In our second 2017 round-up piece, some of our writers have chosen the five best soundtracks from TV and film this year. From fluffy bears to gritty warfare, a good audio accompaniment can deeply affect how you view something, so read on to see some of the most effective audiovisual combinations to hit our screens and our ears this year.
5. Paddington 2 (film)
Directed by Paul King. Soundtrack by Dario Marianelli.
Everyone’s favourite marmalade sandwich-loving, anthropomorphic bear is back! With his duffle coat and bush hat, follow this cuddly cosmopolitan on his second lot of adventures. Although Dario Marianelli’s colourful and playful soundtrack caters to a younger crowd, it can be enjoyed by adults too, given Mister. P. Bear’s longevity, having been around since 1958!
Paddington tries his hand at barbering, accompanied by a playful, offbeat soundtrack.
4. Murder on the Orient Express (film)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Soundtrack by Patrick Doyle.
Here, Doyle effectively translates the unaccountable nature of a murder-mystery narrative into musical form. The soundtrack drives the crime plot forward with urgency, each piece stitched to the narrative of the next, like the carriages of a train, mirroring the claustrophobic nature of public transport and creating a whole piece of music that takes you from the plot’s inception to the service’s termination: ‘Justice’.
Poirot reveals the disturbing crime to the collected passengers, who are now suspects, the soft and sinister strings of the soundtrack only adding to the suspense.
3. Baby Driver (film)
Directed by Edgar Wright. Soundtrack by various artists.
From the thrashing guitars of heist anthem ‘Bellbottoms’, to the collaborative rap ballad ‘Chase Me’ (the piece features the inimitable talents of Big Boi and Run the Jewels), to the most haunting rendition of ‘Easy’ ever produced, this movie score stands amongst the greatest – and smartest – soundtracks of all time. Whilst acoustic covers usually induce an intense feeling of cringe worthiness deep within me (due to the schmaltz that all too often flows from them with alarming rapidity), Sky Ferreira’s nude take on Commodore’s soft rock classic reduces me, a persistent questioner of all things pertaining to musicals, to a state of intense baby-like weeping.
Baby and the crew rob a bank in this thrilling opening sequence, whilst Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion blares.
2. Dunkirk (film)
Directed by Christopher Nolan. Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
This is not an ‘epic battle’ soundtrack with bloody war cries, but an ode to realism, relaying the human experience of war. Zimmer’s use of simple, augmented motifs, like the unnerving ticking noise of either a bomb or a clock retains audience interest whilst demonstrating that it is possible for the smallest of changes to affect the outcome of war.
A wounded man needs to be taken to safety quickly, and Hans Zimmer’s repetitive, tense score seems to urge the men on as they carry his stretcher.
1. Stranger Things 2 (series)
Directed by The Duffer Brothers. Soundtrack by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon.
This soundtrack is – after two seasons – arguably bigger than the actual show, which, in itself, is amazing. Whilst the first season of Stranger Things was sewn together impeccably with 80s style synth sounds, the vast range of music in the latter – from fear provoking warbles, to melodic electro – has inspired a cult following of what is possibly the best soundtrack to have ever been created.
Surely by now one of the most iconic TV intros in recent memory.