The Best Musical Scores of 2023

””2023 was one of the most memorable years for film. Perhaps even more memorable than the films themselves were the musical scores that accompanied them. From sweeping compositions, epic accompaniments, and subtle yet destructive themes; 2023 has given us some of the most memorable scores in recent years. Here are some of my favorites, listed in no particular order.

The Muiscal Success of Poor Things and Where it Came From

””Praise has been heaped ad nauseam on Poor Things. Lanthimos’ pristine direction, with his signature embellishments of morbid deadpan, has now taken to new heights with a whole world to play off of his usual tricks. With some of the best sense of pacing and mise-en-scène in modern cinema- provided by production designers James Price and Shona Heath. Stone's transformation into Bella Baxter, a career-high for one of Hollywood's best actresses– completely embodying the naivety, sexual agency, and sense of wonder and exploration of the character. The recognition is all deserved. It’s an ambitious odyssey to execute on screen, and every aspect of the production works in an oddball harmony to make one of the best films in a frankly stacked year for cinema. I’d argue what ties this all together is the music. Equally as weird but never veering to nonsense as the rest of the film, Jerskin Fendrix created his own marvel of an unconventional but enticing soundtrack– which when looking into his roots as an artist is no surprise.

Once in a Lifetime- The Imax Experience of Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense, at its core, is the story of a band. It begins with a solitary man, who is faceless but familiar, walking out onto the stage. As the camera follows his feet out from the backstage shadows and into the limelight, this tolerably titled “concert film” has already made its statement as a higher performative art piece -and it’s just getting started.

Music in Movies? … Portrait of a Lady on Fire Says No

””Musical composition has reigned as one of the most defining qualities in films since sound made its debut, but its absence may be just as impactful. Everyone is familiar with films like Jaws, The Pink Panther, or the Star Wars franchise, unquestionably due to their original musical scores, as well as their plots. Céline Sciamma’s 2019 film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, not only coexists with these movies with a devoid musical framework (at least until the end), but arguably ranks amongst or even above them.
(Spoilers Ahead)