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Five Great Original Film Scores I Love

When music occurs in film, as we all know, it’s either soundtrack or score. I think more focus is put on the soundtrack than one of the most important parts of the film, the score. It represents the mood and feeling of the movie, and can carry all the emotions without even speaking a word.

Magnolia by Jon Brion

In my favourite movie of all time, I could list hundreds of reasons why I love it as much as I do, but one of the top ten would have to be Jon Brion’s fantastic score. I bought the CD a few months back, and it’s been playing over and over almost non-stop. It’s easy to miss it while watching the movie, but every time I watch it now that music is in my mind; I notice it, and it affects me. It’s an almost perfect score, for a perfect movie.

American Beauty by Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman’s score to Sam Mendes’ breakthrough feature manages to be consistently soft, even when it’s in its angriest mood. The complex layer of disputing emotions conveyed through the music track the path of the characters as they are pulled along a storyline of uprising and downfall. An incredibly original, poignant and affecting score that’s enough to put a tear in your eye every time:

Mulholland Dr. by Angelo Badalamenti

The film’s reliance on music is extraordinary, and even though not all of it is composed by Badalamenti, much of it including the terrific ‘Love Theme’ is. It’s incredibly sad, moving music that lulls the viewer into the same dreamlike state of frightening dystopian disorder that Lynch does with his film. Listen to it for yourself:

Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell

Arguably the most well known score on this list, Clint Mansell’s score, while being overused in various advertisements and television programs, consists of much more than just the popularised, searing Lux Aeterna. The downward path of drug abuse portrayed in the film and it’s effect owes a lot to the music, which subliminally makes it seem more horrifying and disturbing, if that were indeed possible. Check out this piece from the score, which is nowhere near as appreciated as it should be:

The Fountain by Clint Mansell

The second album from Clint Mansell also features some of his best, most underrated work as a composer. While the film itself was rather disappointing and conflicted among critics, the score is an inarguable success. The track ‘Death is the Road to Awe’ is one of the ten best pieces of musical score I have ever heard, and it’s not the only one worth mentioning. So much of the album is pure brilliance.

Those are my picks. I could list more, but this is plenty of listening material for you guys for now. Hopefully you can find the time to listen to some of the tracks above… there are many more on YouTube. If there’s anything you’d like to add, leave a comment below.

The Seven Best Original Film Score Tracks by Clint Mansell

Clint Mansell is a film score composer whose compositions for films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain have made him famous. He is formerly of the British punk rock band Pop Will Eat Itself, but when his good friend Darren Aronofsky asked him to compose the soundtrack for his film Pi, he began a memorable and successful foray into original film scores. Here are the seven best pieces (that I’ve heard) of composition by him for films.

7: Ghosts (VOCAL REMIX), Requiem for a Dream

This is a remix version of the original RFAD track. What makes this special is the addition of vocals, sung by none other than Clint Mansell himself.

6: Ghosts of Things to Come, Requiem for a Dream

This is the original version of the previous track. I know it may seem pointless to include them both, but I couldn’t leave either one of them out. I just love the simplicity of this track; how it seems like nothing special, but still manages to evoke emotion.

5: Together We Will Live Forever, The Fountain

Saddening, heartbreaking, depressing and tearjerking, this wonderfully emotional track truly shines as among Mansell’s best, and helps to demonstrate the variety of different musical techniques he can use, from loud and blasting electricity such as in #4, to this simple, quiet piano theme.

4: Pi r 2, Pi

This terrific drum-and-bass opening to Darren Aronofsky’s thought-provoking debut Pi was made with a music video as well. This song really sums up the quick thinking and insanity in the main character’s mind in the great film.

3: Welcome to Lunar Industries, Moon

Mansell has proved he is good at simple and effective piano themes, and this may be one of the most exceptional. The strings, as usual, are a more than welcome and perfectly decent accompaniment.

2: Lux Aeterna, Requiem for a Dream

Just because it’s been heard a million times and become annoyingly tiresome doesn’t make this track any less brilliant than it was the first time. This is the original version, with those haunting strings and sombre mournings for the darkness of the past and the inescapable Hell that will be the future. Close your eyes and listen to this at full volume. Please.

1: Death is the Road To Awe, The Fountain

This is it. This a hectic, pulsing, triumphant mixture of harmful strings and horrible memories. Even if you have not seen the film, as I hadn’t when I first heard this track, you can feel the emotion in it. A classic.

Thanks for reading and listening.