This list compiles a handful of memorable sounds for 2019, spanning across film, TV, video games, and the imaginary. A little something for everyone! Before you wonder where Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is, let me just say: there’s only so much room. And I wanted to mix it up a bit, as QT’s compilations typically receive numerous mentions. Of course it’s good, and you should probably listen to it.
In the meantime, please enjoy our list below and give them a spin (or click).
For many, the late Johann Johannsson was the best composer around. Having scored films like Sicario and Arrival, Mandy wouldn’t have been the same film without the Icelandic composer’s moody and violent percussion that accompanied Nic Cage’s Mega-Acting. When the monstrous armored Hell knights arrive in the woods, the soundtrack rains brimstone. For such a visual-heavy picture it’s impressive that the OST holds its own.
Here’s Johannsson’s “Forging the Beast.” The man will be missed.
Mandalorian (Disney Plus)
Disney’s streaming hit seems impervious to Star Wars fatigue, with its cool Old West-iness and green-meme-baby easily finding an audience. Part of the allure is the score, clearly inspired by Morricone with its other-worldly recorder. But its beauty is no surprise, as composer Ludwig Göransson won an Oscar for his work on Black Panther. His next film is Chris Nolan’s Tenet.
Mars for the Rich (PC game)
The FPS in the style of Doom has a blistering soundtrack, thanks to band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Sounding like classic-era Metallica, the player fights off hordes of rats in an ancient temple setting to thundering lyrics and riffs. The song’s so good that it can loop without repetition.
Disclaimer: This is not a store-released game, but a playable demo to accompany King Gizzard’s one thousandth album. So it’s both fantasy and real. Just use your imagination and go back to drinking your egg nog.
Bobby Krlic’s score lifts your ears in a sweeping way that mimics the beliefs of the village’s inhabitants, not the college student outsiders who don’t know what fate awaits.
Also known as Haxan Cloak, Krlic’s score reminds of The Shining–constantly rising, stretching as horrific images flash across the screen. Yet, it’s also joyful, as if you were wearing a crown of flowers, or plunging from a mountaintop.
Catherine: Full Body (PS4)
The controversial puzzle/dating sim comes packed with a variety of music, including songs from the Persona series, tracks from the original PS3 version, plus new jams, like “Tomorrow (Rin’s Theme)” from composer Shoji Meguro.
Whenever you’re chatting with your buddies at the bar (ugh that fedora guy is the worst), Rin’s often there, plinking on the ivory. There’s also a jukebox for exploring the vast amount of tracks. If you miss the sounds of Sega Team, this OST can fill that void.
Knife + Heart (film)
Yann Gonzalez’s ode to Dario Argento, Cruising, and Brian DePalma moves like a teenager through the club–quick and dirty, but gasping for breath every once in a while. The film’s scored by M83, but also contains a variety of songs to match the story: an adult film director trying to finish her film as its stars are murdered one-by-one by a leather-masked killer. Knife + Heart is currently streaming on Shudder, if you haven’t seen it.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s “Love’s Refrain” is a highlight, accompanying the end credits dream-like shoot, as the living and the dead smile and pose against a white background.
Just kidding. I haven’t seen this new version because someone told me not to.
Change my mind, or something.
Mr. Robot Season 4 (USA Network)
Series composer Mac Quayle puts a bow on this hacker’s tale. Like the series itself, the music quality hasn’t dipped one bit, and it’s sure to age well.
With hints of Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 and synthwave icons Carpenter Brut, the final season of Mr. Robot beeps when it needs to, bloops when you least expect it. There aren’t many TV soundtrack LPs I buy on day one, but Quayle’s music is a great score for your own life and activities (I suggest spinning it while you clean the house. Seriously, it makes menial tasks more exciting).
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (PC, Consoles)
Composed by the legendary Michiru Yamane (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), Koji Igarashi’s “unofficial” ‘Vania successor did not disappoint. While the game itself took years to come out due to its labor-of-love nature (Kickstarter, etc.), the orchestral soundtrack is timeless and fits nicely into previous Dracula-slaying music collections.
As someone who’s played the Symphony soundtrack to death, Yamane has given fans a real gift.
“Gears of Fortune” is a favorite of mine.
What soundtrack or original score defines the decade for you? Chime in on the comments below!