83. “Diggin’ My Grave,” from A Star Is Born
Yeah, there we go. Our first (but definitely not last) Star Is Born song that involves Bradley Cooper, or at least is part of the portion of the film that involves Gaga performing with Bradley Cooper. Which are the greatest parts of the soundtrack. This one in particular is one of the more underrated ones, which stands to reason. Something has to get less notice than all the others when they’re all so good. But this one in particular tends to get forgotten amidst everything else. And it’s great. It’s got that simple guitar opening and just the two of them singing for the first minute until the rest of the band comes in. And then there’s a great guitar solo in it… it’s just a great rock song.
84. “No Dames!” from Hail, Caesar!
This scene is a masterpiece. It’s perfect. It’s meant to be a Gene Kelly-type musical number from the 50s, and you just get it immediately. Plus, the song is just amazing… the perfect song for a homoerotic movie about sailors. “No Dames”? Perfect. Because they’re lamenting that there aren’t gonna be any women out on the sea, but also… you get it. The sexual innuendo is just brilliant. It’s the perfect parody song. It’s perfect for the ‘mermaids got no gams’ line alone. But then you have the dancing breakdown in the middle, which is also quite wonderful. This is the kind of song where you need the context of the movie to really understand why it’s so high on the list. But this sequence is just — it may be the best sequence in the entire film.
85. “The Other Side,” from The Greatest Showman
This is a fantastic idea for a song — Jackman (as Barnum) is trying to get financial backing for his show, so he’s appealing to Zac Efron, a man born into wealth who doesn’t like upper crust society. So he’s telling him, “Come on, piss off your parents, buy into the circus. They’ll hate it.” So the whole thing becomes a give and a take, where Jackman’s trying to convince him, while Efron is basically negotiating his end. And then of course, the song becomes a literal negotiation by the end, which is also pretty terrific. It’s the perfect song in a way, because it furthers the plot and is just a good song. This is the stuff musicals are made of.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #86 – “Let Go,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
86. “Let Go,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I love this song. We’re getting to the top of the songs from this film. This is definitely one of my favorites from this soundtrack. It’s got that really smooth beat and Beau Young Prince has a great flow over the whole thing.
87. “Break Away,” from Anna and the Apocalypse
This is the first song in the film, the one that introduces all the characters. It sets up all the emotional arcs that are gonna happen over the course of the film… you know, when the zombies and shit aren’t happening. It’s a great ensemble song that really showcases the talents of the cast. It’s a terrific song.
88. “Come Alive,” from The Greatest Showman
This is our first Greatest Showman song, isn’t it? Good. That should illustrate just how good all the songs in this movie are. It’s funny… the movie came out and had the stink of disaster about it, and then it made a bunch of money and people actually kinda liked it. I think that ultimately they messed up with it, because what they should have done was make it a stage show first. Which I know is hard to do and if it failed, that’s arguably worse than a failed movie. But, if you have a successful show, that allows you to build your musical out further and not have to do what they did here, which is cut the film within an inch of its life. No original film musical should only be 100 minutes long. Not one with the scope of this film. So the film feels really rushed and in a lot of ways is very forgettable. But the one thing that does stick out, especially when you listen to them on their own, are the songs. This is going to be a stage show at some point, and it’s because all the songs really hold up and are perfectly designed for the stage.
To get into the song in specific… it’s the big ‘circus’ song. The one that montages (every song montages over something in this movie) over the circus becoming a success. It’s a very fun song. Not my favorite, but it’s really good, and you can just imagine this being done on the stage with all sorts of moving props and trapezes and circus stuff flying about. It would be amazing.
89. “Lost Stars,” from Begin Again
The forgotten John Carney film. Which is funny, because it’s not like Sing Street and Once are that much out there that people are gonna have widely known both of those. But for people who do know those films, they don’t really know this one. And that’s because this is his one big ‘Hollywood’ film. It’s got Keira and Mark Ruffalo and the Weinstein Company produced it (which I suspect is why no one ever saw it). While Once is very much this little indie musical, and Sing Street is more just about the kids making the band, this is very much a ‘plot’ movie. Mark Ruffalo is a down-on-his-luck music executive who finds Keira, a singer-songwriter, and decides he’s gonna help her become a success. Sort of the ‘this is my last shot’ kind of thing. Jerry Maguire… you’ve seen this movie before. But the one thing the movie does do very right (and it is quite a solid movie in its own right) is this song, which is just gorgeous. Adam Levine performs the ‘credits’ version, but the one that appears within the film is sung by Keira, and is the one that I much prefer. Because it just feels much more authentic and less… studio. It’s a really lovely song that was nominated for an Oscar, though very much overlooked by all the other nominees that year.
Also, fun fact: the guy who co-wrote this song is the same guy who wrote one of the essential songs of my childhood, The New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give.” So now you know that on top of having this wonderful song in your life.
91. “We Belong Together,” from Toy Story 3
This song is joy personified. How can you not smile when you hear the beginning of this song? And also, consider this — this song appears right at the end credits of this movie. Right after we saw the toys basically accept death and almost go into the fire, and then, after that was over, willingly leave Andy, who they spent almost two decades with and say goodbye to that chapter of their lives. So by this point, we’re all weeping. But they bring you right back around with this joyous celebration of this franchise, with all the great extra scenes and outtakes and things that are just wonderful. And of course they really hit the home run later in the credits by paying off Buzz’s ‘Spanish mode’ with the Gipsy Kings doing ‘Hay un amigo en mi’, which… I don’t know if there are that many better payoffs this entire decade than that one.
91. “Amen,” from All Is Lost
Oh, now we’re getting into the really good stuff. From here on out, there’s gonna be nothing but songs I’m really excited about. This song is the end credits song for All Is Lost, and it’s just a beautifully somber ballad that really keeps you in your seat after the movie ends. It’s a beautiful song that I was all over when it came out, but unfortunately no one felt the same as me (or actually bothered to see the film which would have allowed them to hear the song). But I love this one.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #92 – “Turning My Life Around,” from Anna and the Apocalypse
92. “Turning My Life Around,” from Anna and the Apocalypse
This is the song I’d show people who want to get an idea of what they’re in for with this movie. It perfectly captures both genres and the tone of the film. It’s basically that opening of Shaun of the Dead where he walks to the shop, oblivious to all the death and destruction in the neighborhood. Plus it acts as sort of the ‘princess’ song you’d get in Disney, where she’s ready to go out there and go after her dreams… which is brilliantly undercut by everything going on behind her. And what’s great about it is, if you didn’t have the visuals, you’d think it was just this really earnest song about people looking to make the most of a new day.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #93 – “What’s Up Danger,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
93. “What’s Up Danger,” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This song fucking slaps. This shit goes hard, and I love it. This is, I think, the first song we hear in the film, too. Or maybe it’s just the first track on the album. I forget. But this just gives you an idea of what you’re in for with the rest of the music, and when you see the film for the first time, you are not expecting this. Which just makes me like it even more.
94. “Bang Bang,” from The Great Gatsby
Gatsby’s back. This is where we start getting into the good stuff. This soundtrack, a lot of people forget about it. It’s amazing. They incorporate a lot of the songs into the score, which makes the whole thing feel really seamless. And also, it’s just all-out excessive, which fits the film perfectly. This one I like because of the 20s-echoing big band intro that comes in and out. I’m not as in love with the beat portions of it, but that’s fine. Because in the later parts, they bring both in at the same time, and it’s awesome. Plus it just feels like a party song, which works for me.
95. “Tuff Love (Barb Wire),” from Patti Cake$
So this song, for those who haven’t seen Patti Cake$ (which, based on what I’m gauging just by talking to people these past few years, is most of you), is one of the more important songs in the entire film. It’s not a rap, unlike almost all the others, because it’s not sung by Patti, but by her mother. The film is partially a mother-daughter story, and this song represents her mother, portrayed brilliantly by Bridget Everett. She was a minor singer in the 80s who released one album under the name Barb Wire. And then she had a kid and is now this single mother who bartends at a cop bar, gets drunk and sings karaoke, sort of reliving her past glory that way. Which, of course, her daughter can’t stand, because her daughter wants to actually make it. And this song, which she puts on at one point, represents all of that, and also factors into another song at the end of the film, which we’ll eventually get to on here. But also, in terms of just the song, isn’t it just a great 80s-style rock song? You can definitely hear someone like a Pat Benatar or someone like that performing something like this, which is what makes it feel so perfect for the film. It feels like it could be real.
96. “OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You
I’m pretty sure everyone is at least partially aware of this one. It was all over the advertising for this movie, which felt like it was everywhere around the time the film came out. It’s catchy as shit, this song. And yes, in case you didn’t realize it, the title is short for “Oh yeah, alright, hell yeah, that’s tight.” It’s all about the instrumentation for this one, but also… it fits the film. It just sort of encapsulates the entire film in my mind. It’s a pretty unforgettable melody that makes you want to get up and party. Hard not to put it on this list.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #97 – “Hollywood Ending,” from Anna and the Apocalypse
97. “Hollywood Ending,” from Anna and the Apocalypse
Aww yeah, baby. Our first Anna and the Apocalypse song. For those who don’t know what it is, the simplest way to put it is — Shaun of the Dead with show tunes. That’s the film. It’s a zombie musical. In fact, it’s based on a short film called… Zombie Musical. And it’s so much fun. This song is sort of the refrain throughout the film. It shows up near the beginning and then closes out the film in a reprise. It’s the song, if you will. Every musical sort of has their one ‘big’ song. This is the one for this film. It’s basically their way of saying, “Look, things don’t always work out well,” which allows for the characters to be eaten by zombies throughout it. But the songs in it are really good. And it’s one of those nice little gems that’s just out there for those who like a little song and dance with their flesh-eating zombies.
98. “Moonfog,” from The Beach Bum
Oh god, do I love this song. I got so happy in the theater when Jimmy Buffet was on Snoop Dogg’s — I’m sorry… Lingerie’s — boat and improvising/writing this song about Moondog. And then for the full song to be the end credits song — it’s really the best payoff you can get in a movie like this. It’s so perfect for everything this movie is and what it aspires to be. I know not everyone’s into the whole Jimmy Buffet, Parrothead thing (they’re like Juggalos but in khakis and Hawaiian shirts, for those of you who don’t know what that means), but man, isn’t this just such a great song to groove along to? The man definitely knows how to give you that lazy beach feeling, doesn’t he?
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #99 – “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
99. “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ah, yes. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Sneaky choice, I know. But also… how many more memorable songs out there are there than this one? You start this movie that you thought was gonna be a miniseries but instead becomes an anthology film, and then here we are with this opening segment that’s just hilarious. And then all of a sudden, after a shootout, this dude just starts singing. And it’s completely ridiculous and hilarious. But then the movie goes all in on the song, which makes the whole thing even better. The beautiful thing about this song is how completely straight the whole thing is played, even though they’re dragging one guy’s corpse out of the street as his soul floats away into heaven, singing this song. It’s incredible.
100. “Remember Me,” from Coco
This is the flashy version of the song, but I much prefer the later version, that Miguel sings to his grandmother at the end of the film. Still, it’s a very well-written song and my only real gripe with it is that it’s so short. I kinda wish there were more to it. But still, as it stands, it’s a very great song that serves a very important function within its film, which you can’t say for a lot of original film songs out there.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #101 – “Feels Like Summer,” from Shaun the Sheep Movie
101. “Feels Like Summer,” from Shaun the Sheep Movie
I don’t remember much about the actual film — like most Aardman movies, I forget a lot of the plots and think they’re generally just kind of pleasant without loving them all that much — but I do remember this song. This plays a couple of times throughout the film, and each time I head it, my ears perked up, because it’s just a catchy, lovely song. It’s like a later Beach Boys song, or like a That Thing You Do kinda one-hit wonder song. It’s quite literally a song that feels like summer, and it’s really well done.
And also, how fitting that today, for a lot of people, is the actual beginning of their summer.
103. “We Know the Way,” from Moana
This is one of those songs Disney got you to pre-like by using it in their advertising. It was already in your head before you saw this scene. But it also goes to show you the strength of the song that it can do that. It become synonymous with all the music from the film, in a way. It’s really well-written, and I love that the entire first verse is in Samoan. It shows a real respect and inspiration from the culture that’s central to the film, which you don’t always get from Disney. All the songs from this film are beautiful and brilliantly done, and this is central among them.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #103 – “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me
104. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me
This is just a beautiful song. Fortunately people are aware of it because it was nominated for an Oscar and because the story behind it is so touching. Glen Campbell, beloved musician, member of the Wrecking Crew, star of the original True Grit, mega-star with countless hits, gets dementia. And they make a documentary about his struggle with it and about his life, and he writes this song, which is just so beautiful. Thing about the message… he wrote a love song to his wife that’s also kinda cheeky. ‘I’m not gonna miss you’ refers to the fact that he’s got Alzheimer’s! And it takes a particular kind of tone to pull that off, and he does. He really does. It’s a really touching song and one I hope gets remembered as well as Campbell himself will.
105. “So Long,” from Winnie the Pooh
Yes, that’s Zooey Deschanel singing a song in a Winnie the Pooh movie. It’s the end credits song, and it’s just the loveliest song in the movie. The beginning makes it seem like you get what it is and it’s just this simple, repetitive song, but trust me, wait to the chorus — you’ll be fully along with it. It’s just a song that makes you happy. And, I know this is something that’s specific to me… but I love that you can hear actual instruments being played. I can’t stand this current day music where it’s all Garage Band beats and you can’t hear actual musicians playing on the tracks giving them life. Some of the film songs are based around orchestration, which I get. But here, you can hear the drums and the piano and hear actual people clapping along, which just gives it another little inch of life and likability for me.
Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #105 – “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns
105. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns
Ah, yes, this song. They cover a lot of bases with this one. The phrase itself does go back to the 17th century, but it’s not something that’s widely known. And just hearing it, it sounds almost like gibberish. Which allows them to position it as their new ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. And it gives them another ‘chimney sweep’ song, like the one Dick Van Dyke performs in the original, only here they’re lamplighters. Since, you know… progress. It’s a wonderfully choreographed number that definitely evokes what Mary Poppins should be about, even though there’s not a whole lot in the way of pure lyrics here. But it’s definitely the most joyous of the songs in the film, so I did want to give it ample credit for that.
106. “Before I Cry,” from A Star Is Born
Star Is Born again. Another one of the Alli songs. The last one, I think. We’re almost past these and will soon be on the real cream of the crop (also notice how few of the 17 songs made this half of the list and how many are gonna be in the top 100). This one starts as a song where you’re like, “Okay, I get it, it’s fine,” and then she hits that chorus, and you’re in a whole other stratosphere. That chorus is the reason this song goes so high. That shit is just great.