I am an avid fan of musical scores and soundtracks as much as I am a fanatic of movies and stand firm by the faith that a good musical score kinda redeems the movie to a fair degree. Movies are all about the audio-visual experience so if a good score can instill emotions in you, even if the movie as a whole could be considered garbage, its a winner. 2013 has been a wonderful year for the movies and the same goes for the soundtracks it featured. This year’s movies were charged with musical scores from composers high and low, old and new, and it was hard to make a list of the best OST/Score as it was saturated with music so good.
Hans Zimmer, undoubtedly, had to be on this list and what other composition of his than the Man Of Steel score. Ofcourse we also had The Lone Ranger and Rush composed by him this year but those two falls flat compared to Man Of Steel’s epic euphony.
“I was bound to allot a separate paragraph for Hans Zimmer being the true hardcore fan I am. The John Williams’ theme was sorely missed but Zimmer’s score had the right recipe for a superhero blockbuster. Of course he’s no stranger to composing for superhero movies having composed for The Dark Knight trilogy. The movie wouldn’t have been the same without Hans Zimmer’s splendid score. Much before the movie’s release I was anticipating the OST release but it was delayed until the movie’s release. But what I heard in the previews and the Nokia trailer had me revved up for the movie. Zimmer’s composition here, I felt, wasn’t as varied as his previous works including The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises, nonetheless he composed a steady stream of awe-inspiring tracks bringing the core theme of the movie to our ears… themes had consistent vibes of Hope, Heroism and it did sound awesome. Tracks which I loved came straight from the previews itself, “What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving the World?”, “I Will Find Him” & “Flight” stood out of the album.”
Must Listen to: I Will Find Him, Flight, What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving the World?
Brian Tyler, by now, is a household name in the music industry and if not, he should be. Be it action movies or games, this guy is nailing it all. Now initially I wasnt so impressed with Iron Man 3’s score the reason? I sorely missed the AC/DC songs that previous Iron Man movies’d featured. But the more I listened to it, the more I fell in love with it. Hell, I loved it to the point I set “Can you dig it” as my ringtone. That was one amazing track btw, served best towards the end credits where we were taken through a nostalgic ride through the previous Iron Man movies. Retro, redefined!
Must Listen to: Can You Dig It, Battle Finale
Pacific Rim’s Robots vs Monsters sequences were any adolescent boys wet dream. And for the perfect impact you also needed a rocking score. Pacific Rims score has been composed in the best interest to invoke exhilaration when you watch those giant Kaijus getting bashed by Jaegars and it does the job well. Enter Ramin Djawadi!
“Ramin Djawadi’s score is pure spellbinding. I need not give an example more than Game of Throne‘s booming score. He does his magic again here with Pacific Rim. His score with the awesome visuals is enough to induce goosebumps. It leaves us in awe and beckons to be heard again and again. Tracks like ‘Pacific Rim‘ and ‘Gipsy Danger‘ is pure awesomeness.”
Must Listen to: Pacific Rim, No Pulse, Gipsy Danger
Trance’s score shares alot with its visuals; its impossible to say what’s what. You float listening to the serene Bullet Cut and then be thrown about in The Heist and then get your funk on with Move on Up. Danny Boyle’s movies are what I’d call first class and couple it with his own selection of tracks to boot, it becomes another class entirely, the supreme class.
“Boyle has also had excellent flair in the music he’s featured in his movies. Trance has one of the best soundtracks featuring a resplendent score by Rick Smith and songs from various artists that fuels the visuals of the movie. From the very funky retro tunes of M People’s Moving on Up to the mellow-sung Sandman by Rosario herself. From the entrancing Bullet Cut to the adrenaline inducing The Heist, Trance’s OST beckons you to listen to it.”
Must Listen to: Moving On Up, Bullet Cut, The Heist
Now what did I just say? I told ya, Brian Tyler’s got it in him. Now You See Me’s score works a bit like magic itself. They show you how they all pull it off, but vaguely! And it just keeps you wondering. Brian Tyler’s compositions, for me, requires multiple listening to fall in love and when you do fall in love you just cant stop it. Now You See Me’s score is comprised of a mashup of genre’s and each one stands out. It just got stuck in my mind so much that even the Windows 8 notification tone resembled a track from the album. The album also consists of a lot of remixes which is where it gets best. I’d label this suitable for casual listening and charges you up at times. Keep a count coz there is lot more Brian Tyler to come.
Must Listen to: Now You See Me (Robert DeLong), Now You See Me (Spellbound Remix), Codec
Gravity could easily end up on anybody’s Best Movies of the Year list. A movie which has defined the space genre, Gravity’s visuals still haunts my minds and along with so does its eerie score. Composed by Steven Price, Gravity’s score is in perfect sync with the tension-filled visuals the movie offers.
“For a movie which is stripped much off its sounds, the score comes into play less often as expected but when it does, it does make for a terrifically tense experience. Two thumbs up for Steven Price’s captivating score.”
Must Listen to: Shenzou, Debris
James McAvoy’s British movies are packing the right punch these days, except if you count out the mildly entertaining Welcome to The Punch. Be it the immensely entertaining Danny Boyle psycho thriller Trance or Irvine Welsh-written Filth, the movies also features two of the best soundtracks. Trance already being on the list, it’s no surprise if Filth does too, especially when the score is composed by the ever-amazing Clint Mansell. Some of my all time favorite scores have been composed by Clint. From The Foutain to Requiem For a Dream and from Moon to Filth, this guy never ceases to surprise you with his captivating musical scores.
Must Listen to: Filthy, DS Bruce Robertson
Joseph Kosinski’s Tron Legacy was a visually rich and fitting sequel to its ancestor. And its Daft Punk Soundtrack is and will remain one of my favorite OSTs of all time. This years Oblivion followed a similar path though Daft Punk was replaced with compositions and score from Anthony Gonzalez/M.8.3/Joseph Trapanese. The score was fantastic and does have its shades and signatures of a Kosinski movie it was also a befitting score for a sci-fi movie.
“The progressive score and themes of Anthony Gonzalez/M.8.3/Joseph Trapanese had another unavoidable resemblance with Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack. While its touching and perfectly in sync with the visuals it wasn’t comparable to the sheer grandeur of Tron Legacy’s score.”
Must Listen to: Oblivion, Waking Up, Tech 49
Despicable Me 2’s score was ok but that track… Happy sung by Pharell Williams still brings a smile on my face. The last time I felt so was when I heard You make my Dreams Come True by Hall & Oats. Truly amazing performance and music by Pharell. And if you’d love to listen to 24 hours, www.24hoursofhappy.com will serve you just right.
“Pharrell Williams steps in once again as a composer for Despicable Me 2 and offers some good score as well as songs. Despicable Me’s title song was iterated and it was good. But the track Pharrell’s own ‘Happy’ along with the visuals was something that stuck in my head. That and some good tracks kept things moving”
Must Listen to: Happy, Despicable Me
Vince Gilligan, the creator of the epic series Breaking Bad had always got a good taste for music. As evident from El Paso by Marty Robbins to the climactic Baby Blue by Bad Finger. No other track would have done justice to the finale. And getting back to I found it was the most hummable/whistle-able song this season. Nuff’ Said! You can read more here
Must Listen to: Baby Blue, El Paso
The importance of a good score in videogames are a notch above from movies as videogames offer an unbelievable level of immersion and the music plays a huge huge role in it, even when you are on a headshot streak or mashing zombie heads to pulp, you are stirred up/constantly motivated by the score, subconsciously or not.
GTA was always known for its sandbox gameplay, its brilliant written characters and story and what was equally infamous was its soundtrack. Hop into a car and shuffle through the myriad of radio stations playing a cornucopia of music genres. GTA V excels at almost everything, gameplay, story, characters and but ofcourse music. Its soundtrack was one of the best I have come across comprising both the score and licensed tracks from the game. A Must Buy!
Must Listen to: Welcome to Los Santos, Change of Coast, The Set Up, A Haze of Patriotic Fever, Hear me Tonight
Remember the level from Tomb Raider The Last Revelation where you had to ride a Jeep through Egypt in and out of Pyramids? I guess not and then you might not even remember this track playing in the background. It was called Jeep Thrills Max and it was one of the memorable track for me, among many ofcourse. This years Tomb Raider reboot was a splendid action adventure game taking us to the roots of Lara Croft and with a great cinematic game comes an awesome soundtrack from Jason Greaves. The score for the most part was able to induce the right kind of emotions for me.
“Jason Graves’ score was amazing! He really pumped out a spectacular score, with such a strong musical thrust that it can be felt in your chest. Taking the intensity of the game and the multiple layers of the story and incorporating to equally as powerful music. Tomb Raider has gotten itself a new theme too and variations of the same were laid out perfectly throughout the game.”
Must Listen to: A Survivor is Born, Paying Respects
Featuring some of the best composers. the Assassin’s Creed franchise had always been on my best OST list. From Jesper Kyd to Lorne Balfe, Assassins Cred has had some AAA composers in its pockets and its no wonder why all Assassin’s Creed games had such great soundtracks. And this years’ Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is no different. Why? Brian Tyler, yet again. A Sweet soundtrack and I forgot how many times I’ve played the main theme in a loop.
Must Listen to: Main Theme, On The Horizon, The High Seas
The Last of Us is one of the reasons why we still play games. Developed by Naughty Dog Studios, The Last Of Us hurls you into a world crippled by a dreaded infestation and makes you care about characters who are truly worth investing emotions in, all the while promising a truly engrossing story and an immersive experience. Being a PS3 exclusive, it justifies having an expensive gaming console when you’ve got a perfectly capable and powerful PC.
Add to add the wonderful score of Gustavo Santaolalla. I haven’t heard of him before but boy is he good with strings. Just like the game, the score is assured to pull some strings on your emotions. The melancholic strings and piano syncs well with the story and gameplay. The Last Of Us owes great to its soundtrack to make it a cinematic experience.
Must Listen to: The Last of Us, All Gone (No Escape)
As evident as it is, I am a retro fan. I love old school games. Far Cry 3’s first DLC wasn’t what I expected from Ubisoft, it was a TC, a Total Conversion. A crazy idea to blend Far Cry 3’s gameplay mechanics to a cheesy, FPS stylised in 80’s style. And that crazy idea worked well for me. I loved it, the cheesy one liners, the retrograded environments, OTT action and most of all the friggin retro music. Composed by the Aussie electronic duo Power Glove, Far Cry Blood Dragon’s score is bound to throw you in a nostalgic vertigo. Two thumbs up for whomever (at Ubisoft) came with the idea.
Must Listen to: Blood Dragon Theme, Sloans Assault
“The music is one of the biggest pluses, often feeling like you are in too deep in an action movie. Composed by Mike Zarin and Tony Hajjar, its one of the high points of the game and is equally responsible for immersing you. Though thumbs down for Eric Johnson as Sam Fisher’s voice, I just couldn’t buy into his constant badassery.”
Must Listen to: Entire OST
“Awesome, awesome western score beefs things up leaving you in a constant state of Western Spaghetti. Brownie points for the score keeping things immersive.”
Must Listen to: Menu Theme, Borderland Stream