Wednesday, January 14, 2015

15 best film tracks of 2014

By s. Wednesday, January 14, 2015 , , , , , , , , ,

90% of what I listen to is film music, so I had a lot of great thing to listen to in 2014 - it was one of the finest years for film music in recent memory. No matter who wins the Oscar this year - it's going to be well deserved. I'm going to choose the best scores in my huge best of list on Tuesday but for now let's listen to the year's best, most memorable and incredible tracks:

(I'm including Game of Thrones because the score for the show is on the levels of cinematic best,  I wish I could include tracks from Cliff Martinez fabulous The Normal Heart soundtrack but unfortunately it has not been released)

15. Sugar Storm (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl)

This is just lovely. The love theme for Nick and Amy, played twice in the movie at the crucial points of the story and everywhere in between, emerging a theme of the film, is just incredible. It sounds like winter, lights and something unreachable, indescribable. It brings the score from Dragon Tattoo to mind, but at the same time it's very distinctive.

14. Breaker of Chains (Ramin Djawadi, Game of Thrones

The soundtrack has always been one of the few consistently great things about the show and this track was featured in what was probably Dany's only good scene last year. The last 90 seconds of the track are truly incredibly beautiful.

13. Alan Turing's Legacy (Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game)
Leave it to the British to feature a beautiful moving music in a moving ending that would make you cry on its own to begin with.

12. Consummation (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl)
While Mica Levi's score for Under the Skin is odd, in 2014 there was no track stranger than 'Consummation' which accompanies the most gifed murder scene in years. This is a brilliant, brilliant track especially that it goes so well with the pulsing fade to black technique used to show this scene. We also, ingeniously, hear it during chilling scene with Amy pretending that she had miscarriage and over the film's ending credits. It's out of control, loud and almost sounds like something straight from hell. They got her.

11. Oathkeeper (Ramin Djawadi, Game of Thrones
 You probably won't believe it but there was something worse that happened to me in 2014 than the ending to Begin Again. The moronic, awful and heart breaking (and joy out of the watching of the show draining) omission of Lady Stoneheart from the last season of Game of Thrones. But here we have this gorgeous track from Djawadi, which I really hoped in its final fantastic 70 seconds will accompany the year's most shocking scene in both films and TV. Let's just hope we will hear that track again. Accompanying her, finally.

10. Love (Mica Levi, Under the Skin)

Mica Levi's ultra bizarre and other worldly score for Jonathan Glazer's recent film has received an amazing amount of love in blogging and film community. I think it's not as good as a stand alone work of art but it does wonders helping to conjure this strange atmosphere of the film. 'Love' is the best track in the bunch for me.

 9. Spooky Action at a Distance (SQURL, Only Lovers Left Alive)
Only Lovers Left Alive had plenty of awesome things in it but the most memorable one for me was the music Adam, the character played by Tom Hiddleston in the movie, was creating. In reality it was the compositions of SQUARL and the one we hear in the movie most often - Spooky action at the distance-  is the coolest of them all.

8. Teresa (Patrick Cassidy, Calvary)
The film was almost impossibly boring but there is one thing that kept me going - the music. It's almost worth seeing the film. But you'll do much better just listening to the score.

7. Appearances (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl)
This is the one from this score I listen to the most - it's so beautiful! I imagine Reznor and Ross working in almost clinical manner and here they come up with something filled with so much emotion. They were told to create fake, creepy sounds of massage parlours and they did that here but then the track becomes oddly sensual and gorgeous being the perfect illustration for the beginning of Amy and Nick's relationship.

6. The Anxious Battle for Sanity (Antonio Sanchez. Birdman) (the track starts at 21:48)

The Academy has done a lot of horrible things over the years. But deeming this soundtrack illegible for the Oscars is some serious fucking shit to pull. Its placement on this list should show you how amazing 2014 was when it comes to film music - I've been listening to this track on repeat for several days now but it's only 6th here, that's how many great tracks they were. Birdman's music is all around fantastic and that track, accompanying the film's incredible ending is the best one on the album.

5. No Time for Caution (movie version) (Hans Zimmer, Interstellar)
If Hans Zimmer gets nominated for Oscar tomorrow, the sound mixing guy should be nominated there too and yes for the work on the score. Because apparently he is the person who mixed in parts of 'Mountains' track with this one, making it so awesome. Then we had to suffer trough Zimmer's  original track release which sucks comparing to movie version - and was only released on 2nd bonus CD  - and after so much money grabbing and unprofessionalism the movie version, mixed by dedicated movie fans, is finally here. 10 points for music, -1 sense of respect for how the release of it was handled.

4. Technically Missing (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl)
While other tracks on the soundtrack may be easier to listen to, this is already so iconic. Fast, thrilling and unforgettable, much like the montage the song accompanies. It has elegance to it as well, after all this moment belongs to Amy.  

3. Running (Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Alexandre Desplat's score for The Imitation Game is the best thing he did in years. The film's lovely, catchy and memorable main theme is present in the film a lot but it's never more dynamic and emotional than in the film's crucial point - when the team manages to crack the code for the first time.

2. A Normal Family (Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything)

While the entire soundtrack is gorgeous in the movie and a bit forgettable on its own, this is the track that is just profoundly beautiful. It's much sadder and melancholic than most of the OST which captures the essence of the story so well. It's the single melody I remembered the most after the movie was over.

1. Mountains (Hans Zimmer, Interstellar) There are several moments in Interstellar when the movie rises from the depths of boring mediocrity and goes high above greatness to the levels of masterpiece. And in almost all of those moments Zimmer's music is the biggest contribution to that - the whole Mountains scene is expertly paced and filled with incredible tension, but it's Zimmer making a minimalistic track sound so insanely epic and grand in its end, ever rising, just like the waves in the scene, who deserves the highest praise. It starts with a single sound. It ends with a goddamn hurricane of sonic awesomeness.

The Best (and Worst) of 2014 list will be published on Tuesday, February 20th


  1. You're slaying with these 'best of' posts! Great roundup of one of the very best years for film scores EVER!

  2. God I love these! All of these. Ramin Djawadi never disappoints and the Gone Girl soundtrack is one of my favorites of the year. It definitely needs an Oscar nomination.

    And Birdman being ineligible is the biggest crock of shit I have ever heard. That score elevated the movie to a whole other level.

    Excellent post :)

    1. Thanks! Birdman score added such a great rhythm to the whole thing, it's a travesty they claim it's illegible

  3. Great post! The Birdman soundtrack has been on repeat on my Spotify. My co-workers are going to begin questioning my sanity soon, as it is very hard to sit still while listening to those drums! Undoubtedly, my favorite score since The Social Network.

    1. Thank you! It's so energetic, isn't it? I've been listening to it on repeat too :)

  4. Great choices here. Love to see Only Lovers Left Alive music here. Any of GoT soundtrack is just my favorite, including the one of opening credit.

    My favorite music from Interstellar is Cornfield Chase, it's so well paced and beautiful.

    1. Cornfield Chase almost made the list, fantastic track!

  5. Sugar Storm by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross & Love by Mica Levi YES!!!! :)
    I like Mountains, good point it's like the waves in the scene. This is first time I'm listening to Running and it's beautiful.
    In terms of what is not on your list, "Like Home" from Gone Girl & "Son of Placenta Previa" by Cliff Martinez would be among my top 15 score tracks of 2014

    1. Glad you like Running, it's such a gorgeous track!

      Like home is amazing and I'm definitely gonna listen to The Knick score, cannot believe the one for The Normal Heart wasn't released it's such a wonderful score

  6. These are all so good, your best of posts are seriously awesome. It's terrible that the Birdman score is ineligible, because so much of the tension and atmosphere that film had came from the score. Without it, Birdman wouldn't be as good as it was, in my opinion.

    1. Thank you! I think it would still be great but the score really gave it a wonderful rhythm

  7. Love the Gone Girl picks. They were in my top 100 of the year. I also like the inclusion of Only Lovers Left Alive,that was a cool soundtrack. And thanks for reintroducing me to those songs from Interstellar. Great list.

  8. I know you weren't a huge fan of Interstellar, but I'm glad we can both agree that the score was pretty solid. This whole list is pretty solid actually :)

    1. Thanks! The score was the best thing about it :P

  9. Great selections here Sati! Man, all the great tracks from Gone Girl here made me even more upset of all the GG shutouts by the Academy. I mean they see fit to give TWO noms to Desplat, granted I like both but really, I think what Reznor & Ross did is just as tremendous!

    1. Thank you! They seem to really hate GG :/

  10. Brilliant picks, as always. There were a ton of great scores last year. I might do a top 25 list soon, since I can only honor a mere 5 at the CinSpecs.