Even before filmmakers were even able to record and sync sound, movies and music have been tied together. Back then, music was played on a piano or an organ. Now, some of the world’s greatest composers write scores that can stand as works of art separate to the films they accompany, while often doing so much to make those works memorable. Or filmmakers curate killer compilations of songs familiar and new that can lead to some of movies’ most memorable moments (and an overlooked song being revived).
What would Spielberg’s career be without John Williams’ “Jaws” score? Or Martin Scorsese’s without The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby?” We’ve always had a special focus on the crossover of music and movies, and as such, one of our favorite year-end pieces to do is our list of the Best Scores and Soundtracks of the previous year (as of last year, including TV as well).
From car chase musicals to futuristic synths, from The Roadhouse to the Sunken Place, from The Dave Matthews Band to The Psychedelic Furs, it’s been a hell of a year for scores and soundtracks, and below you’ll find our 25 faves, along with a chance to listen to them. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.
Click here for our full coverage of the best of 2017, includingBest Cinematography, Posters, Trailers, Horror, our Best Films Of The Year, and the 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2018
25. Dario Marianelli – “Darkest Hour”
He’s worked with other composers (The Chemical Brothers memorably on “Hanna,” John Powell less so on “Pan”), but Joe Wright’s best movies, and best scores, have always come courtesy of Dario Marianelli, who he’s worked with consistently since “Pride & Prejudice,” to the tune of one Oscar (for “Atonement”) and two further nominations. Marianelli’s music for Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour” might not be as inventive as the typewriter clacks in “Atonement” or the almost balletic work on “Anna Karenina,” but it’s undoubtedly a handsome and memorable score that’s far more interesting than most period pieces. Written in part before shooting even began, as is often the case with the pair’s collaboration (and one of the reasons they always feel so entwined with each other), the urgency of Marianelli’s piano and the majesty of his strings and horns give the film the energy it needs to propel it, culminating, as it must, in one of the year’s most gorgeous cues in “We Shall Fight,” as it underlines Churchill’s unforgettable address. Even in a competitive year for scores, it would be a real shock if Marianelli didn’t get a fourth Oscar nod this time around.