20 best movie and TV soundtracks of the decade, according to critics – Business Insider

Posted in Tattoo Nightmares on Nov 27, 2019

captionMidsommar takes place in a rural Swedish village.sourceA24

Film scores dominated critics favorites among soundtracks aggregated on Metacritic from 2010-2019.

Radioheads Johnny Greenwood stood out as a composer whose every album was a hit, from Phantom Thread to The Master, as did Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, for films like the Oscar-winning The Social Network.

Soundtracks curated by music superstars like Kendrick Lamars Black Panther and Lordes Hunger Games: Mockingjay also scored highly with critics.

Because outlets dont regularly review every soundtrack released, notable albums were left off this list, including fan favorites like La La Land, Baby Driver, Drive and even best score Oscar winners like The Shape of Water, Gravity and others.

Here are 20 of the best soundtracks from this decade so far, according to critics.

Metacritic Score: 86/100

Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood collaborated with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson four times, and Phantom Thread is considered by critics to be his best work yet.

He matches the eclecticism of Andersons playlist with a pastiche that draws from Beethovenian harmony, kinetic post-minimalism a la John Adams, and arch, jazz-influenced French modernism, says Winston Cook-Wilson in Spin. The score also makes room for some of the squeaking and shrieking string-orchestra dissonance that feels wholly Greenwood-esque by this point in his career. Taken together, the music achieves an out-of-time quality while remaining redolent of Andersons period setting.

Metacritic Score: 86/100

Midsommar director Ari Aster listened to Bobby Krlic, aka the Haxan Cloak, as he was writing one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies of the year, and then asked the musician to score the finished product, culminating in a soundtrack as well-received as the film itself.

The result is transfixing, gorgeous, and terrifying at once, says Margaret Farrell in Pitchfork. Even without the film, Krlics revelatory work stands on its own.

Metacritic Score: 85/100

The 1980s inspired Nicolas Cage horror film Mandy demanded an equally heavy metal and psychedelic musical backing, and Icelandic composer Jhann Jhannsson delivered, working on the soundtrack right up until the films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival just a month before he died.

Katie Rife of The AV Club says the soundtrack marks a turning point in his musical style, an embrace of the lush and layered as well as the heavy and metallic. Realizing that, and thinking about what could have come next, makes his death all the more tragic.

Metacritic Score: 84/100

For their third collaboration of the 2010s after the Oscar-winning The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher tasked Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross with scoring the tense and twisty-turny tale of a dysfunction marriage gone very, very wrong. But the resulting album was very, very right.

These complicated combinations of sounds and feelings suggest that Reznor and Ross are nearly as skilled at emotional manipulation as the films characters, said Heather Phares in AllMusic.

Metacritic Score: 83/100

Netflixs Stranger Things is an over-the-top homage to all things 80s, but composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein put together a much more subdued soundtrack to back the monster-fighting story, much to critics delight.

The canvas they paint on is remarkably spare and restrained, said Saby Reyes-Kulkarni in Pitchfork. At any given point, it feels as if there are only a handful of sounds in the stereo field, and what at first comes off as a limited range slowly reveals itself as the opposite.

Metacritic Score: 82/100

Jhann Jhannssons second appearance on this list is also his third collaboration with Arrival director Denis Villeneuve, this time crafting a sparse, haunting soundtrack to lay over the story of a scientist who tries to communicate with an alien species that lands on earth.

Rob Wacey of AllMusic called the album a great piece of film score work, delivering menacing, daunting cacophonies of noise that evoke all types of fear, wonder, and intrigue that are evident within the movie itself.

Metacritic Score: 82/100

According to Elisa Bray in The Independent, Thom Yorke likened composing music for Luca Guadagninos horror remake to making spells, fitting for a remake of the classic Dario Argenta film about a Berlin dance academy that descends into nightmare.

Bray describes the score as containing unnerving cinematic ambience pitch-bending violins, the threatening hum of deep synths interrupted by bursts of soul-juddering sound, and the tension of melodies unresolved. Angular piano motifs return throughout, drawing the listener back into a familiar sense of dread.

Metacritic Score: 81/100

Hereditary is the second film of director Ari Aster to make the best soundtracks of the decade list. Once again, Aster turned to an unexpected musician to help him layer this story of a familys nightmarish secrets: Arcade Fire saxophonist Colin Stetson.

Zach Kelly of Pitchfork praises the album for its music and also its willingness to let wide-open trenches of silence do much of the heavy lifting throughout the film, only to slowly suck you back down into a dank well of insular terror after the collective exhale has begun. In these rare moments of calm, Stetsons cautiously beautiful, fairytale-like asides begin to read more and more sinister.

Metacritic Score: 80/100

Kendrick Lamar curated the soundtrack for Marvels Black Panther and also sings on five of its tracks, resulting in an album that is critically acclaimed for being anything but another forgettable blockbuster soundtrack.

The tracks play it safe, but the project itself does not, says Clayton Purdom in The AV Club, calling the album an audacious exertion of energy from one of the planets most universally revered musicians.

Metacritic Score: 80/100

Robert Pattinson crime thriller Good Time demanded a pulsing electronic music backing and Daniel Lopatin, working under his moniker Oneohtrix Point Never, more than delivered according to critics sensibilities.

Its a masterful job of homage, and all those pulsating synths and cavernous low tones give the film much of its swagger, and they promise to intensify your own, far less exciting commute as well, said Sean ONeal in The AV Club.

Metacritic Score: 79/100

Johnny Greenwoods third collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson on 2014s adaptation of Thomas Pynchons Inherent Vice called for a dazed and confused romp through 1970s Hollywood.

The soundtrack is a pungent, incoherent, occasionally haunting trifle, said Jayson Greene in Pitchfork. The feeling is of a bunch of intelligent and talented people trying on a bunch of funny-colored clothing and giggling at each other. If youre not wearing the costumes, theres a limit to just how entertained by all of it you can be.

Metacritic Score: 79/100

Quentin Tarantinos Hateful Eight marked the first time Ennio Morricone had scored a Western in over 30 years, and the music has more in common with his later, more traditional work, but the master is still at very much at the top of his game.

You might guess that after this long, hed have to make increasingly complex pieces to find new things to say. Yet the opposite is true, said Marc Masters in Pitchfork. His melodies are still simple, relying on a few notes to form a backbone from which he never strays far. His arrangements and flourishes build momentum, but the core is always powerfully uncluttered. Morricone trusts that a few strong musical ideas can supply lots of atmosphere and emotion throughout an epic-length film.

Metacritic Score: 78/100

Even more music from Stranger Things composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein was released in a second volume, though critics were slightly cooler on the more supernaturally-tinged follow-up.

Volume Two echoes the series progressively perilous shift toward the supernatural, a track like Danger Danger pivoting from the evocation of bike-riding best buds toward the debut of a demoniacal monster in a parallel universe, said Neph Basedow in The Austin Chronicle.

Metacritic Score: 78/100

The A Star Is Born soundtrack impressed critics, both for its ability to showcase something new in a movie thats remade more often than any other, and for the songwriting abilities of the movies two leads, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

The songs from the early portion of the movie are almost impenetrably perfect, said Brittany Spanos in Rolling Stone. Gaga and Cooper take the lead on writing their own songs for most of the album. With Lukas Nelson and sometimes Gagas help, Cooper found the blues-inflected, country-rock soul of Jackson Maine with gritty, down-home lyrics propelled by the Nelson-led band that backs Maine both on- and off-stage. Coopers voice, lowered for the film to create the world-weary, addiction-addled Maine, is surprisingly great, either crackling like a pit of fire when he begins to holler or settling into a warm, smoky rasp during the ballads.

Metacritic Score: 77/100

Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto had no choice but to put together a monster of a score to back up Alejandro G. Irritus survival tale starring Leonardo Dicaprio. The story features one character, mostly alone in the wilderness, which left him with little to no human interaction.

The resulting product is huge in scope, with 23 tracks clocking in at an hour and 10 minutes, but is unnervingly hushed in execution, said John Garrett in PopMatters. Leonardo DiCaprios character Hugh Glass may have been violently assaulted by a grizzly bear, leading to abandonment and a fight for his life, but the music rarely approaches a forte dynamic. Its a 70-minute low boil, an astounding amount of tension that never achieves its sweet release.

Metacritic Score: 77/100

Lorde curated the soundtrack for the third film in the Hunger Games YA film franchise and also sings on four of the songs, leading it to be the most critically-acclaimed of the series.

Thanks to [Lordes] vision, and her grip on the series most important thematic elements, the 50 minutes of music behind Mockingjay Part 1 ably function as both a glance at 2014s finest purveyors of complex, downcast pop and a complement to the start of the series chaotic, brutal conclusion, said Jamieson Cox for Billboard.

Metacritic Score: 76/100

Pablo Larrains Jackie followed Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination of John F. Kennedy but was more experimental than just a traditional biopic, requiring a score to match.

Levis score is as powerful a presence as Jackie herself, and its creativity is more appropriate than more traditional music would have been, said Heather Phares in AllMusic.

Metacritic Score: 76/100

David Finchers The Social Network is one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2010, with the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, in their first collaboration with the director, no exception.

Reznor and Ross have pulled off something fairly remarkable here, creating a record that couldve existed on its own as an original NIN production, but serves almost perfectly as the sonic document of the evolution of an online phenomenon that began in the dorms of Harvard and eventually took over Silicon Valley, said Kiran Aditham of Lost at Sea.

Metacritic Score: 74/100

Every time Radioheads Johnny Greenwood and director Paul Thomas Anderson work together it seems to be magic to critics ears, and The Master, the thinly-veiled deconstruction of Scientology, is no exception.

This uneasy listening provides a masterful backdrop for Andersons film and also makes for fascinating listening in its own right, while once again separating Greenwood from more predictable composers, said Heather Phares in AllMusic.

Metacritic Score: 74/100

The often-derided Twilight franchise came to an end with Breaking Dawn Part 2, but its soundtracks were often lauded, culminating in the highest-rated album yet in 2012.

From Passion Pits church-bell ringer Where I Come From to Christina Perris violin-strung A Thousand Years (Part 2), theres one grand-ballroom epic after another ranging from ethereal (Bittersweet from Ellie Goulding) to awesomely sludgy (St. Vincents The Antidote), said Melissa Maerz in Entertainment Weekly.

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20 best movie and TV soundtracks of the decade, according to critics - Business Insider

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