Feb 15 2013

My Ten Favorite Instrumental Movie Tracks from the Last Ten Years

Published by at 12:00 pm under Lists,Movies,Videos

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I’ve said before on the site that people always make fun of me because my musical tastes revolve around movies, video games and the trailers for movies and video games.

Whatever, I won’t apologize for it. Movies have produced some truly fantastic tracks over the years, and I decided to take a look back and really nail down my favorite instrumental pieces from the movies of the last decade. Some are fully orchestral, some are a bit more relaxed, others are modern.

You can check out my top ten picks below, and actually listen to them as well. Way to not suck for once YouTube! Also, add your own picks in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

10. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – Rather Lovely Thing (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH0b2TooTxY

I can’t say I have too terribly much love for the film, I found both its title and its content rather bloated, but the soundtrack was simply incredible, and made the film bearable. This was my favorite track from the bunch.

9. Daft Punk – Derezzed (Tron Legacy)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLfiLw6qz84

I thought that Daft Punk was really overlooked for their excellent soundtrack in Tron Legacy. It’s rare to see a film scored in this style, but it perfectly fit the style of the film. This song was playing as Daft Punk actually appeared onscreen and DJ-ed a fight scene.

8. Clint Mansell – The Nursery (Moon)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G0kIAaZvtg

Moon is a beautiful film with a soundtrack to match. I was in no way surprised to learn that Clint Mansell was the man behind it. This track is from when Sam first discovers what’s underneath his station, but I won’t say anything past that, lest there are some of you who don’t know the twist.

7. Hans Zimmer – Molossus (Batman Begins)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZst_2xJHAI

We’ve come a long way from “Na na na na na na na na Batman!” This Zimmer track is now officially the “Batman song” when people think of tracks from any of Nolan’s trilogy. Play this while you’re doing ANYTHING and you’ll find yourself doing it 100% more badass-ly.

6. Clint Mansell – Together We Will Live Forever (The Fountain)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XZkLmomNgA

Another great Mansell track, this one from a controversial movie that few people didn’t really “get.” I’ll admit that I was one of them, but the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack accompanying the gorgeous visuals made it a worthwhile experience.

5. Gheorghe Zamfir – The Lonely Shepherd (Kill Bill Vol. 1)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qsgBF7ZIsk

Kill Bill barely made the cut, out in 2003, but obvious Tarantino knows how to put together a soundtrack. He doesn’t use all that many instrumental pieces ,but when he does, they’re incredible, and I’ve been listening to The Lonely Shepherd for the last decade.





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22 responses so far

  • Griffin

    I love this list and your choices for it

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the list! I love this kind of music. And seeing that you have a smattering of my favorite songs I’ll definetly have to give the others a try.

  • Frank

    I’m surprised that not one Cocteau Twins song made the list.

  • starr

    one of my favs is the “forest battle” on the transformer 2 sound track. I forget who did it, but it is inspiring.

  • http://commanderbedlam.com Benny Bedlam

    Wah, expect ‘Nursery’ from Moon to always make me bawl. From your list, we definitely share the same taste when it comes to ‘Time’ and John Murphy’s ‘Adagio in D Minor.’

    Here’s a couple of my favorites! Some are way past 10 years ago, but I’ll share it anyway.

    CLU from TRON LEGACY (Daft Punk)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3F2pr2FbfQ

    I like how this track matches the tense progression of the scene. I think this is an excellent piece for an epic confrontation scene that ensues in a battle.

    In Time Main Theme by Craig Armstrong
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTKgwB5HxuI

    Although the movie could have been better, I still enjoyed it as a sucker for dystopian science fiction. Armstrong’s theme was well-done and suitable for the film. The track might be short, but the impact is there.

    Panoramic from Book of Eli (Atticus Ross)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSwyJ0aaM4k

    I once mentioned in a review for Paul’s book- The Last Exodus that this was the track I listed to while reading his book. Why? When I first heard the track in Book of Eli, it stood out. It evoked a strange feeling of both emptiness and hope. Thus, whenever I think of a post-apocalyptic world… I hear the Panoramic track.

    The Departure from Gattaca (Michael Nyman)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26-migpeVJM

    Actually, it’s unfair for me to just mention one track from this album since I thoroughly enjoyed every song. I honestly felt like I was Jerome while watching the film mostly because the music swayed you along the journey as well. For the sake of picking one, The Departure is the track that tugs my heartstrings the most.

    Hand Covers Bruise from Social Network (Trent Raznor and Atticus Ross)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFyds_YXwII

    Yes, Ross again but this time with Trent Raznor. There’s simply so much to say about this track despite its simplistic composition. It evokes a sense of calm. Sort of like a calm before the storm to appropriately describe it.

    Gotham’s Reckoning from The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCCrrfpAWMs

    Like Gattaca, I think I pretty much enjoyed the whole album. However, I love Gotham’s Reckoning the best especially the part in the beginning that resembles ‘flight of the bumble bees.’ The whole Deshi Basara chant helps too! haha

    Good Will Hunting Main Title by Danny Elfman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TnCQH-i6Go

    HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES??? Hahaha. This is my number one track I listen to when I need some confidence to pick me up from a rough spot.

    Man, I feel like I wrote a post of my own hahaha.

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      Good list! I’m giving some of these a listen as we speak.

      I actually quite liked In Time.

  • David R

    Bridge of Khazad Dum is only cheating because it was, um, more than ten years ago ;). The best track from that movie is “Bag End,” anyway. That said, I can get with several of these, and there’s definitely a common quality most of them have.

    There’s not a chance in hell I could make a definitive list, but ten that soon spring to mind (assuming we’re allowing choirs, because like, all of these have choirs) are:

    A Window to the Past — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Test Drive (or Forbidden Friendship) — How to Train Your Dragon
    160 BPM — Angels & Demons
    Anakin’s Betrayal – Revenge of the Sith
    Prologue — Lady in the Water
    The Last Man – The Fountain
    Woad to Ruin – King Arthur
    Reboot – Speed Racer
    Main Title – Corpse Bride
    Welcome to Lunar Industries – Moon

    • http://www.unrealitymag.com Paul Tassi

      Oh damnit, I thought LOTR was 2003 for some reason.

  • Vince

    Surprised Tron isn’t higher, and that the Social Network didn’t make the list. Those were definitely the first two that came to mind for me when I saw this article.

  • bpm

    Zimmer’s Batman song didn’t really hit me until The Dark Knight Rises last summer.

    Before that I always hated that Batman didn’t have as catchy a theme as the one Elfman gave the Burton movies.

    But the scene when Batman finally returned on the bike after the Wall Street heist…that was the moment when I realized just how awesome that tune is; how well it stays with you, and how perfect it is for that interpretation of the character.

  • http://commanderbedlam.com Benny Bedlam

    I was expecting In Time to blow me away like Inception that’s all. I really did enjoy it though… probably one of my favorites. I love Niccol’s films (Gattaca, S1MONE, Truman Show)! It’s like the same vein as Nolan’s brilliance.

    Niccol has this new movie coming out called “The Host.” The fact that it is a film adaptation of a Stephanie Meyer (Twilight series) novel worries me. Hopefully, he can take the cheese out of it!

  • Lord Tywin

    Also…
    “Sidottu” by 76, from the movie The Jacket (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4RmS3InvCk)
    “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky, from the movie Friday Night Lights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzIK5FaC38w)

  • Kyle

    Clint Mansell’s score for Mass Effect 3 (I know the list is for movies but i Clint Mansell is in the list a couple times and it reminded me). Especially “Leaving Earth”.

  • Kyle

    Every time I hear “The Surface of the Sun” it takes me back to one of the greatest scenes in cinema and I get chills. Beautiful music for a beautiful movie.

  • Requiem

    “Kaneda, what do you see? Kaneda!”

    I personally will never get bored of listening Storm Shelter from the Take Shelter soundtrack ( http://youtu.be/Vl4oERwGJWs ), the escalation makes the last two minutes so powerful.

    Glad to see The Fountain in your list too, the movie has a wonderful soundrack.

  • Justin

    #2 made me want to go out and live my entire life. It’s both emotionally powerful and inspiring at the same time. Just a beautiful piece of art.

  • Lord Caldlow

    Here are several off the top of my head that I feel also deserve some mention up in this:

    “Like a Dog Chasing Cars” from The Dark Knight:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0ynjjk2c7Y

    “Death is the Road to Awe” from The Fountain:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihF_aXi-Huk

    “Magneto” from X-Men: First Class:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgU1HzqtX-E

    “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” from Kill Bill, Vol. 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Rgwqa3c0o

    “Rescue Mission” from Watchmen:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1A0CWuAlGU

    “Tick of the Clock” from Drive:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVgJfgtXOMA

    “The End?” from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DPxO2hcaYE

  • eLTeezy

    Nothing from The Grey?! WTF!

  • Katie

    Michael Giacchino’s work on Star Trek (2009) ought to be mentioned, especially “Labor of Love”. Tears every time.

  • Powers

    Forget Star Trek, what about Giacchino’s score for The Incredibles?

  • Q

    The Divide – Running after my fate

  • alttext

    Beasts of the Southern Wilds has a great score. Deserves consideration – especially since the movie is lackluster without it.

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