I make it a point to write this article every year because it forces me to listen to film scores. Like the movie poster, the art of film music writing is something that has been slowly deteriorating over the past twenty years. Now, it feels like so many of the scores sound exactly the same. There’s always a handful of really good ones, but by and large it all feels homogenized and by-the-book.
I am by no means someone who understands the complexities of music, but I do enjoy a good film score. The really good ones I tend to spot during the film. I’ll catch the score doing something interesting and make a mental note of it. But that happens so rarely now, because so many of the scores are underscoring the action rather than working alongside the action. To my point, name me one new movie theme you found yourself humming after you left a theater.
So I do this article to see where the good stuff is. I feel like, if we all individually listened to a bunch of scores on their own, without comparing notes, and then came back and listed our favorite ones, we’d all generally have the same group. And then we each have our own preferences on top of that. I don’t fanboy over Michael Giacchino the way others do, while I think Alexandre Desplat is the best working composer today and regularly have at least two of his scores on my list every year.
As I said, I’m no music expert, nor do I claim to know anything about music. I just pick whichever films scores sounded the best to me. Also — scores, not soundtracks. Because, yeah, we get it, Baby Driver had a lot of cool songs on it. That’s not a film score.
Anyway, let’s get into the picks. Here are my favorite film scores of 2017: (more…)
The reason I do this every year is because it forces me to listen to film scores, which is something I don’t do enough of. I appreciate film music, but so rarely do I actually sit down and listen to a film score. Usually what I’m doing is complaining about certain scores not getting nominated and wondering why that is. Or complaining about the decay of good film music. Quick, name one memorable theme from any of the Marvel movies. (Right? Almost all movies are like that now.)
So I use this space as an opportunity to talk about what I liked, and because of that, I have to listen to enough scores to actually have something to say. It works out very nicely.
I’ll put a disclaimer on this: I know nothing about music nor do I claim to. I’m just picking which scores were most aurally appealing to me. I’m sure people who know about music will think much differently. That’s fair. Oh, and I also am only dealing with scores and not soundtracks. (Because if we’re talking soundtracks — Sing Street, man.)
I always have my top ten list of scores, but after that, there’s no cap. If I don’t have more than ten that I liked, I’ll only talk about those ten. If there’s 20, I’ll put 20. I really only want to mention the scores that made me go, “Oh, that was good.” I’m not putting ones on there just to fill out a list. This will go as high or as low as need be.
Here are my favorite film scores of 2016: (more…)
The reason I do this every year is because it forces me to listen to film scores, which is something I don’t do enough. I appreciate film music, but so rarely do I actually sit down and listen to a film score. Usually what I’m doing is complaining about certain scores not getting nominated and wondering why that is. So I use this space as an opportunity to talk about what I liked, and because of that, I have to listen to enough scores to actually have something to say. It works out very nicely.
I’ll put a disclaimer on this: I know nothing about music nor do I claim to. I’m just picking which scores were most aurally appealing to me. I’m sure people who know about music will think much differently. That’s fair. Oh, and I also am only dealing with scores and not soundtracks.
In terms of how the list goes, there’s definitely always a top ten list of scores. I don’t put a cap on it though. I really only want to talk about the scores from the year that actually made me take note and go, “I really liked that.” Sometimes a score is deceiving because it has a really good main theme, but the rest of it isn’t anything other than standard scoring. So there’s a minimum of ten, and it’ll go as high as there are things to talk about.
Here are my favorite film scores of 2015: (more…)
I’ve started doing this every year. Because I always feel like I’m on that weird level where I’m extolling specific film scores that never get any awards attention, while also not listening to enough scores on their own. So I’ve started forcing myself to actually listen to the scores on their own on top of in the movies to see which ones I actually liked best.
Every other year, this has been a top ten list. Last year, I managed to get to 20. This year, I’m expanding it to as many as I felt truly made me go, “All right, that was pretty good.” The ultimate goal here is to point out great film scores, and to give credit to one of the parts of a movie that often gets far too little credit.
Also keep in mind, I’m talking film scores here, and not soundtracks. So all the musicals and movies with great songs in them don’t count. We’re talking score, and score only. Because even though the iconic scores like Jaws and The Adventures of Robin Hood are few and far between, I still need to be on the look out for the modern day greats.
So here are my favorite film scores of 2014: (more…)
We’re talking scores and not soundtracks here today.
Which means that Inside Llewyn Davis is out, and Frozen has to get in purely on its score merits and not on the songs. I would like to shout out those two soundtracks, though, since the songs on them were quite good, and I’ve been listening to them a bunch over the past two months. And also a shout out to Broken Circle Breakdown‘s soundtrack, which actually made me appreciate bluegrass music for once. Who knew Belgium could made such good country music?
But anyway, today I’ll be going over my favorite film scores of the year. I’ll let you know now — this year hasn’t been a great one for me and film scores. Most of them really aren’t. I’m not a particular film score junkie. I don’t know music, I don’t have an ear for melodies and such. I just listen to film scores, and what I like, I like. (I imagine I’m the person real film score people would hate. Since I’m sure I gravitate to the most mainstream stuff. But hey — I don’t claim to know music. I just like listening to it.) I won’t get into my absolute favorite scores now (maybe another time, when I can really write them up), but let’s just say — the film score is something I like to listen to, to see if it’s something I can really like and listen to more often. And while there are always good ones from each year, I don’t know how many of these will be ones I’ll be listening to a whole lot after this article.
So here are my favorite scores from 2013: (more…)