The Best Tracks Of 2017

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by Emma Thrower |
Published on

It's been a good year for movies and, arguably, an even better year for movie music. From Mr. Blue Sky to Childish Gambino, Fleetwood Mac to Hans Zimmer (and even more Hans Zimmer...), we take a look back at our favourite tracks from 2017.

You can find this entire playlist over on Spotify. Just click right here.

Our Best Soundtracks Of 2017 list can be found here.

‘Immigrant Song’

Artist: Led Zeppelin

Movie: Thor: Ragnarok

Just like Star Trek: Beyond's Sabotage, it was the first trailer for Taika Waititi’s Ragnarok that would signal Immigrant Song as the big track of this year. There were few moments as air punch-worthy as the God of Thunder unleashing hell while Robert Plant warbled in the background.

‘My Tamako, My Sookee’

Artist: Jo Yeong-wook

Movie: The Handmaiden

No list would be complete without a bit of romance. Chan-wook Park’s collaboration with composer Jo Yeong-wook (reteaming after Oldboy) might just be our favourite string-led score this year, especially when listening to this particular sweeping epic.

'Hocus Pocus'

Artist: Focus

Movie: Baby Driver

The soundtrack of the summer, no question. (There’s a reason this isn’t the only Baby Driver track on our list…) Though the song itself demands to be yodelled along to, this ‘foot chase not car chase’ scene stands out for its insanely tight choreography and layered sound. Even the police sirens wail in time.


Artist: Childish Gambino

Movie: Get Out

Before things get, err, properly crazy, Donald Glover’s pipes provide the perfect opening to Jordan Peele’s directorial debut (our film of the year, don’t you know). A girlfriend who delivers croissants and coffee to her boyfriend in the morning? What could possibly go wrong?

'The Middle Of The World'

Artist: Nicholas Britell

Movie: Moonlight

Nicholas Britell’s electrifying score is full of wonderful moments, but it’s this deeply moving track that stands out during one of the film’s most memorable scenes. Britell also wrote the truly incredible Prelude To The Battle Of The Sexes (from Battle Of The Sexes) which firmly belongs on this list. It’s not currently available on YouTube, but you can find it on our Spotify playlist.

'I Ran'

Artist: Flock Of Seagulls

Movie: La La Land

You can’t move for songs in La La Land. They’re everywhere. But there’s something about the use of I Ran that we just can’t shake. It might be the memories of cruising along to it in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but we’re pretty sure it has more to do with Ryan Gosling’s blatant, keytar-based embarrassment.

'Persecution Of The Masses (1172)'

Artist: Shiro Sagisu

Movie: Shin Godzilla

Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi’s Shin Godzilla is arguably more comedy than out-and-out creature feature, but that doesn’t stop it from delivering some monster melodies. You can’t go wrong by starting with this imposing tune right here.

'Harlem Shuffle'

Artist: Bob & Earl

Movie: Baby Driver

Best opening track of 2017? Almost certainly. The song alone is an absolute belter, but add in Ansel Elgort’s one-take, graffiti-lyric-led coffee trip and you’ve got one of the coolest movie openings of all time.

'Growing Up Londinium'

Artist: Daniel Pemberton

Movie: King Arthur

Daniel ‘King of Percussion’ Pemberton returns with another absolute blinder, this time from Guy Ritchie’s Arthurian tale. If you like what you hear, you’ll want to head straight to his Gold score, also from this year.

'Mystery Of Love'

Artist: Sufjan Stevens

Movie: Call Me By Your Name

Between this and his Visions Of Gideon (which plays over the film’s stunning end credits), Sufjan Stevens has provided a soundtrack for a whole new generation to cry to in their rooms. Tender and alluring, this is a bona fide heartbreaker.

'Academic Decommitment'

Artist: Michael Giacchino

Movie: Spider-Man: Homecoming

It might not be the most bombastic piece from Giacchino’s score, but it certainly delivers the goods. Infectious, fun and containing Spidey Mark III's main theme, it’s a neat little package that we can’t stop revisiting. Especially those final twenty seconds.

'The Chain'

Artist: Fleetwood Mac

Movie: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2

James Gunn once again spoiled us with his super-sequel's musical mix. But it’s Fleetwood Mac’s contribution that struck the biggest chord. Who knew seeing Chris Pratt and Kurt Russell duking it out to the strains of Stevie Nicks would be so much fun?


Artist: Hans Zimmer

Movie: Dunkirk

“Spare, propulsive, ever-intensifying.” These words don’t just perfectly describe the film, but also Hans Zimmer’s bone-shaking score. Dunkirk really dialled the intensity stakes up during Supermarine’s eight minutes, leaving audiences sweating in their seats and hoping Kenneth Branagh would be there to guide them home on the way out.

'Suspicious Minds'

Artist: Elvis Presley

Movie: Blade Runner 2049

It was holograms a go-go in one of Denis Villeneuve’s most innovative set pieces. As Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling faced-off in a casino, The King crooned on stage behind them, letting them get on with their differences. We'd watch it again in a heartbeat.


Artist: Wolf Alice

Movie: T2: Trainspotting

At complete odds with Begbie’s hot-headed antics, this dose of dreamy synth may well be T2’s musical highlight. (Sorry, Born Slippy.) Danny Boyle’s sequel offered more quirky visuals than the original and Silk complemented them perfectly.

'Take Me Home, Country Roads'

Artist: John Denver

Movie: Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Logan Lucky

Who knew John Denver would be so popular on the big screen this year? Mark Strong and Farrah Mackenzie were the pair to sing the folk classic, delivering it in very different styles: Strong’s a defiant swansong, Mackenzie’s a loving ode to her father (Channing Tatum).

'Manchester Minimalist Piano And Strings'

Artist: Lesley Barber

Movie: Manchester By The Sea

Kenneth Lonergan’s family drama is handled with a great deal of musical care by Lesley Barber, who previously composed the music for Lonergan’s You Can Count On Me. Keeping an ominous musical tone bubbling along in the background, this is one of the most harrowing works of the year.


Artist: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Movie: Baby Driver

Yes, it’s Baby Driver again. But we’ll leave it at three entries on this list. Bellbottoms accompanies a bank heist and breathless car chase, while also allowing Ansel Elgort’s Baby to have a little boogie in his car for the few seconds it's stationary. It’s a whole lotta fun.

'Main Titles'

Artist: Marco Beltrami

Movie: Logan

The overriding message of Logan’s opening track? Wolverine has grown up. Sinking its claws into you right from its opening notes, Beltrami makes it clear that his film can’t promise a happy ending.


Artist: Kool & The Gang

Movie: The Florida Project

The Florida Project – for all its hard-hitting realities – is one of 2017’s most uplifting offerings thanks to its incredible child performances. (We even chose to celebrate it as one of our favourite films of the year.) Set in the shadow of Walt Disney World, the unicorn-coloured film's opening song plasters a massive smile across your face right from the off.

'Rescue Continues'

Artist: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Movie: Hacksaw Ridge

Released right back in January, Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning film boasts a fearless performance from Andrew Garfield and a mighty score to match. The tear-inducing Rescue Continues is our favourite piece.

'Love My Way'

Artist: The Psychedelic Furs

Movie: Call Me By Your Name

The scene that spawned numerous 'Armie Hammer dances to...' videos, The Psychedelic Furs accompany Hammer as he cuts some questionable – but totally infectious – shapes on the dancefloor. We’ll have a glass of whatever he’s having.

'Blossoming Chestnut Trees'

Artist: Clint Mansell

Movie: Loving Vincent

Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman‘s seemingly impossible task of creating a film entirely in the style of Vincent Van Gogh turned out to be a genuine triumph. The co-directors/writers also struck gold by securing Clint Mansell to provide a beautifully haunting and emotive score.

'Greatest Love Of All'

Artist: Whitney Houston

Movie: Toni Erdmann

Ines (Sandra Huller) suffers many, many embarrassing moments at the hands of her father Winfried’s (Peter Simonischek) comic creation, Toni Erdmann. But few are quite as painful as being made to sing to a family she doesn’t know. Watch the whole scene above to cringe while humming along to one of Whitney’s biggest hits.

'Eggsy Is Back'

Artist: Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson

Movie: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

In isolation, this score is even more impressive than we remember. Its opening track showcases the composers nicely, bringing back the original’s signature theme and even throwing in some bagpipes for good measure.

'City Of Stars'

Artist: Ryan Gosling

Movie: La La Land

Ryan Gosling, a pier, a lovely old couple and a beautiful sunset. We don’t need to say much about this one – you know all the words, anyway.

'The Pure And The Damned'

Artist: Oneohtrix Point Never, Iggy Pop

Movie: Good Time

The Safdie Brothers’ underrated, underseen gem contains an Iggy Pop original right at the end - and we 100% want to see him perform it at the Oscars. There’s no denying The Pure And The Damned is a stellar entry in this year’s ‘best end credit songs’ list.


Artist: Danielle Macdonald, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty

Movie: Patti Cake$

“Listen to me: fuckin’ Streisand.“ Patti’s nana (Cathy Moriarty) steals the film and totally steals this song, too. Opening this catchy rap with her smoky husk (‘PBNJ’ references a few things, including 'Patti, Ba$terd, Nana and Jheri'), you’ll struggle to get Nana’s voice out of your head in the hours after watching Geremy Jasper’s infectious feature debut.

'Paradise Found'

Artist: Michael Giacchino

Movie: War For The Planet Of The Apes

Just like his previous work on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, every bar of Giacchino’s War For The Planet Of The Apes is practically perfect. But it’s this final, pre-credits song that truly brought this franchise to a rousing close – even if it did accompany our salty tears as we said goodbye to a faithful friend.

'Who’s The (Bat)Man'

Artist: Patrick Stump

Movie: The LEGO Batman Movie

Who never skips leg day? That’s right, Batman. Lorne Balfe’s score is a work of genius, combining the music of Batmans old and new(er) alongside his original compositions to deliver more musical Easter eggs than you can throw a batarang at. We love this opening song for announcing the film’s tongue-in-cheek style very, very loudly.

'Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga'

Artist: Michael Abels

Movie: Get Out

This sinister leitmotif is the perfect fit for Jordan Peele’s satirical horror. Put it this way: if we heard this in the woods, running a mile wouldn’t be enough.

'Mr. Blue Sky'

Artist: Electric Light Orchestra

Movie: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2

Baby Groot. Dancing. A winning formula any day of the week. The opening scene of James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 is a bundle of neon fun, made even better by ELO’s 1977 classic.


Artist: Mark Mothersbaugh

Movie: Thor: Ragnarok

Mothersbaugh brought a bucketload of ‘80s-style synth to Taika Waititi’s neon threequel. But he packaged it in an even bigger bucket that was full of catchy melodies and genuine fun. We love this song simply for being that little bit different.

'Annie’s Song'

Artist: John Denver

Movie: Free Fire, Okja

Yep, John Denver again. And another of his songs that made it into two different films, this time Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire and Boon Joon Ho’s Okja. The use of Denver’s song in the latter gave us one of the most pleasing scenes of the year. Take a look above (and then get thee to Netflix if you haven’t already seen it).


Artist: Oneohtrix Point Never

Movie: Good Time

Robert Pattinson’s crazy adventures were accompanied by some pretty awesome choons. Synthy, bassy and super cool, this score would feel very at home in an episode of Stranger Things.

'Icky Thump'

Artist: The White Stripes

Movie: Justice League

Alright, so we’ve all had to learn to agree to disagree on our feelings over DC’s latest team up. But one thing we probably can all agree on is the use of Icky Thump resulting in one of the film's best moments. (And also one of the best musical moments of the year, let's be honest.)


Artist: Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka

Movie: Lion

January’s Lion brought with it another astonishing Dustin O’Halloran score. The musical mind behind Like Crazy and TV’s Transparent was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for his stirring work. And rightly so.

'Guardians Inferno'

Artist: The Sneepers feat. David Hasselhoff

Movie: Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2

No, we have no idea on the above either, but the musical end credits to GOTG 2 are an absolute joy (a huge shout-out to all those who spotted Jeff Goldblum at the end of the film). Director James Gunn ever so kindly released a tie-in music video for the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release, and it is a lot of fun trying to figure out who everybody is.

'Second Regression'

Artist: Jed Kurzel

Movie: Assassin’s Creed

Jed Kurzel is no stranger to tension having scored Snowtown and Macbeth for his brother, director Justin Kurzel. The pair reteamed for Michael Fassbender vehicle Assassin’s Creed, and, though it may not have been the director’s strongest offering thus far, his brother provided one of the most interesting scores of the year.


Artist: Ellie Goulding

Movie: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos has a knack for making you feel uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. His follow-up to The Lobster even made an Ellie Goulding song appear threatening. Kudos, Yorgos.

'Cory’s Story'

Artist: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Movie: Wind River

One of the most heartbreaking moments of Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River is accompanied by this particular track. It doesn’t do anything remarkable, instead using its restraint to paint the picture Jeremy Renner’s Cory Lambert is describing (while also reminding us why the actor’s been nominated for two Oscars).

'I Get Overwhelmed'

Artist: Dark Rooms

Movie: A Ghost Story

Out of context, a haunting indie song. Within the confines of David Lowery’s existential drama, an anthem for heartache. Penned in the story by Casey Affleck’s ‘C’, the lyrics’ references to relationship issues and insecurity run throughout “a film unlike anything else you’ll see this year”.

'Sea Wall'

Artist: Hans Zimmer

Movie: Blade Runner 2049

Rivalling Hans Zimmer for the most intense score of the year? Hans Zimmer. The nearly ten-minute long Sea Wall is the film’s opus, mixing itchy tension with sustained, dreamy synth to deliver an intoxicating musical experience that can only be rivalled by Zimmer's Dunkirk.

'The Final Journey'

Artist: Christopher Spelman

Movie: The Lost City Of Z

The scene this particular piece belongs to is one of the year’s most affecting, atmospheric best. In fact, we don’t want to say much more. Just sit back and enjoy. It’s a bit special, this one.

'The Rhythm Of The Night'

Artist: Corona

Movie: The Disaster Artist

There are countless unforgettable moments in James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, but of all the songs in the film, this has to be the standout. The sight of Franco-as-Tommy dancing in a nightclub will be burnt into our memories for a long time. And we're totally okay with that.


Artist: Steven Price

Movie: American Assassin

The film adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel may leave a lot to be desired, but Steven Price delivered some lyrical nuggets amidst the graphic violence and barmy plot.

'The Days'

Artist: Patrick Wolf

Movie: God's Own Country

We had to end this list with a little bit of Patrick Wolf. Especially when it comes from one of our favourite films of 2017. It also makes us feel a tad Christmassy for reasons we can’t quite pinpoint. It must be something to do with those soothing strings.

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