I debated doing this Top 20, but after listening to a friend of mine talk about this exact subject, I thought it’d be another good exercise. You know the drill, torturing myself over a Top 20, making sure each one is in its correct place. Stressing over what not to include, and what to exclude, and getting upset when I forget about that single one after the fact.
So here it is, My Top 20 Scores/Soundtracks of the Decade, complete with YouTube:
Honourable mentions: NIGHTCRAWLER (James Newton Howard), SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (Michael Giacchino), AVENGERS: ENDGAME (Alan Silvestri), CAROL (Carter Burwell), ANOMALISA (Carter Burwell), THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross), THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Alexandre Desplat).
20. LOGAN (2017, James Mangold) – Marco Beltrami
Somehow capturing the tragic, melancholia of LOGAN perfectly.
19. STOKER (2013, Park Chan-wook) – Clint Mansell & Various Artists
The Clint Mansell score is utterly gripping, but the ‘Piano Duet’ by Philip Glass encapsulates the film in one fell swoop.
18. GONE GIRL (2014, David Fincher) – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
There is something sinister underneath Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score.
17. BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017, Denis Villeneuve) – Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch
On here because it successfully followed up the iconic Vangelis score with aplomb.
16. EX MACHINA (2014, Alex Garland) – Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
These five notes haunt my dreams. Hauntingly, beautifully serene.
15. YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2017, Lynne Ramsey) – Jonny Greenwood
Jonny Greenwood never does anything by halfs, this could’ve been a predictable thriller score, but its transfixingly beautiful and gripping.
14. GOOD TIME (2017, Josh & Benjamin Safdie) – Oneohtrix Point Never
The most tense film has the most tense score. Clenched jaws.
13. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014, James Gunn) – Various Artists
James Gunn brought back the mixtape for Marvel’s first ‘out-there’ release, and it played like gangbusters.
12. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017, Matt Reeves) – Michael Giacchino
An iconic franchise needs an iconic score. Giacchino outdoes himself in the last of the Caesar Apes films.
11. INCEPTION (2010, Christopher Nolan) – Hans Zimmer
A score which spawned a million copycats. And they say mimic is the best form of flattery.
10. SHIN GODZILLA (2016, Hideaki Anno) – Shiro Sagisu
If Godzilla were to hit Tokyo, it’d be like the nuclear blast and visit from God that Shiro Sagisu’s score implies.
9. IT FOLLOWS (2015, David Robert Mitchell) – Disasterpiece
The heir to John Carpenter? The score by Disasterpiece is iconic and original.
8. ARRIVAL (2016, Denis Villeneuve) – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Losing Jóhann Jóhannsson was just heartbreaking. ARRIVAL was the first time his work was heard by the masses, and what a way to make an entrance.
7. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (2013, Joel & Ethan Coen) – Various Artists
A collection of folk songs could’ve just been a compilation. But this is expertly crafted, and damn, Oscar Isaac can sing.
6. TRON LEGACY (2010, Joseph Kosinski) – Daft Punk
TRON and Daft Punk are two things that had to exist together. A perfect symbiosis.
5. UNDER THE SKIN (2013, Jonathan Glazer) – Mica Levi
How do you make a completely alien score? Mica Levi nails the unease and otherworldly sounds of UNDER THE SKIN.
4. DRIVE (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn) – Cliff Martinez & Various Artists
My favourite Cliff Martinez score, and the most perfect compilation of songs for a film.
3. MANDY (2018, Panos Cosmatos) – Jóhann Jóhannsson
The final work from Jóhann Jóhannsson is, in my view, his best. The horror film that centres around a love story needs the music to go with it.
2. ANNIHILATION (2018, Alex Garland) – Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
The whole score by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury is just amazing. But its ‘The Alien’ that featured on the trailer and the film that made this score unique. I really don’t want to know how they made that sound.
1. THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010, David Fincher) – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
I listen to this score perhaps once a week. When Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won that Oscar it was the most deserved award I have ever been witness to. This is not just the best score of the decade, it is one of the best scores of all time.