Many times when I am watching a film or television show, my opinion of the show is highly influenced by the musical score that is played in the background. I've always loved music and I grew up playing in the school band, so I definitely think that has a major role in why I pay such attention to the music in on-screen productions, but it really does make a difference in a show or movie. The music chosen for a story can make it that much more impactful and meaningful to the audience. Everyone knows the typical music scores, like "Hedwig's Theme" from "Harry Potter" or the "Jurassic Park" theme song, so my main focus is on some other compositions that may not be as well known.
1. "Time" - Hans Zimmer ("Inception")
Right off the bat I am listing a film score that is pretty popular and is used in many motivational videos and commercials, but I still felt it deserved to be on the list. "Time" provides the intensity, stress, and motivation that fits perfectly with the storyline of "Inception," making the film that much more convincing and magical.
2. "Light of the Seven" - Ramin Djawadi ("Game of Thrones")
This song is so incredibly eerie and for the right reasons. It begins right at the start of the episode in "Game of Thrones" when Loras and Cersei's trials with the High Sparrow are scheduled to begin. Rather than show up to the trial, Cersei hides high up in her tower with a massive plot to kill everyone inside the Great Sept. by setting a trap of vicious bombs. This track is fittingly evil and somber sounding for a murderous, cold-blooded massacre.
3. "Mia and Sebastian's Theme" - Justin Hurwitz ("La La Land")
Although this track doesn't sound super complicated in the beginning, it certainly becomes more complex towards its end, which is exactly what happens with Mia and Sebastian's relationship. Something about it is so beautiful and enchanting to me. I loved watching Mia and Sebastian fall in love with this song playing behind them.
4. "Wonder Woman's Wrath" - Rupert Gregson-Williams ("Wonder Woman")
Every time I hear this song it makes me feel like I'm Wonder Woman herself, or at least a superhero. Its pounding drums and brass section create a feeling of such massive power that makes me feel like I could run through a brick wall. The electric guitar kicks in give me instant chills. It's just a perfect anthem for Wonder Woman and I love it.
5. "Cornfield Chase" - Hans Zimmer ("Interstellar")
"Interstellar" is a beautiful film and this film score adds to the magic and mystery it holds. The twinkling pipe organ gives the wondrous feeling of being in outer space and also creates the anxiety of rushing through time. Hans Zimmer strikes again by composing a perfect music score.
6. "The Tide" - Hans Zimmer ("Dunkirk")
Surprise, surprise, it's Hans Zimmer once again. I remember when I first saw "Dunkirk" in theaters I thought that the musical composition played a massive role in the storytelling. This track in particular gives the illusion of a ticking clock and creates a feeling of anxiety that translates to the audience the terror of the situation at hand. The eerie ambiance that seems to fade in and out also imitates the tide of the ocean on the beaches where the soldiers are battling, which I find to be brilliant. It may not be a lovely song, but its key role in the film is what made me include it on this list.
7. "Jyn Erso & Hope Suite" - Michael Giacchino ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story")
I think this is one of the more tragic sounding "Star Wars" tunes because it has the intensity of heading into battle along with the sound of impending doom that then transitions into a more somber sounding melody. It carries the story of sacrifice within the film perfectly throughout the entire piece of music.
8. "Journey to the Line" - Hans Zimmer, Gavin Greenaway ("The Thin Red Line")
I've actually never seen "The Thin Red Line," but I discovered this song on Spotify when I was searching for a studying playlist. I love how the track slowly builds in intensity. As this song plays, my mind seems to picture hundreds of soldiers being ambushed and suddenly running and fighting for their lives within a deadly battle. I think the quiet ending of the song also hints at the outcome of that very battle, but then again I've never seen the film.
9. "End Title" - Thomas Newman ("The Shawshank Redemption")
I am absolutely obsessed with this track and have been ever since I first watched "The Shawshank Redemption." I honestly believe that this movie would still be great without the music score, but it would not be nearly as powerful. This track in particular is so incredibly beautiful to me and makes me feel inspired. It brings the message behind the film to life and I love it.
10. "The Mockingjay" - James Newton Howard ("The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1")
With District 12 in ruins and war breaking out all across Panem, "The Mockingjay" captures the feeling of uneasiness and fear felt within the characters. I love the flute that breaks through the ambience in the very beginning because it creates a ghostly, eerie feeling that relates to the destruction and loss throughout the country.
11. "Re-Entry And Splashdown" - James Horner ("Apollo 13")
Without a doubt this is one of my favorite film scores because of it's intense and triumphant tones. Right around the four minute mark, sound of victory and happiness begin. The choir in the background also adds to the feeling of being in space, which is pretty genius. This is the kind of song that inspires me to do the impossible.
12. "Beth's Theme" - Olafur Arnalds ("Broadchurch")
Tragic, somber, and melancholy are all perfect ways to describe this "Broadchurch" music score. Since the show covers the story of a young boy who was murdered, there really isn't any other way for the music to sound. It may be a simple composition of music, but it captures the feelings of loss and grief incredibly well.
13. "Bathroom Dance" - Hildur Gudnadottir ("Joker")
I absolutely love the way Hildur Gudnadottir utilizes the cello in this piece of music. It is bone-chillingly haunting. The use of reverb makes the stringed instruments almost echo, intensifying the feeling of fear and evil.
14. "Eden (Harlem)" - Nicholas Britell ("If Beale Street Could Talk")
This is another one of my top favorite film scores. Everything about this piece is so breathtakingly beautiful to me. The violins and cellos used to encapsulate the tragic love story between Fonny and Tish, and the faint high trumpet in the background brings us to Beale Street itself.
15. "Lily's Theme" - Alexandre Desplat ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2")
The opening of this track is extremely chilling thanks to a women singing with the eerie use of reverb over her voice. She sounds like a ghost haunting the wizarding world as Voldemort falls back into power. The violins that takeover her melody create a more serious and intense sound that fits perfectly with this film.
16. "Come Back To Us" - Thomas Newman ("1917")
Here is another track from a film that I have actually never seen, but I have heard this song many times due to my love for film scores. I think this is a lovely composition that captures the quiet feelings of loss and hardship felt during war after the battles have been fought.
17. "A Butterfly's Wings" - Michael Giacchino ("Jojo Rabbit")
Cute and innocent-sounding, this track represents and youth of the main character Jojo and his lack of understanding in the Nazi party. Although Jojo is a hardcore Nazi and Hitler fan, he really has no idea the implications of his fandom or the horrible things Hitler had done to people. The piano is a great choice of an instrument to depict youthful innocence.
18. "Solomon" - Hans Zimmer ("12 Years A Slave")
Although I've never seen "12 Years a Slave," I think this track is beautiful. It feels heartbreaking and tired, which I can only imagine is how the characters who endured slavery in this film felt. I love the use of string instruments throughout this piece.
19. "The Avengers" - Alan Silvestri ("The Avengers")
One of the most iconic compositions has to be "The Avengers" theme from the very first blockbuster movie. The buildup of intensity is genius and captures the idea of a group of superheroes coming together to form a powerful team. I love the triumphant and heroic tones that Alan Silvestri is able to create with this composition. The song alone is enough to make the audience want to cheer for the mighty Avengers.
20. "Little Women" - Alexandre Desplat ("Little Women")
Chaotic as the four sisters themselves, this track is extremely fast paced right out of the gate. However, it maintains a light feeling, possibly to represent the women's femininity and innocence. I think this composition is a very cute track to play as the sisters cause mischief in their town.
Hopefully, I've introduced you to some new film scores and maybe have even convinced you that film scores can be fun to listen to! If not, I recommend watching these films to really be able to appreciate the music within the film. Happy listening and watching!
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