As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m a fan of the musical score. In fact, I’d rather listen to a film score than a newly released album. Not quite sure what that says about me, but…there are worse things to deal with. I got the idea for this blog after watching Speed Racer on HBO. The more I see that movie, the more I’m convinced it came out too soon for its own good. However, that’s not what this blog is about: this blog is about the film scores I can listen to over and over again, with my favorite track from said score. So, in no particular order, let’s begin.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – John Williams

If you think back to the movies of your childhood, chances are great that John Williams wrote the score for them. Chief among them have been the score to the Indiana Jones franchise. This love letter from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to the serial classics of the 30s and 40s has dazzled and amazed audiences for decades, and everyone remembers the iconic theme. Now, the reason I chose this one out of the group is because of the “End Credits” music. Out of all four movies, this one is the one that sticks in my mind, and that’s thanks in no small part to how he weaves the various different themes into one masterpiece. The movie may be a bit dark – and the franchise itself is pretty damn misogynistic to 21st-century sensibilities – but, the music is classic and eternal.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – James Horner

Up until 2009, this movie was my favorite of all of the Star Trek movies. Even now, it holds a special place in my heart, and that’s thanks to James Horner’s magnificent score. The score sucks you in from the beginning with the “Main Title,” and it refuses to let go. From “Khan’s Theme” to “Genesis Project” to “Battle in the Mutara Nebula,” this score enchants and enthralls. The standout theme for me is the Main Title theme; it’s majestic without being bombastic, introspective without being schmaltzy. It’s a beautiful opening for a beautiful score.

Speed Racer – Michael Giacchino

With the score to this film, Michael Giacchino puts his love for the Speed Racer franchise on full display. The iconic theme by Nobuyoshi Koshibe is interwoven throughout this album, and it sounds like it would be a perfect stand-in for the actual anime. The movie itself is eclectic and colorful, and Giacchino composed a score that goes right along with it. The track that stands out the most to me is “32 Hours;” this scores the point in the movie where (spoilers for a nine-year-old movie that’s on HBO, I guess) the Racer family builds the Mach 6 and Royalton signs a deal with Mr. Musha. It’s a frenetic toe-tapper that coincides perfectly with what’s going on within the movie itself.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Tyler Bates

Out of all of the scores from the MCU, I chose this one because it’s so much fun. The MCU gets a lot of flak because it doesn’t have “hummable” music, and I disagree, especially with this one. The Guardians theme is sprinkled throughout the movie, most noticeably in “The Kyln Escape” when the team comes together for the first time. It’s epic return in “Black Tears,” however, is the one that stands out to me. At this point, all hope is lost, but leave it to the a-hole Star Lord to do something ridiculous to help bring the team together. The build up to that scene is masterful in both the film and the score, and it’s the one that replays in my mind constantly.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – John Williams

I started the list with him, so I may as well end it with him as well. All that stuff I said about him at the top? Just repeat that for this one. The song that sticks out for me is “Mischief Managed!” The reasons are the same as before, and I know no one wants to read me repeat myself, so…here it is in all its glory.

There are plenty of honorable mentions here, and I thought I would’ve been able to avoid repeating myself. But…it’s a completely subjective list, and I’m sure if I did this again next year, my mind would change. But, just for humor’s sake, here are those honorable mentions:

Star Trek – Michael Giacchino
Twister – Mark Mancina
Fantastic Four – John Ottman
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Hans Zimmer
Iron Man – Ramin Djawadi
X-Men: First Class – Henry Jackman
The Thomas Crown Affair – Bill Conti
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – John Williams

What about you? Do you have any favorites? If so, put ’em in the comments section below!

Music to My Ears: My Five Favorite Scores

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