Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade (150-141)
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:
150. “I Run, “from Chi-Raq
I’ve already said once before on this list in so many words — if you wanna make a song sound better, put Jennifer Hudson on it. In the other case, it was a song that was just okay that she elevated. This is a good song that she makes very good. This is straight gospel and it’s hard not to be moved by this one. This is one of those songs where, if it were playing over the end credits of the movie (it doesn’t in this one), you don’t get up. You listen to it. That’s the power of Jennifer Hudson.
149. “Moonshine,” from Live by Night
I started compiling this list sometime over the summer. And I’ve gotta tell you… this song’s been on and off stuck in my head ever since. This is catchy as shit. Most people don’t even remember this movie, let alone this song. But it’s really good. On a pure song level, I’d put this higher. In terms of its use within the film… more of a cool end credits song than anything else. Which is what kept me from putting it higher. But man, what a cool song this is.
148. “The Rules Don’t Apply,” from The Rules Don’t Apply
This is about as pure as a movie song gets. This is exactly what original film songs are about. The movie itself is a throwback, and this song sounds like something they’d have sung in a 40s movie. It fits perfectly within the plot, too. It’s deceptively simple, lyrically, but this is a great, great song. And bonus points for having Lily Collins sing it. It works so much better with someone who isn’t a perfectly-trained vocalist. This is another movie that people have basically forgotten about, but this song really does stick out as one of the best of the decade.
147. “Wrapped Up,” from Vox Lux
This is the big song from this movie. We hear it twice during the film, first by Raffey Cassidy, as she sings it at a memorial and gets famous from it, and then again at the end of the film as Natalie Portman sings it. It’s a bit too Sia for me to rank it higher (I grimace when I hear the words ‘epic fail’), but the chorus is great, and Natalie more than holds her own with it. It’s just a great pop song.
146. “See You Again,” from Furious 7
And there it is.
Half of you were thinking it would go way higher and the other half who know me probably thought it wasn’t gonna show up at all. Well, surprise. Here we are.
Here’s my issue with the song — it’s not touching. It doesn’t make me cry. It’s a really good hook and just an okay rest of it. But it’s the catchiness of the hook that fake Andy Samberg sings that keeps it on the list for me. There’s a good beat here and the hook is great. And for better or worse, people definitely remember this one really well because of that creepy CGI Paul Walker ending where they drive off in opposite directions. I’m not gonna fight it. It’s catchy.
145. “Hair Body Face,” from A Star Is Born
And A Star Is Born makes its entrance into the playing field. This is our first entry from this movie. And I’ll tell you right now, I don’t know if I left out a single song from this entire movie. They’re all great. Every single song. And I think there’s like 17 on this list. That’s how good they all are. Even the songs that are supposed to be ‘bad’ are good.
The songs that, obviously, are gonna go the lowest for me are the ‘Ally’ songs, since they’re meant to be dumb pop. But you know what, when you have Lady Gaga writing your ‘pop’ songs, they’ve gonna be better than the usual nonsense. It’s almost disturbing how talented she is and how good all of the songs in this movie are. Most movies can’t write a good song. 17 for this one!
146. “Into the Open Air,” from Brave
Brave’s got a couple of good songs. This is the one that flew most under the radar for me. I really had only paid attention to the other two for a while and then discovered this one by chance while going through songs for this list. But this is quite a wonderful song. Julie Fowlis sings the hell out of this.
143. “Can You Imagine That?” from Mary Poppins Returns
Ah, yes, Mary Poppins. The first entry for this film. I’m torn on the songs from this movie. Because, on the one hand, they’re fine. On the other… the original’s songs are great. But the fact that they hold their own is enough. This is a nice, jaunty song. I will say that I did have to rank it lower than I might have otherwise because I’m not the biggest fan of how Emily Blunt sings it. It’s a bit too cheeky for me. I’m sure Julie Andrews did the same thing and she’s emulating that, but the delivery of some of the lines is what kept me from putting this higher.
142. “Wish That You Were Here,” from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
I’m a sucker for Florence Welch’s voice. Hollywood figured it out and had her contribute a bunch of original songs for movies. She’s also pretty perfect for a Tim Burton movie. He had Karen O for Frankeweenie and Lana Del Rey for Big Eyes. So it was only a matter of time before he got to Florence. And this song is really good. Did you guys even know this song existed? This sounds like a song I’d listen to just normally, unrelated to this movie that we all just kind of forgot about because it was forgettable schlock from the guy who made some of the best movies of our childhoods.
But man, this song is wonderful. And really the only thing keeping me from ranking this higher is the distinction between a song I love and an original song from a movie that I love. Because let’s face it… this is just an end credits song designed to sound good on the soundtrack. It has very little to do with the movie. One of my goals was to elevate the songs that actually did appear in their films and actually had a purpose within them. But still, I really like this song a lot.
140. “Runnin’,” from Hidden Figures
I don’t necessarily love the lyrics and all that, but it’s a catchy beat and it does factor into the film, as it becomes a recurring theme each time Taraji P. Henson has to run across the NASA campus to use the bathroom. And I do like the chorus. It’s a fun song that fits well within the film.
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