Top 10 Best Scores of 2013

The most anticipated award of the year is now here. I chose each score based on how much the listen was enjoyable, how many times I listened through it, how much thematic material was included in the album's release, and based on the rating I gave the scores individually. Some of them may come as a shock while others, not as much. Leave a comment if you if you agree are disagree and be sure to let me know which ones you thought were the best.
Before we get into the main award I will try to briefly announce the honorable mentions. While each score ended with the same rating save one, the are listed in no particular order. To be quite frank I couldn't decide which one was better than the other. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, enjoyable cues, and un-enjoyable cues.

Honorable Mentions
Saving Mr Banks by Thomas Newman Rating ****
Ginty My Love by Thomas Newman on Grooveshark

Copperhead by Laurent Eyquem Rating ***1/2
(You can read my review here.)
Track 7 by Laurent Eyquem on Grooveshark

Man of Steel by Hans Zimmer Rating ***1/2
What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World? by Hans Zimmer on Grooveshark

Exit Marrakech by Niki Reiser Rating ***1/2

The Ultimate Life by Mark McKenzie Rating ***1/2

And now, here are the ten best scores of the year: 
(Individually numbered with one being the greatest.)

Best Scores of 2013

10. The Bible by Hans Zimmer 
(You can read my original review here.)
The Nativity by Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe on Grooveshark
This score didn't get enough credit. Many Balfe, Zimmer, and Lisa Gerrard fans were disappointed in this album because of the lack of originality on their part. True, however the score was easy for me to enjoy. It's epic, eerie, and gorgeous.  I won't go any further because I realize that this album has already been discussed this one a prior post.

9. Pacific Rim by Ramin Djawadi 
Rating ****
For My Family by Ramin Djawadi on Grooveshark
Male choral ostinatos, brass stings, and synthesized loops make up the marrow of this amazing action score. This score has a powerful anthem as the main theme, and although the score utilizes Djawadi's stereotypical guitar riffs, the music soars. The acoustic riffs are also kind of old but despite that, the album stands out as one of the best action scores and 9th best score of the year.

8. The Mortal Instruments: City of Dead Bones by Atli Orvarsson Rating ****
Your Secret Is Safe by Atli Örvarsson on Grooveshark
.....And another media ventures composer makes the list! Most of Orvasson's scores have been disappointing recently save, for this soundtrack. The music has the make of a perfect epic score. There are vocals (full choir and solo), emotional violin solos, pounding percussion, and fast heart-pounding orchestral numbers. This was the pleasant surprise of the year! 

7. The Lone Ranger by Hans Zimmer 
Rating ****
 (You can read my original review here.)
Home by Hans Zimmer on Grooveshark
This score came across as a nice surprise to me. The music has wonderful violin solos, classical western themes (with a bit of spaghetti western in the mix), and heart-pounding action material. Zimmer breaks from his overbearing, percussion based scoring and focus's on the beauty contrasting it to the gritty aspect of the film.

6. Iron Man 3 by Bryan Tyler 
Rating ****1/2
Iron Man 3 by Iron Man 3 on Grooveshark
Tyler had a prolific year. Composing the scores for Thor 2: The Dark World, Assassin's Creed V, Now You See Me, and this amazing album, Iron Man 3. The theme is what makes this score. It's blatantly heroic, fast-paced, and very catchy. If I had an award for "best theme" and "best action score of the year" this soundtrack would win them both.

5. Beyond Two Souls by Lorne Balfe 
Rating ****1/2
Dawkins' Suite by Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe on Grooveshark
So, Balfe makes it into the list once again! This video game score as I have stated in a post prior, is absolutely amazing! Instead of focusing on the action material in the game, Balfe creates several beautiful themes and focus's his thematic material mainly on the drama and the main character, Jodie Holmes', emotions.

4. Romeo and Juliet by Abel Korzeniowski 
Rating ****1/2
First Kiss by Abel Korzeniowski on Grooveshark
(You can read my original review here.)
This score was love at first listen. Heartrending themes are intertwined by melodramatic action material as Polish composer, Korzenioski weaves together a high quality score. This film was originally meant to be scored by veteran composer James Horner, who had plenty of experience writing romantic music. Horner had apparently written most of the music but, for whatever reason he was dropped and Korzenioski was called upon and given a short time to completely re-write this score. And what a masterpiece he wrote. Initially, I was very disappointed when Horner was dropped, but it didn't last for long (My apologies to Mr. Horner). 
This is what a romance flavored score should sound like folks!

3. Frozen by Christophe Beck
Rating *****
Wolves by Christophe Beck on Grooveshark
(You can read my original review here.)
Yes, once again this score wins another award of the year. Clearly, this score is a spectacle that dazzles the ears! Like I mentioned earlier in a prior post, this music is chilling, gorgeous, and spectacular. Hats off to Mr. Becke.

2. Planes by Mark Mancina
Rating *****
Skipper's Story by Mark Mancina on Grooveshark
(You can read my original review here.)
"Why?" You may ask. "Why in the world is this album #2?"
For me it is due to taste. I enjoyed this music to death. That was just me. I enjoyed Mancina's contributions to the 1990's and I still enjoy his 90's style today. The theme in this score is big, powerful, and the thematic material, (including a blatant ripoff of one of my favorite scores last year; The Life of Pi,) is plentiful. I didn't dislike the film as the critics did and I most certainly didn't dislike this score as much as critics did!
What can I say? Haters gonna hate......

1. Winnie Mandela by Laurent Eyquem 

This score was probably the biggest surprise of the year. 
Composed by French newcomer, Laurent Eyquem, the album is mixed with source cues and cues from the score. Appropriately enough, the music has African-American vocals throughout the score material creating a semi-African feel to the album. He also utilizes a solo piano for several cues making the score range from almost epic at times, to minimalistic drama. I enjoyed every minute of this soundtrack, and though it's unfortunately only available for digital download only, it's totally worth it!

It's been a great year for film scores. Be sure to stay tuned as I continue to follow up and coming scores for the year 2014. I'm only two months in and it's beginning to show a lot of promise!


  1. Alicia A. Willis said...
    Well, you know I love the Bible score! :)
    Morgan Lowery said...
    Agree on all counts, other than Planes and Beyond Two Souls since I have not heard either of those. Personally, I probably would have thrown in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug or Thor: The Dark World somewhere in there, but these are all very good. A nice mix. :)
    Joshua Hoppman said...
    I am not surprised that you would throw The Hobbit 2 in there.
    Thor 2 was good and got a solid 4 out of 5 stars but wasn't quite as good as the others that I included in the list. Bryan Tyler had a good year, though. Fo sho! ;)

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