It was a great year for movie scores and original songs, and one made particularly memorable by the addition of so much new blood in an industry where the veterans usually float to the top. Sure, there was typically great work by the old standbys like Thomas Newman, Hans Zimmer, and Alexandre Desplat, but some of the most memorable and affecting music was by fresh meat. And the original songs? Who in 2011 would’ve thought Lana Del Rey would be recording a song for a Baz Luhrmann movie in 2013 - and not just any song, but one played multiple times during the film’s most climactic scenes. Not me! Nope! But here we are.
So what were the 10 best scores and 5 best original songs of 2013? Let’s find out before we’re no longer young and beautiful.
The Top Ten Movie Scores of 2013
10. The Place Beyond the Pines - Mike Patton
I did not like The Place Beyond the Pines. Or, I didn’t like the final third of The Place Beyond the Pines. The movie has three very distinct acts with jarring transitions between each, but everything apart from the screenplay remains consistently polished, especially Mike Patton’s unique and wonderful score. It’s a noisy, thunderous piece of orchestration—complete with reverberating electric guitars and terrifying choral arrangements straight out of Candyman—but boy does it sound good. Out of context, the score loses a bit of its theatrical oomph, but “The Snow Angel” is an extraordinary piece of music whenever you listen to it. Ugh. Maybe I should give this movie another chance. Standout Track: “The Snow Angel”
9. Stoker - Clint Mansell
Clint Mansell is one of my favorite composers, and I had the pleasure of hearing him perform this score live earlier in 2013 before seeing Stoker. It’s unsettling —even for him (he composed the Requiem for a Dream score, for Pete’s sake)—but it's also the only thing that propels the otherwise disappointing film it surrounds forward. And if you get the chance to see him live (he’s one of the few composers I know of who performs with some regularity), go go go. Standout Track: “The Hunter Becomes the Game”