Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade (140-131)
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:
140. “A Cover Is Not a Book,” from Mary Poppins Returns
If I had to describe the Mary Poppins Return songs and my feelings about them, I’d say, “A hearty respect, but no love.” Because they’re all really solid. But I just don’t have the warmth toward them that I do the songs from the original. But they’re all really well-written and performed. This is basically an English beer hall song. They’re singing the same hook and working their own story/verses in there. I’m not a huge fan of working the Lin-Manuel Miranda rap in there, but apparently that’s a thing that has to be done for him in movies, so I get it. It’s a very fun song that is always better than I think it’s gonna be when I put it on.
139. “Yellow Flicker Beat,” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
This was probably the single greatest discovery for me on this entire list. Apparently I listened to it and ‘didn’t like it’ when I went over it in 2014. Which 100% is because by that point I was actively anti-Hunger Games, knew this was nominated for a Golden Globe and was just very much against it. But the thing is — I love Lorde. I was all over that first album, and I think her second album is a masterpiece. So I just kind of forgot this song even existed. So as I went back to compile songs I came across this one and was like, “Oh yeah.” And holy shit. I wish I had this song in my life for the past five years.
Now, again, I have to differentiate between a great song and a song from a movie. Because this really has nothing to do with the movie. It’s more of an end credits song. So on a pure song level, of course I’d rate this much, much higher. But I had to temper my excitement for this one, since there are other songs more worthy of higher rankings because, while they’re not as catchy and I don’t want them on my everyday playlist, they do have more to do with their films.
Still, though… this song slaps.
138. “Gone 2015,” from Miles Ahead
It’s hard not to groove along with this one. Miles Davis, with a beat, and Pharoahe Monch rapping over it. And it’s over five-minutes long, so you can just keep grooving along to it. Ideally, this is the kind of song that every movie’s end credits should end with. The kind that makes you not want to get up from your seat and just enjoy the whole experience.
137. “Hey Baby Doll,” from Danny Collins
It’s hard to write the right kind of throwaway catchy pop tune for a movie. Clearly they’re trying to make Al Pacino Neil Diamond and have this be his “Sweet Caroline.” And you get it immediately. And even if you want to hate this song, you can’t deny how catchy that hook is. And that’s the point. Dude’s been dining out on this song for 40 years. That’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s a perfect song for the film and the character.
136. “Godfather,” from Patti Cake$
Great song. Underrated song, because it’s one that’s not sung by the main character. O-Z is, as the title says, the big rap star that’s semi-local and is the person she looks up to in the hopes of getting noticed and catching her big break. And this is his introduction, his music video. It’s a really great moment and just a great, catchy rap song.
135. “I’ve Got a Dream,” from Tangled
Overall, the songs in Tangled aren’t as great as other Disney films, but they’re also pretty underrated. This is a fun one. Rapunzel goes into a bar with scary dudes and you assume they’re all thugs and killers, but of course they’re all secretly softies who like to sing and dance. It’s a fun bar song that has shades (very, very light shades, but it’s hard not to be reminded of it) of “Gaston.”
134. “Heal Me,” from A Star Is Born
Here’s our second Star Is Born song. Our second Alli song, too. Since the point is that the songs when she becomes a popstar are ‘lesser’ and are about her ‘selling out’. But here’s the thing… yes, they’re lesser than the other songs she sings with Bradley Cooper, but they’re still pretty awesome. I’m telling you, they went all out with the songs in this movie. Over 10% of the upper 3/4 of this list is just songs from this movie. That’s insane.
133. “Split the Difference,” from Boyhood
Our second song from Boyhood and definitely the stronger of the two. This is the first song performed in the film, as the kids come over to their father’s house in Houston during his days with them, and he sings this to them as a lullaby. And it’s just a beautiful song. It’s the perfect portrait of a man who still really loves his kids while separated from them and also fits his character — since he eventually stops trying to be a musician and settles down. When he was a father and was married, all he wanted was music, and now that he’s got the music, all he wants is his kids. It’s a perfect song for this moment in the film.
132. “It Ain’t Fair,” from Detroit
There’s a lot of songs of this ilk that came out during the latter half of this decade. But I’ll say one thing in defense of this one — I sat in my seat as this came on during the credits, and I didn’t move for the duration. There’s that wonderful, soulful voice at the beginning, and then after the a cappella, there’ that great piano beginning, leading into this great 70s soul ballad song, and then BOOM. The song just takes off. And then the rapping section is just fantastic. Honestly, every time I go back and hear this song I wonder why this didn’t get more awards attention at the time. Especially since they nominated one other song like this the same year that’s not nearly as good a song as this is.
131. “Song of the Lonely Mountain,” from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Ah, yes, the song the dwarves sing at the end of the dinner party scene that goes on for as long as an actual dinner party. It’s a really well-written song, and has shades of all the other ‘Rings’ tunes. It’s definitely the weakest of the three Hobbit songs, which somehow increase in quality as you go along the trilogy. And from what I can remember, ‘Rings’ really only has the two great songs. Two Towers doesn’t really have its own song. I mean, granted, those two songs are better than all three of the Hobbit songs put-together, but the Hobbit movies do have three very worthwhile songs. Which is very respectable.
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