Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade (170-161)
This was probably the list I was most excited to create when I came up with the idea of all these ‘Decade’ lists. It’s the most immediately gratifying. The songs are all right there to listen to and appreciate.
One of my favorite things to do each year (before they tried to take it away from us with that shortlist bullshit) was go through the list of all the eligible songs for Best Original Song at the Oscars and then figure out which ones I liked best. So I already had a giant pool of songs to work from, and then all I had to do was go in and look for any others that may have not been submitted or eligible, etc. And after that it was just making a playlist and figuring out what order they were going in. Which, I’ve gotta tell you, if you’ve never tried it… do it. It’s great. This is now a playlist on my phone that I listen to occasionally because it’s just great songs from movies.
Anyway, this is a list of my 200 favorite original songs from the decade in film. I was pleased that I could get to 200 here because there actually were that many (and more) that I liked enough to deem worthy of one of these lists. We’re gonna post it in chunks of ten, the way we’ve posted all the other lists. Only this one has been slowly been rolled out over the past couple of months, one each day. So really this is just cleaning all that up and putting it all in one place.
So here are my favorite original songs from the films of 2010-2019:
170. “$100 Bill,” from The Great Gatsby
Ah yes, our first Gatsby song. People forget how great this soundtrack is. I listened to this soundtrack for years after the movie came out, and still have a couple of songs from it that are still in rotation. This is the one that doesn’t fit with all the others, and it’s because Jay-Z curated the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann, so of course he was gonna put one of his own songs in it and it was gonna get prime placement within the movie (it plays as they’re driving on the bridge as they’re headed into the city to that apartment). It’s a good song. The weakest in the movie, but that just tells you how strong everything in the movie is, that this is the weakest of the lot.
169. “Has Ended,” from Suspiria
There’s Thom Yorke in Suspiria again. Yorke’s stuff can be an acquired taste for some, but for me it’s the perfect balance of melodic and moody. It’s a great listen. And I can watch whatever that animation is in that video all day.
168. “Frozen Heart,” from Frozen
And there’s Frozen again. You knew this was gonna feature prominently on this list. There’s not a bad song in this movie. Some people may prefer the trolls song to this one, but I just really liked this as an opening to the film. This totally unrelated scene of ice cutters doing this almost a cappella song as they work. It’s amazing and just sort of alerts you to the fact that this movie is gonna be good from the jump. It’s a great prologue to the movie, sort of the way “Arabian Nights” is to Aladdin (though nowhere near as good as that song is).
167. “mylifeisfuckinawesome,” from Patti Cake$
Oh, this is our first Patti Cake$ song. Great. Time to introduce the uninitiated to one of the great hidden gems of this entire decade. The film got bought by Fox Searchlight for a bunch of money, the idea being they were gonna turn it into the runaway indie hit of the year. But somehow it never happened. I don’t know why. But as soon as I saw the trailer for this, I was all in. And I loved the movie.
It’s about a regular girl from New Jersey who wants to be a rapper. And that’s it. That’s the film. It’s her dealing with her shitty existence, in a place she hates, wanting to get out of there and make music. And she’s an overweight white girl from New Jersey, so it’s not like she’s got a lot of roads to success. The writer-director of the film, Geremy Gaspar, wrote all the songs for the movie, and they’re all great, and perfect.
This one is her getting up and getting ready for work and singing this freestyle in the mirror as she brushes her teeth. It’s her saying how great things are in her song, when we see the reality play out on the screen. It’s terrific. It’s the weakest of the songs I’ve chosen just because it’s very straightforward as compared to the others. And the others are really good. But honestly, you need to check out this movie like, immediately, because it’s wonderful and it’s truly a feel good movie that will get some emotion out of you where you least expect it. It’s wonderful.
166. “Where the Wind Blows,” from The Great Gatsby
Our second Gatsby tune. A throwback kinda tune, taking an old-timey piano and then throwing a beat on it. It totally works, though it’s kinda one-note. It doesn’t do some of the stuff the other songs from this movie do. Still, it’s got a great chorus on it and really espouses a lot of the themes of extravagance that permeate those Gatsby parties.
165. “Thick N’ Thin,” from Patti Cake$
Patti Cake$ #2. This one’s more a freestyle than the last song. It’s Jerry, Patti’s best friend, trying to cheer her up, so he starts banging out a beat on the hood of her car and freestyling, trying to get her to join in, which she eventually does. It’s a great moment, because it shows how talented she is and drives home the notion of ‘I wanna get out of this place’. Plus you find yourself going, “Aww shit” as it goes along, because you’re starting to realize that the songs in the movie are gonna be really good. And it only builds from here.
164. “I’ll Fight,” from RBG
You want to make sure your overly earnest, borderline hokey song lands? Give it to Jennifer Hudson to sing. It almost doesn’t matter what the lyrics are, she’ll make it sound great. Move this song about an inch to the right or left, and it’s awful. But this — I’ll take this.
163. “Strange Love,” from Frankenweenie
I love that Karen O is someone that contributes songs to movies. I have to assume that all started with Spike Jonze having her do the soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are (which is great, by the way), and then she did “Immigrant Song” with Trent Reznor for the opening credits of Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo remake. But then right after that (and before Her, of course) she did this, a really nice little song for Frankenweenie, which I think a lot of us forgot actually came out.
It’s weird that Tim Burton got to turn one of his first shorts into a feature, but hey, we got a pretty decent movie and a really cool song from it that just feels like a nice montage song between a man and his undead dog.
162. “Ryan’s Song,” from Boyhood
Another song that’s hugely underrated from this decade. People forget that Ethan Hawke writes/sings two songs in this movie, and they’re both wonderful. They’re similar, but they’re definitely separate entities. This is the second song he sings in the movie, after he’s settled down and gotten remarried. And it’s a lovely song, bolstered by the fact that Hawke wrote it and sung it himself.
161. “We Are Sex Bob-Omb,” from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
This is the opening credits song and is just perfect. This is exactly what it needed to be and really gets you amped for the rest of this movie. I can still remember seeing these opening credits in the theater for the first time, as the camera pulls all the way back up the living room and behind the couch. It just brings you all in on the movie in the best possibly way.
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