The list author says: "Every year I make a mix disc of my favorite score tracks of the past year. Sometimes it takes me several years to get around to finalizing it (I'm easily distracted, plus sometimes it's nice to let things simmer), but not this time! Here are my picks for the best movie scores of 2009 (when the score album wasn't available, I've added the soundtrack and noted it in the comments)."
"Alexandre Desplat's Oscar-nominated effort may be a tad short, but it's strangely perfect for the film. A mix of banjo, children's choir singing a nursery-rhyme-esque tune to Dahl's lyrics, and delicate Desplat melody, it's insanely catchy."
"Karen O and Carter Burwell's dreamy efforts for this kids-film-for-adults were overshadowed by Karen O's indie rock songs, but when the score is given a chance to show through it's amazingly beautiful in its simplicity. A download-only score album also exists."
"It's always wonderful when you see a film, have no expectations about the music, and are instantly amazed by it. 'Coraline' was one such film for me. Bruno Coulais' wildly original music was robbed of an Oscar nomination. The nonsense choir, exotic instruments, and even a single song from They Might Be Giants somehow all work together to equally give you goosebumps and fill you with wonder."
"This was another score that I heard for the first time in the theater, having no prior expectations about. A really fun romp from start to finish, JNH's score is both jazzy and spanish, with a touch of spy thrown in now and then. A great album to cook to."
"What can be said about the Giacchino-Abrams collaboration, other than that the guys obviously work fantastically together. The standout track, above and beyond everything else, is "Enterprising Young Men," one of the best tracks of the year in any score."
"This was Alexandre Desplat's year (although Michael Giacchino certainly made him work for it), scoring film after film back to back, and never letting up on quality. His two themes for the two female chefs work lovely together, but both stand separately. I'm more partial to the French-tinged tracks for Julia, but the download-only bonus track "Julia At Home, Julie At Work" pairs them nicely."
"Why would you do this to us, Mark Bradshaw? The album's opening track, "Negative Capability," comprises almost the entire composition of music from the film; the rest of the score is variations on those ideas. A beautiful minimalist work, rooted in period instruments, the track perfectly captures the delicate nature of the film. Unfortunately the track on album has dialogue over it! *sigh*"
"I'm adding this disc to represent Michael Giacchino's score to "Up" as one track from the film appears on this disc. The "Up" score in full is download-only and, while odd to be the first score to win an Academy Award in over 20 years that hasn't been released on disc, is certainly worth your $10. Just like the film, it's sad, thrilling, and has a great retro sound to it."
"Joe Hisaishi needs to find some way of getting Pixar to not only import the Studio Ghibli movies, but also their scores. A gorgeous work, as usual, Hisaishi has a lot of fun with the child-like wonder and water elements. If anyone tells you that good-old-fashioned epic scoring has gone out of style, point them to "Ponyo" to prove them wrong."
"Again, the score to (500) Days of Summer is download-only. This soundtrack album is good too, but try the lovely floating whistling of the "Main Title" (heard on this soundtrack album, but with dialogue) on for size by Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen and you'll see why I've added it here. It's very simple, and has frutraatingly short track times, but it's lovely stuff."
"Continuing the Desplat love, "New Moon" is, in my opinion, a much better score than Burwell's effort for the first Twilight film. I'm all for achingly-depressingly beautiful love themes, and Desplat brings out a great one here."
"Nicholas Hooper's two efforts for the latest "Potter" films have divided score fans. I felt like "Phoenix" was a mixed bag, containing both some amazingly catchy melodies and also entire sections of the album that were completely forgettable. "Half Blood Prince" fares much better; a very solid album overall without any wildly impressive tracks rendering the rest of the album obsolete."
"Zimmer continues to impress by being able to change gears wildly at the drop of a period inspector's hat. His gypsy/zydeko violin melodies combined with his action scoring work effortlessly together for one of the MOST enjoyable score albums of the most enjoyable score albums of the year."
"Do you have a fondness for those old 60's and 70's scores of yore? If so, you'll find this a hoot. If not, you may wonder what the hell is going on here. Blending just about every type of score from those years into one, every track takes on a life of its own and feels like it's the main melody an entire other score could jump off from."
"James Horner takes a lot of crap from movie score buffs, constantly being lambasted about his originality or his choices. Growing up on this music, I have the same fondness for his that many others have for Goldsmith's. Avatar fits the film like a glove, while on album it can be both engaging or good background music to work to, making it in a way the perfect score album. A truly solid effort."
"While I'm sad at Sam Raimi's falling out with Danny Elfman, over the last Spider-Man film, I'm very tickled to see Christoper Young getting to score some very fun projects as a result. Young's melodies for Spider 3 were truly excellent, and his Main Title piece here is a helluva stand-alone effort as well."
"Alberto Iglesias scoring a AlmodÃ³var film is like John Williams scoring a Spielberg film: you KNOW it's going to be good, no matter what they both do. Quieter than his work on Bad Education and Volver, Iglesias' tone remains consistent and still excellent."
"The album as a whole is a gorgeous effort in both composition (from two composers, working separately) and also arranging, as several tracks are previously composed pieces seamlessly integrated in with the rest of the score. Young composer Abel Korzeniowski is certainly one to watch."