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: (more…)
10. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen
How could you not begin the top ten with this song? This song is joy personified. The unbridled optimism of childhood. This is the moment in the film where you know it’s special. You know you’re in for an amazing movie. Because the beginning… cutting the ice, the bit about the trolls and the powers, okay, sure. But this song is really the moment you settle in and fall in love with the characters. This song became instantly iconic.
And, even better, it furthers the plot. There are two time lapses over the course of the song. Which, of course, can be one of the knocks against the song, that it’s only small pieces of a song and doesn’t actually do much more than the central ‘chorus’. But you know what? No one really remembers that. Everyone remembers ‘do you wanna build a snowman’. (Plus, shout out to the way they sing it. How can you not feel bad when she says “Okay bye…”?)
But I love the idea that this refrain of her trying to bond with her sister over building a snowman is a thing that highlights their relationship over the years. It’s such economic storytelling. It’s almost the ‘Married Life’ montage from Up in terms of how perfectly it encapsulates an entire relationship in a few minutes. And their parents die during the song! Which gives you that really touching third verse, which is really the reason this song is here. The fact that you have this refrain that you already understand is the thing that unites the two sisters, so now that it’s just them, you have Anna knocking on Elsa’s door, as if to say, “Please, if not now, after this tragedy, when will you talk to me?” And she defaults to the one thing she knows she has in common with her. The half-hearted way Kristen Bell delivers the line, too, is just perfect. It’s hard to have a song do as much for its film as this one does.