20 Best Music Moments of 2011

Music is an essential part of cinema and this year featured many good music moments in film which I wanted to showcase. There’s more I would have loved to add and this list is pure fun and isn’t in any particular order.


Chemical Brothers – Escape 700

Chemical Brothers scored a pulse-pounding soundtrack for that breathed energy into this art house action film and was the equivalent of Daft Punk’s soundtrack for last year’s Tron Legacy. 

Kavinsky – Nightcall

Drive had one of the best soundtracks of the year. One of the most memorable songs was College’s A Real Hero, but the song that I listened to more than any other was this cooler than cool dance track over that was used over the opening titles. Perfect nighttime driving music. 

Martha Marcy May Marlene
John Hawkes – Marcy’s song

This country classic was given a haunting do-over by the amazing character actor, John Hawkes. He sings this song to his circle of followers and dedicates it to Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) that has her fall under his spell along with the audience and perfectly sums up the character of Patrick. “She’s just a picture, hanging on my wall.”

Another Earth
Fall on your Sword – First Time I saw Jupiter

Fall on your sword does a great job for this score for this independent film and starts the film on the right note with the movie’s intro scored to this mesmerizing electronic track. 

The National – About Today

The National are an amazing band and not typically the one I’d think of to score a fight scene but their extended version of “About Today” is a perfect companion to the Brother’s final fight scene that swells up into a hard rock ballad outro. The National also have an amazing original track that closes the film “Win Win.” I consider them 2 for 2. 

Tree of Life 
Zbigniew Preisner – Lacrimosa  

The Tree of Life’s creation of the universe scene is made all the more stunningly beautiful by this orchestra track that is so moving and hauntingly beautiful on it’s own, it’s impossible not to listen to it without imagining the beauty of the universe. 

Like Crazy 
Stars – Dead Hearts

A heartbreaking movie staged perfectly to end with this indie rock track that sums up the beauty and tragedy of being in love. 

Richard Wagner – Tristan and Isolde, Prelude

Like the Tree of Life’s creation sequence, this orchestra track perfectly contrasts with the pain and beauty of the film’s striking opening sequence that already looks like moving oil paintings. The song feels like it was composed for this movie. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Trent Reznor and Karen O – Immigrant Song

One of the best things about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s marketing was the use of this infectious Led Zeppelin cover in their marketing and theatrical trailers. An odd use of a cover song that fits surprisingly well with the tone of the film and matches the tone of Fincher’s liquid metal opening sequence. 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Julio Iglesias – Le Mer

An usual pick for a song to be in a cold war British Intelligence film but fits oddly well to the contrasting montage where all the loose ends get tied up and everything is resolved. 

Captain America: The First Avenger
The Star Spangled Singers – Star Spangled Man’

An original song isn’t a common thing in the day and age of the modern superhero but halfway through Captain America, when he begins to tour his Captain America character at various USO shows, it becomes his theme and one hell of a classic toe-tapper. 

Young Adult 
Teenage Fanclub – The Concept  

An old school alternative rock throwback that captures Theron’s character’s mindset when she jams to this song over and over from her high school sweetheart’s mix tape and ends up a heartbreaking song when she hears it played by her old flame’s wife. 

No Strings Attached 
Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Period Mixtape. Nuff’ Said. 

Tsar – Calling all Destoryers

A great fist-pumping rock track that is a great soundtrack with the extremely clever and well-made animated opening sequence of this twisted superhero movie. 

Wilson Phillips – Hold On

This classic 80’s song will always make me think of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle but this film one-ups by being the theme song of the two main best friends and ends up getting the actual Wilson Philips to perform live at the ending wedding. 

Horrible Bosses
The Heavy – How you Like Me Now

Unless you lived under a rock you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this great song that was prominently featured in television ads and commercials and featured in one humorous brief sequence in this summer comedy. 

Bad Teacher
Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise

While I didn’t really care for this ridiculously stupid, raunchy Cameron Diaz comedy, I did appreciate this montage sequence that was also a homage to Michelle Phieffer’s Dangerous Mind. Probably the most clever part of the entire movie. 

Lenka – The Show

Nevermind the huge continuity error that Brad Pitt’s daughter sings a song that was made in 2008 even though the movie takes place in 2002-2003, it is a great song to match Brad Pitt’s character’s situation and hearing the daughter sing it in a guitar shop is an unexpectedly sweet moment and makes for a surprisingly heartwarming ending. 

The Artist
Brussels Philharmonic – Peppy and George 

The big dance number at the end of the film is a joyous, wonderful moment propelled by this great piece of soundtrack that matches their dance routine and sends the audience off on a high note. 

Foo Fighters – Walk

Foo Fighters are one of my favorite rock bands of all time and to hear them in this summer’s big budget comic-book movie was a treat that surprisingly fit well the character of Thor. You can hear the song briefly in a bar scene and is a great ending send – off during the credits.