Readers Poll – Top 10 Film Scores of 2009
Over 150 people voted and over 1,000 votes were cast. Now the results of the first annual readers poll for the Top 10 film scores of the year are in. (Well, actually it’s the Top 11, since there was a tie.) While I expected certain scores to appear, it was interesting to watch the list form and morph over the two-week voting period. Out of the 174 scores listed, 139 of them received at least one vote.
While this list certainly doesn’t match my life (nor should it), there are numerous overlaps. What that indicates to me as the writer of this blog is that I occasionally cover subjects and scores that seem to click with you guys. (As always, if you agree or disagree, feel free to leave me a comment below of send one through the Contact page.) Of course, there is always room for improvement and I will continue to strive to provide you with even more film music coverage in 2010.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. Oh, by the way, if you’re expecting the same old audio clips, think again. These are all brand new. Enjoy!
10. THE RED CANVAS – James Peterson
18 Votes–James Peterson’s instant classic has obviously hit a nerve in the film music industry, and strictly through word of mouth. Outside of a couple European film festivals, this boxing film hasn’t even been released yet. So it’s reassuring to know that traditional orchestral film music that relies on full-blown themes still has a place not only in cinema but with film score fans as well.
9. KNOWING – Marco Beltrami[audio:knowing.mp3]
21 Votes–Nicolas Cage keeps making some of the most ridiculous movies around. And though it starts off promisingly with some knockout special effects and an interesting premise, KNOWING veers off into a preposterous sci-fi alien tale that serves no one well. Except for one person. Marco Beltrami’s excellent score runs the gamut from horror and action cues to inspiring choral cues for the final act of the film. Where Beltrami found the inspiration, I’ll never know. At least you readers wisely acknowledged his impact on the film.
8. CORALINE – Bruno Coulais[audio:coraline.mp3]
22 Votes–2009 has been a particularly strong year for animation and CORALINE jump started that trend. Though the film was more a favorite with critics than audiences, there’s no denying the effect that Bruno Coulais’s score has on the film. Along with the unique visuals, Coulais provides a haunting score and its very French-ness works to create a unique musical sound for this equally unique film.
7. COCO BEFORE CHANEL – Alexandre Desplat[audio:cocobeforechanel.mp3]
24 Votes–Alexandre Desplat scored 7 films in 2009, and COCO BEFORE CHANEL is quintessential Desplat. Delicate orchestrations, memorable themes, and lilting rhythms seduce the listener. While I personally think Desplat had a better score this year, and has provided stronger scores in this style in the past, I won’t quibble with your choice to include it in your top 10. A very fine entry indeed.
6. AMELIA – Gabriel Yared (tie)[audio:ecstasyofflying.mp3]
28 Votes–I doubt most of you voters saw AMELIA (and I count myself among that group as well). But you obviously responded to Gabriel Yared’s lush, old fashioned score. And why wouldn’t you? With long, sweeping melodies that soar, it’s hard to resist such a rich score that is so pleasant to listen to. If any music was ever meant to fly, this is one score that does so.
6. ANGELS & DEMONS – Hans Zimmer (tie)[audio:electionbyadoration.mp3]
28 Votes–A huge financial hit and a composer popular with film score fans and the general public. I am usually resistant to Zimmer’s music, but there was something in the pulsating rhythmic energy of the score that captivated me from the first track on the CD. Joshua Bell’s solos are sublime and though the movie is nothing more than pulp religious claptrap, Zimmer almost makes you believe it. That’s some feat indeed.
5. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON – Alexandre Desplat[audio:romeojuliet.mp3]
29 Votes–For film score fans who were disappointed by Desplat’s last “big” film, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, with NEW MOON he definitely silenced those critics that felt he didn’t have the chops for a popular Hollywood film. I was surprised and delighted by Desplat’s work on this score and apparently he struck a chord with readers as well.
4. AVATAR – James Horner[audio:scorchedearth.mp3]
38 Votes–If you’ve read my review, you know that I’m no fan of James Horner’s score. That being said, I would have been shocked if it had not appeared on your list. The film is a major success and Horner is a fan favorite. Obviously the score affected my readers more than it did me. If you’re an AVATAR fan, what about the score struck you as memorable?
3. DRAG ME TO HELL – Christopher Young[audio:dragmetohell.mp3]
45 Votes–Christopher Young tends to get more recognition from film score fans than the general public. But it was hard to ignore his Gothic horror score for DRAG ME TO HELL. A veritable cinematic violin concerto, Young’s score hits the mark even when the film does not. This is the first film in which I truly heard what Young can do. I’ll certainly be paying more attention in the future.
2. STAR TREK – Michael Giacchino[audio:laboroflove.mp3]
67 Votes–2009 was definitely a banner year for Michael Giacchino. This was the first score of the year to actually give me goosebumps when I heard it. And it was the strength of Giacchino’s music that converted me into a raging teenage Trekker all over again. It’s nice to see fans embracing his new musical vision for the STAR TREK franchise. May it live long and prosper.
1. UP – Michael Giacchino[audio:carlgoesup.mp3]
74 Votes–The top two slots on your list always alternated between STAR TREK and UP, and why not? Two of the most noticeable scores for two of the most popular films of the year. Anyone who has read this blog since May knows of my affection for both of them. I certainly won’t quibble about your selection. And I think you rightly chose the “best” score of the year.
Other popular scores with voters included:
- 17 votes–A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Alan Silvestri)
- 16 votes–BARRIA (Ennio Morricone), G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (Alan Silvestri), IN THE ELECTRIC MIST (Marco Beltrami), PONYO (Joe Hisaishi), TERMINATOR SALVATION (Danny Elfman)
- 15 votes–FANTASTIC MR. FOX (Alexandre Desplat), HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (Nicholas Hooper), UN HOMME ET SON CHIEN (Philippe Rombi)
- 14 votes–THE STONING OF SORAYA M. (John Debney)
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to vote. If you have any suggestions or comments of ways to improve future surveys, please let me know.