Featured: Top 5 Movie Scores of 2013
This is one of my favorite parts of film and for a lot of films, it’s an essential piece as well. The score in some instances can almost work as another character if done well. For many films this year, the score added important layers, fun beats or just needed to enhance some good ole action sequences. The scores are also a defining piece to film. When it comes on, you don’t need but two seconds to recognize the themes of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Transformers and many other scores. They’re fun and who doesn’t like good music in a film?
So far we’ve discussed our Top 5 Movie Surprises, our Top 5 Movie Disappointments, and the Top 5 Worst of 2013. Trying to condense this list down for our Top 5 Movie Scores of 2013 was a bit of nightmare. There were so many great scores to consider that made this list difficult to choose. However, these scores are more than worthy of making this list and deserve to be here.
That being said, let’s get into our Top 5 Movie Scores of 2013.
5) Only God Forgives – Cliff Martinez
As much of a disappointment as Only God Forgives was, the score was incredible. In fact, it was one of the few things we liked about the film, and since it saved the film from being a complete disaster, it makes this list. It serves the somber mood and adds some really nice energy in the second and third acts. The kind of layers Martinez was able to add was really ambient and added to the style Nicholas Winding Refn was going for. While most of the film is arduous and unlikable, the score doesn’t really reflect that. It’s energetic and fun to listen to. Click here to read our full review.
4) Nebraska – Mark Orton
Mark Orton’s score for Nebraska is absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. The main themes while Woody and David Grant were on their little road trip was fun and nostalgic all at the same time. Mostly driven by a violin and an acoustic guitar, this score was absolutely perfect for this film. It has a mid-western country feel that was also appropriate. Even if you haven’t seen this small indie flick, the soundtrack is available online and worth getting. Click here to read our full review.
3) Gravity – Steven Price
Steven Price’s Gravity score was not only good, but it was absolutely crucial to the film. In a film that takes place where there is no sound, the score is the only audio we hear besides a few voices now and then. The score is so gigantic and loud, that it becomes another character in the film. It’s relevant on every level and in every moment of the film. Price uses a really nice orchestra with some amazing main themes that separates this movie from many this year. In a film where visuals and Sandra Bullock’s performance can be the biggest takeaway, the score here is just as crucial to this film’s success. Click here to read our full review.
2) All is Lost – Alex Ebert
Much like Gravity, Alex Ebert’s score is crucial here. All is Lost has very little dialogue and relies on the performance of Robert Redford to carry the film (which he does well by the way). Since that’s the case, the score is big component here and Ebert delivers on some really high levels. The score brings the storm, calms the waves and offers the despair that carried the tone to the movie. And while it’s soft, Ebert delivers it with grace and diligence. This is a wonderful score that really takes this film to much higher places, even with Redford’s performance. Click here to read our full review.
1) Rush – Hans Zimmer
Let’s be honest, Hans Zimmer’s had one heck of a year and just about all of his films could be here. His score for Rush however added an element that is just absolutely unbelievable. His theme for this film is one of the best I’ve ever heard and adds so much energy to the film and the story. We’re dealing with two Formula-1 racers who live dangerously at high speeds and the score needed to reflect that. The score is easy and laid back at times but when the race is on, so is the score. Zimmer uses a lot of heavy drums to carry the beat alongside the strings that bring the theme to life. Ron Howard uses it fantastically too, especially in the opening and closing scenes, which take that main theme to the forefront. Click here to read our full review.
The track Lost But Won is one of the best of the year and if you’d like to listen to it, click here. The whole score is amazing though and it’s one of the best and most surprising works we’ve ever seen.
There are about a million honorable mentions that could be listed here. Zimmer’s work on Man of Steel, 12 Years A Slave and the Lone Ranger were also great. The Finale (Willem Tell Overture) track absolutely made the last 20 minutes of the Lone Ranger some of the best fun we saw all year in film. Cliff Martinez and Skrillex’s score for Spring Breakers came very, very close to making this list. You may as well make it #6 to be honest. Their collaboration for that film was perfect and another layer that was needed for that film to work. M83 may have had frustrations with his work for Oblivion but it still stands as one of the year’s best. The score is very unique to his sounds and is fun to listen to outside the film. Explosions in the Sky’s score for Prince Avalanche was also very good and is executed only in the way they know how to. Craig Armstrong’s music for The Great Gatsby alongside Lana Del Ray singing through a lot of it was also very close to making this list. How can you not love that score? And of course, I can’t go without mentioning my boy, Steve Jablonsky, who had some incredible scores for Pain & Gain and Ender’s Game.
Let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree? What scores did I miss? Leave a comment in the comment section below or tweet me @InSessionFilm.