No that’s not a typo, we really mean 2013. Since it’s technically still Oscars month, we decided to keep the celebration going, with our picks for the best songs from all the *Oscar-eligible* movies from last year.
From Baz Luhrman’s Great Gatsby soundtrack to pretty much all of Llewyn Davis, there were a lot of great tunes on the big screen and these are just a few of ours. Did we miss any of your faves? Let us know below!
Click here to listen to the entire list (most of the songs) on Spotify!
Love is an Open Door by Kristen Bell & Santino Fontana – Frozen
You didn’t think we’d make a list of the best movie songs WITHOUT a song from Frozen, did you? I personally think Let It Go is a fine song, but it’s not my favorite from the whole bunch. I basically switch between this song and For the First Time in Forever when pretending I’m Kristen Bell in my car and belting out these songs. Don’t pretend you don’t too. I’M 28 YEARS OLD, FOLKS.
Over The Love by Florence + The Machine – The Great Gatsby
We mentioned this briefly during the Oscars Live Blog, but we loved The Great Gatsby. Haters to the left. One of the best things about a Baz Luhrman film is that the music will always be top notch. This is no different. One of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack is Florence + The Machine (expect more Gatsby on this list). It’s a haunting song, like more Florence songs, but there’s an elegance to it, much like Gatsby. And I mean it has the words ‘green light’ in it. Come on! Slash Florence make new music kthxbye.
Bad Girls by M.I.A. – The Bling Ring
Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I really liked The Bling Ring. It showed everything that’s wrong with kids (and adults)’ obsession with celebrities and how it can be taken to the extreme. It was like a 2 hour psychology project in film form. This song is perfect for the look and tone of Sofia Coppola’s film, and it always remind me of Emma Watson saying:
Silhouettes by Of Monsters and Men – Catching Fire
While I definitely loved Catching Fire better than The Hunger Games, film wise, I can easily say the first soundtrack was much better than the second. But, this song is an exception – it perfectly encapsuslates Katniss and Peeta’s relationship both in the Games and life outside of it, and Of Monsters and Men does a great job of giving the song an eerie feeling that I assume one would get if ever faced in the Capitol. Especially with President Snow.
Ride Like the Wind by Robin Thicke featuring Ron Burgundy – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
When the first Anchorman came out, it was the summer before I was a freshman in college, and I remember thinking it was the funniest movie I had ever seen in my life. I would quote it constantly and listen to Afternoon Delight as like a pasttime. But a lot as changed since 2004. I’d like to think my humor has changed slightly – but I was delightfully surprised when Anchorman 2 came out and while the jokes were much different, the tone was the same and I still couldn’t stop laughing. My face literally hurt afterwards. In saying this, not only do I genuinely like this ‘yacht rock’ track originally by Christopher Cross, but the interjections from Ron are on point. It’s the perfect thing to listen to if you need to brighten your day.
***Special shout out to the best ‘musical moment’ from a movie in 2013 – James Franco & the girls in Spring Breakers. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what scene I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I suggest you should try giving the movie a shot, and this might seem kind of weird and out of place, but it totally works in the movie. Here they are singing Britney Spears’ Everytime.***
Please Mr. Kennedy by Justin Timberlake – Inside Llewyn Davis
I don’t know how this wasn’t nominated for Best Original Song, but I’m sure the Cohen Brothers will find consolation that it made the Cookies + Sangria playlist of the month. This is a satire (well… maybe it feels a bit more like pastiche?) of 60s protest songs, begging President Kennedy not to “shoot me into outer space,” and it is awesome.
100$ Bill by Jay-Z – The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby and Frozen were my favorite soundtracks of the year, without a doubt. I love how a lot of the tracks feature jazz horns or riffs from classic old-school songs, but there’s a lot of modern hip hop in there too. Luhrmann’s interpretations are more about the spirit of the material and not the letter of it. Were they listening to Jay-Z in the 20s? … Okay, actually… maybe.
But more importantly, the flappers and sheiks at Jay Gatsby’s crazy parties weren’t listening to the establishment’s music on their Victrola, they were listening to the new and scandalous stuff. Rap and electro are to the 2000s as jazz was to the 1920s. I want to put the whole soundtrack on here, but let’s leave it at this track.
Roll Jordan Roll by John Legend – 12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave was scored by Hans Zimmer, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a T-Bone Burnett work when you listen to this reworked spiritual. Music is central in 12 Years A Slave, both because of Northrup’s violin skills and the use of music in slave life. Roll Jordan Roll occurs in a pivotal moment in the film, and this great John Legend version was released on the soundtrack – feeling a bit more like one of the Civil Rights-era reinterpretations of classic spirituals. Sad and surprising coincidence: Like Solomon Northrup, some of Legend’s ancestors were also free Northerners who were kidnapped into slavery.
Also, if you are a combination history nerd-music nerd, you should check out this interview with Nicholas Britell, who mined original sources to create music for the film that sounded true to the time period.
Happy by Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2
Yes, this song is everywhere. But it’s so infectiously, well, happy. Especially after the all-star dance party to this tune at the Oscars – and my many no-star dance parties to this song with one of my favorite three-year-olds – I can’t help but smile when I hear this.
If I Needed You by The Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass Band – The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Belgian bluegrass scene? Yes, it’s real. Just give this movie and soundtrack a shot – it’s the best heartbreaking movie about music since Once. But just a warning: it’s a beautiful film, but very, very sad. If you’re not in a good mental place for that, at least listen to the soundtrack, full of re-imagined Bluegrass and country standards, like this song better known as sung by Townes van Zandt and Emmylou Harris.