Music is the catalyst for the whirlwind romance in the new movie The Sun Is Also a Star, out May 17. Natasha (Yara Shahidi) gets lost in the blaring music coming out of her big pink headphones and doesn’t hear the car headed toward her. Daniel (Charles Melton) pulls her out of the way just in time — but her headphones break.
So, the music Natasha would’ve listened to on her own instead becomes the soundtrack for their love story, for a magical summer day in New York City. This ensuing collection, which features a propulsive mix of bubbly songs from around the world, is simply incredible.
Unfortunately, the movie’s version of “Crimson and Clover” as sung by Charles Melton’s zoomed-in face in a dim karaoke room has yet to become a single. When that is released, it will be top the charts. For now, here are all the songs in The Sun Is Also a Star — practically ready-made for parties and workouts.
The movie’s hypnotic opening song blends thoughtful lyrics with an irrepressible melody. Jain is a 24-year-old singer from France, and she’s your new favorite thing.
Phyllis Dillon “Don’t Stay Away”
The inclusion of a song by Phyllis Dillon, an iconic Jamaican singer, ties back into Natasha’s Jamaican heritage.
Michael Kiwanuka “Father’s Child”
Considering this is a movie about two teenagers questioning their parents while falling in love and walking through a city, the lyrics of this epic, wrenching song are very on-the-nose. “Although I know I’m my mother’s child / I gotta break free into the wild” and “Walk with me, show me the right direction.”
Mina “Sentah (feat. Bryte)”
London-based producer Mina is known for her propulsive and infectious dancehall tracks.
Tunji Ige “Pounds”
Play this on the next summer day you’re taking a long walk.
Riz La Vie “Napkins”
“Got tired of being nice out of habit,” Riz La Vie sings in a crackly voice in this melancholy, earnest song about taking what you can, where you can. It’s full of similar lines that capture so much with so little.
Lil Yachty feat. PnB Rock “she ready”
Would it be a movie about Gen-Z love without a song by 21-year-old Lil Yachty?
Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté “Fantasy”
This beautiful song comes from the final recordings of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré. Play it and float away.
Major Lazer feat. Amber Coffman “Get Free”
Try to listen to this song without getting goosebumps. The music video is filmed in Kingston, Jamaica, a foreshadowing of where Natasha is headed with her family.
Tommy James & the Shondells “Crimson & Clover”
We’ve arrived at the karaoke seduction song! Ironically, this song was used in a very different context recently — the Ted Bundy movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Moistbreezy “Italian Ice”
Moistbreezy said “Italian Ice” was inspired by high school-era romances carried out in parking lots and the scenery of suburbia. Sure, The Sun Is Also a Star make take place in New York City, but it preserves that heady feeling.
Susie Suh x Robert Koch “Here With Me”
This moody song swoops in just when the lovers are separated: “So many miles between us now / but you are always here with me.”
This is song has magical powers: It makes you feel young, no matter how old you are.