number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
16. Killer Queen Covered – Calista Garcia
Folk-Americana singer-songwriter Calista Garcia might not be a household name, but based on this stunningly sophisticated cover of Queen’s Killer Queen from the Atomic Blonde soundtrack, she’s got every right to be.
15. Finding the UHF Device – Tyler Bates
Composer Tyler Bates gives us a little taste of his score next with the wonderful Finding the UHF Device.
14. Father Figure Covered – RYAL
The majority of the most iconic songs used on the Atomic Blonde soundtrack (whether in their original form or as a cover) are taken from the early ’80s – the one exception is George Michael’s 1988 hit Father Figure, which is covered here by New York City-based alt-pop duo RYAL.
13. Stigmata – Marilyn Manson and Tyler Bates
Stigmata has always been one of metal band Ministry’s most popular songs, but even fans committed to the original will have to admit Marilyn Manson does a stellar job on the cover, largely because he’s made the wise move of barely changing a single thing.
12. Blue Monday – HEATH
Is it as good as the New Order original? No. Is it still worth taking for a few spins? Absolutely.
11. 99 Luftballons – Nena
German band Nena had precisely one hit in the US, but fortunately, it was the kind of hit that, almost 40 years later, people still remember. Nena’s guitarist Carlo Karges was inspired to write 99 Luftballons after a concert by the Rolling Stones in West Berlin in 1982, during which dozens of balloons were released. Noticing their changing shape and odd resemblance to UFOs, he started to think about what would happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall into East Germany. He never found out, but at least he got a number 1 single out of speculating.
10. Der Kommissar – Robert Ponger & Falco
This song gave Robert Ponger & Falco an international hit in 1981, topping the charts in numerous countries across Europe.
9. The Politics of Dancing – Re-Flex
In an interview with rediscoverthe80s.com, Re-Flex keyboardist and The Politics of Dancing writer Paul Fishman said the sentiment of The Politics of Dancing is about “the power of when people come together and express themselves through dancing and letting go.”
8. Demonstration Extended mix – Tyler Bates
Atomic Blonde wouldn’t be the same without Tyler Bates’ score, as this little nugget of gorgeousness proves.
7. Cities in Dust – Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Cities in Dust has become a popular choice on soundtracks, appearing on Out of Bounds, Grosse Pointe Blank, 13 Reasons Why, Glow, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
6. 99 Luftballons – Kaleida
Understated and melancholic, if this spine-tingling cover of 99 Luftballons doesn’t break your atomic heart, nothing will.
5. C*cks*cker – Tyler Bates
Tyler Bates’ stunning score is at the heart of the Atomic Blonde soundtrack, with the darkly menacing, utterly compelling C*cks*cker ranking as one of its very finest moments.
4. I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock of Seagulls
I Ran (So Far Away) is about a man who becomes infatuated with a woman, tries to run away from his feelings, but ends up getting abducted by aliens along with the woman. It might be a weird premise for a song, but the result is a new wave classic.
3. Voices Carry – ‘Til Tuesday
Described by All Music as “one of the most distinctive radio singles of its era,” this icy, eerie new wave classic gave ‘Til Tuesday their only top ten single in the US in 1985.
2. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) – David Bowie
David Bowie originally recorded Cat People (Putting Out Fire) for the 1982 erotic horror film Cat People. He didn’t like the original that much, and re-recorded it later that year for his 1983 album Let’s Dance. Strangely enough, most people prefer the original. Either way, it’s a top tune, and one which would have taken home the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance if it hadn’t been for Michael Jackson and Beat It.
1. London Calling – The Clash
Songs don’t get much more iconic than this post-punk classic from The Clash. Since its release in 1979, its cultural significance has been recognized by numerous publications and organizations, including The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who’ve named it one of the ” 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”