Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade (60-51)
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:
60. “Mighty River,” from Mudbound
It’s just a great song. I’m a sucker for any song that brings a gospel choir into the mix in the final verse.
59. “Suspirium,” from Suspiria
That hypnotic piano riff is just amazing, and then Yorke’s voice is just perfect for this song. Somehow this fits the tone of the film (and that finale) perfectly.
58. “From Now On,” from The Greatest Showman
I love this song for a lot of reasons. The least of which is that it’s the big song where he realizes, “I’ve been an asshole, and I need to change, and now I’m gonna be better!” And you realize, this dude did some fucked up things in real life. The movie portrays him as a dreamer, but his famous quote is basically how stupid the public is and how willing they are to be conned. So it’s funny to hear this song as some triumphant moment where he finally changes. But anyway, the song is really good. It’s big, it’s catchy, and it’s uplifting. Everyone’s dancing, you get your big finale. It fits the part of the movie it’s meant to be in very well. Plus I love that, in the movie, the song just kind of peters out because everyone got shitfaced and gradually dozed off while singing. That’s pretty awesome.
57. “Hearts Beat Loud,” from Hearts Beat Loud
In the movie, this is the first song the band (brilliantly titled “We Are Not a Band”) plays, and it becomes sort of the perfect theme for the film. It’s a beautiful song that has shades of the major emotional themes of the film while also just being a really nice moment where a father and daughter make music together.
56. “Never Let Me Go,” from Never Let Me Go
I love this song. I’ve been listening to it for a decade. It’s the title track from the film. It’s meant to be a song from the 50s that Carey Mulligan’s character buys on cassette and listens to over and over. And man, did they get that right. You could swear this is a song that was from the 50s. It’s a beautiful love ballad with just achingly poignant lyrics, especially given the unrequited love her character feels for Andrew Garfield. It’s a really terrific song, one that’s gone very much ignored in the decade since it came out. I think because the movie is so underrated and because people just kind of assume the song actually did exist in the 50s and they just repurposed it for the movie.
55. “Look What I Found,” from A Star Is Born
Gaga’s vocals are really strong here, and I love the simple piano and snaps intro and the gradual increase of the instrumentation throughout. I also really love how the song is introduced in the movie. It’s just something she’s working on, and then later they have her doing it in the studio, and there’s that bit where she can’t do it properly without actually playing it, and then Cooper goes in there for moral support. It’s a really nice moment for the two of them and the cherry on top is that the song is actually really good. It’s also the perfect bridge song between her writing songs with him and the more ‘pop’ direction her career goes in.
54. “Never Forget,” from Murder on the Orient Express
I fell in love with this song immediately upon hearing it. Whoever’s decision it was to get Michelle Pfeiffer to sing this song is a genius. Because to have some random singer they hired wouldn’t give it the effect it has within the film, especially given her character and who she ends up being. Plus, you get to be reminded of her in The Fabulous Baker Boys, which… never a bad thing. But it’s just this beautiful little lullaby/eulogy that almost acts as a catharsis for the emotional pain all these people went through in the past. It’s really nice, and I think this song really slipped under the radar when the film came out.
53. “Alibi,” from A Star Is Born
Oh boy, do I like this song a hell of a lot. It’s the perfect rock tune. Cooper performs the hell out of it in the movie. It’s really just a kickass tune. The movie actually combines “Out of Time” and this together in one scene, showing him doing that solo as she travels to the venue and then has him finishing up the song as she gets to the backstage area for him to see her and have her come out and do “Shallow.” But to me, they’re separate songs, both great.
52. “Touch the Sky,” from Brave
One thing Brave did very right are its song. I’m not crazy about Mom turning into a bear and completely shifting what is otherwise a beautiful narrative about a girl refusing to accept her lot in life and wanting to do her own thing. The mother/daughter angle was great for that, just… maybe not how they did it. However, this song is just beautiful. This is the opening credits song, as Merida rides through the forest and gets to be her truest self. It’s a beautiful moment that’s always stood out to me. Plus the song is just wonderful. Gaelic music is just amazing, so the incorporation of that sound into the music really just lifts it up to a whole other level.
51. “Set It All Free,” from Sing
Right, though? Who saw this coming? This is a song, more than most, that kept rising and rising up this list every time I listened to it. I’m not a huge fan of the film outside of the general concept, but there’s no denying that this song and this moment in the film is the one true great moment in it (aside from Matthew McConaughey singing ‘Call Me Maybe’, of course). This song is awesome. (And yeah, sure, the guy who wrote this also wrote “Fight Song,” and it kinda shows. But I don’t care.) In a movie that’s basically American Idol with animals, and most songs being covers, this is the one original song they throw out during the climax of the film, and it really stands out as the moment it’s supposed to. I really like this song a lot.
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