‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Black Panther’ Tunes Top 2018 Movie Songs Playlist

Here are some of the best movie songs of the year, arranged in a sequence that blends nicely like a fake album. These picks have little to do with the recently announced Oscar shortlist, which means many of them have no chance of being nominated. But I love them. There are some obvious Oscar-related songs that may seem conspicuously missing from this list. That’s because, as with any playlist, flow matters – so some contenders are left out for sequencing. Others because, well, those are the ones I love. Heard together, these songs paint a sonic picture of the wide diversity of notable film music of 2018. Asterisked tracks made it to last week’s shortlist of Original Songs and could make it into the final nominations. January 22. Go to our Spotify channel to find the playlistor scroll down.

1. Black eyes (Cooper, Nelson) Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”

This iteration’s answer to “Watch Closely Now”, it speaks to a deeper darkness in the character than in previous versions of the story. And he’s a badass album-opening rocker with Jim Morrison and Pearl Jam DNA.

2. Zero (Reynolds, Sermon, McKee, Platzman, Hill) Imagine Dragons, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

A modern and lively pop that expresses the self-doubt of the protagonist.

3. pray for me (Tesfaye, Duckworth, Feeney, McKinney) The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, “Black Panther”

Eerie, cutting-edge hip-hop with traditional African sounds straight out of the mind of villainous Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), the most sociopolitically driven, yet emotional, antagonist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

4. For You (Fifty Shades Freed) (Payne, Sahatciu, Watt, Payami, Tamposi) Rita Ora and Liam Payne, “Fifty Shades Freed”

Catchy dance pop, though after saying they’ve been expecting each other their whole lives, the singers breathlessly swear, “I’ll be yours/for a thousand nights” (under three).

5. This way (Robinson, Wilson, Elci, Lazar, Fagenson) Khalid with ELLE, “Superfly”

The best basement dance party of the movie year, slow jam isn’t exactly romantic; it describes a dysfunctional destructive relationship. (Not safe for work)

6. Always remember us this way (Gaga, Hemby, Lindsey, McKenna) Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”

A dramatic ballad of the hit musical.

7. * Girl in movies (Parton, Perry) Dolly Parton, “Dumplin'”

Parton and Linda Perry are a perfect match, and the 72-year-old country legend has a great voice.

8. Strawberries and cigarettes (Sivan, Antonoff, Hope) Troye Sivan, “Love, Simon”

Sivan is responsible for two of the best love songs of the year, this one peppered with revealing detail and crafted with dreamy pop, perfect for its lighthearted, Hollywood romance.

9. I promise you (Gluck, Koenig) James Corden, “Peter Rabbit”

In the children’s musical dictionary under “sunny pop”: this catchy ditty from writer-director Will Gluck and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend.

ten. (Under the) beautiful London sky (Shaman, Wittman) Lin-Manuel Miranda, “The Return of Mary Poppins”

Perhaps the most memorable track from the tribute musical.

11. *A place called Slaughter Race (Menken, Johnston, MacDougall) Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Cast, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

Add musical theater conventions to the list of things Disney’s cheeky sequel pokes fun at with this “I Want” side song.

12. flower of the universe (Adu, Hale, Travers) Sade, “A shortcut in time”

A jewel of a celestial music box.

13. *All stars (Duckworth, Spears, Shuckburgh, Rowe, Tiffith) Kendrick Lamar and SZA, “Black Panther”

A serious (briefly NSFW) contender with a beautifully atmospheric production.

14. Whatthegirl…wannadoo (The Coup d’Etat) The Coup feat. Janelle Monae, “Sorry to Bother You”

NSFW at base, but presumably 1980s Prince would have approved.

15. Stronger than I’ve ever been (Jean, Taupin) Mary J. Blige, “Sherlock Gnomes”

A funky belt designed by Elton John/Bernie Taupin.

16. maybe it’s time (Isbell) Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”

Melancholic food for thought that ties together nicely ahead of the year’s politically conscious songs.

17. Here is the change (Kesha, Wrabel) Kesha, “Based on Gender”

Protest anthem inspired by both the film’s protagonist, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Bob Dylan.

18. * I will fight (Warren) Jennifer Hudson, “RGB”

Ginsburg’s other anthem of the year features Hudson’s howitzer voice.

19. *We will not move (Karpov, White, Wood, Ruppert) Arlissa, “The Hate You Give”

Calm, moving – and perhaps the most effective protest song of the year.

20. *Revelation (Sivan, Jonsi) Troye Sivan and Jónsi, “Erased Boy”

Sivan’s second memorable love song is atmospheric to Jónsi’s Icelandic band collaboration Sigur Ros; sounds like a timed visit to paradise.

21. I will never love again (Gaga, Hemby, Lindsey, Raitiere) Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”

The great signature ballad of musical romance.

22. Gravity (McGraw, McKenna) Tim McGraw, “Free Solo”

Captures both the intimacy and scale of the epic rise of the documentary’s protagonist.

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