Login

The tracks of 2015

Image for The tracks of 2015

Everything was, once again, awesome in the world of movie music this year. The Academy's iPods were tuned to John Legend's Selma closer Glory, but there were plenty of other gems to feast your ears on. The scores to Sicario, Macbeth and Mad Max: Fury Road, while unlikely to be played on Radio 2 anytime soon, were packed with pounding, moody cues. For the more emotionally fragile, there were the lusher scores Daniel Pemberton's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Harry Gregson-Williams' The Martian to revel in. 2015 was also the year in which the movie jukebox cued up Money For Nothing, Here I Go Again and Free Bird. Our top pop-pickers select a few favourites.

Track: Mars Artist: Harry Gregson-Williams Movie: The Martian

Like Pink Floyd in spacesuits, The Martian's opener has a strong zero-gravity vibe, with spacey electronica giving way to brooding orchestration. It's not disco, so we think Mark Watney would approve.

Track: Solomon Lane Artist: Joe Kraemer Movie: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

Joe Kraemer channelled the spirit (and classic M:I theme) of Lalo Schifrin into an aplombful Rogue Nation score. Our highlight? The slow-building theme for Sean Harris' super-villain 'Whispering' Solomon Lane.

Track: Glory Artist: John Legend and Common Movie: Selma

The Best Song winner at the Oscars, John Legend's stirring original track was a fitting way to play out Ava DuVernay's Civil Rights drama.

Track: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) Artist: Marvin Gaye Movie: A Most Violent Year

We're not sure if it's just come up on shuffle or Oscar Isaac's '80s entrepreneur really likes soul training, but his opening credits jog in A Most Violent Year is accompanied by this Marvin Gaye classic. Apt pick, too. The lyrics ('Money, we make it/'fore we see it you take it') neatly set up the movie's themes. The "dah, dah, dah, dah"s, less so.

Track: Mission Rome Artist: Daniel Pemberton Movie: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Daniel Pemberton's score was better than the movie it accompanied by a fair stretch, thanks to cues like this shimmery and percussive affair. If Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt suite and John Barry's Persuaders Theme got together and had a love child, it might turn out a little like this.

Track: Brothers In Arms Artist: Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL) Movie: Mad Max Fury Road

True fact: this is Neill Blomkamp's favourite track on the Mad Max Fury Road soundtrack. With apologies to the Doof Warrior, it's our's too.

Track: Chasing The Dragons Artist: Michael Giacchino Movie: Jurassic World

It was another mighty 12 months for Michael Giacchino, with his music embroiding the year's biggest movie to date. His Jurassic World score summoned the adventuresome spirit of Korngold and Steiner, with this cue a rollocking favourite. The man also loves a pun title (witness Love In The Time Of Pterosauria and Bury The Hatchling) and we're totally okay with that too.

Track: Bundle Of Joy Artist: Michael Giacchino Movie: Inside Out

It was grande foamy Giacchinos for all this year, with the composer turning out the music for four Hollywood releases, Inside Out, Tomorrowland, Jupiter Ascending and Jurassic World. We don't know when he slept but his waking hours were certainly inspired, as evidenced by the opening refrain of Pixar's latest masterpiece.

Track: Diamonds Artist: Rihanna Movie: Girlhood

At a low-point in their lives, the young heroines at the heart of Céline Sciamma's gritty coming-of-age tale exit their banlieue and check into a hotel room. There, mainly thanks to Rihanna agreeing to waive her usual licensing fees for the film, they get down to the pop superstar's Diamonds in one of the scenes - and musical moments - of the year.

Track: The Beast Artist: Jóhann Jóhannsson Movie: Sicario

Holy caramba, did Jóhann Jóhannsson's Sicario score pack some booming menace. Our kidneys are still shaking from the bassline of this monsterous cue. It sounds like a million Uruk-hai marching through the gates of hell. Probably not for Christmas, this one.

Track: Opening Credits Song Artist: Cat’s Eyes Movie: The Duke Of Burgundy

As kitsch and lambent as a lava lamp and just as retro, The Duke Of Burgundy's opener sets the mood for Peter Strickland terrific romance-cum-chamber-piece-cum-slice-of-lush-weirdness perfectly. It's the work of Cat's Eyes, better known as The Horrors' Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian soprano Rachel Zeffira. Nino Rota, a key influence, would have approved.

Track: Money For Nothing Artist: Dire Straits Movie: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Did you know Kingsman was the first time '80s guitar heroes Dire Straits' MTV-craving classic has popped up in a feature film? Us neither. The be-Knopfler'ed one lights up a masterful Matthew Vaughn opening sequence with some of his riffy majesty.

Track: Main Theme Artist: Ólafur Arnalds Movie: Fantastic Four trailer

Presumably in a desperate bid to mobilise Broadchurch's fanatical army of fans, Fantastic Four's trailer borrowed its plaintive theme by Icelander Ólafur Arnalds. Unfortunately for Mr. Fantastic and co. the Broadgregation was unmoved.

Track: Caravan Artist: John Wasson/Juan Tizol Movie: Whiplash

Juan Tizol's jazz staple is played so often in Damien Chazelle's fierce drama it takes you on a kind of musical odyssey. First it sounds fresh (even when played badly); then it get a little wrinkly around the edges; then it makes you want to shove your fists into your ears. Then it sounds exhilarating all over again. This, the film seems to be saying, is what true dedication sounds like.

Track: Shasta Artist: Jonny Greenwood Movie: Inherent Vice

While Kyu Sakamoto's '60s hit Sukiyaki was a daffy delight among many on Inherent Vice's expertly curated soundtrack, it's hard to look past this Jonny Greenwood theme. Paul Thomas Anderson has found the perfect partner in the Radiohead man. Mood, emotion and atmosphere abound in a strings-heavy motif that boasts shades of Bernard Herrmann.

Track: Think Artist: Kaleida Movie: John Wick

If there's ever a compilation called 'Music To Beat The Ever Living Heck Out Of A Bunch Of Goons In A Nightclub To' - admittedly a niche concept - expect this sparse electro to feature strongly.

Track: The Ecstasy Of Gold Artist: Ennio Morricone Movie: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water

As Ennio Morricone sat down in his opulent Roman salon and began annotating his great theme for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, we'd like to imagine a magical dream began to form in the back of his mind. "I hope, one day, that this will end up appearing in one of the silliest parts of the SpongeBob sequel," he'd have thought to himself. Well, good news Signor Morricone.

Track: Here I Go Again Artist: Whitesnake Movie: Man Up

As if you need a reason to add Whitesnake to a playlist. You do? Okay then, well, it accompanied a gratuitously OTT Simon Pegg run for glory at the end of this old-fashioned romcom and the 'Snake gave permission for it to be used specially. There's two for starters.

Track: Plainsong Artist: The Cure Movie: Ant–Man

One of Ant-Man's best jokes features a briefcase, Siri and a much-loved Cure album. Yellowjacket threatens Ant-Man with disintegration, Siri misintepretes it as a request for Disintegration and cues up the goth popsters' Plainsong via MP3.

Track: We're Still Friends (Live At Union Chapel) Artist: Amy Winehouse Movie: Amy

Asif Kapadia's terrific documentary mixes Amy Winehouse tracks with score music from Antonio Pinto. Among rarities and deep cuts from the soul sensation is this heartbreaker recorder at Islington's Union Chapel. It's a cover of a track by Winehouse's hero Donny Hathaway, but she sings it like she'd written it herself.

Track: Hit 'Em Up Artist: 2Pac (feat The Outlawz) Movie: While We're Young

Curated by ex-LCD Soundsystem wizard James Murphy, While We're Young has a soundtrack as well-selected as its observations on the pains of middle age are hilarious and unsparing. It also features Eye Of The Tiger, although we've gone with 2Pac and a beef with Biggie Smalls that's recounted in granular detail and totally ignored by Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried and their fellow hip-hop dance class members.

Track: Enter The Ninja Artist: Die Antwoord Movie: Chappie

Ninja and Yolandi, the South African rappers who made their acting debut in Chappie, are also responsible for the end-credits tune. Dating back to 2009, Enter The Ninja is one of their best, with ferocious micwork from Ninja and a crazy-catchy Yolandi chorus. Watch the music video on YouTube if you want to feel scared.