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Our Top Ten Songs of... Film/TV
Often, the best therapy is getting lost in the carefully constructed world of a film or TV series. Here are a selection of songs that remind us of some of our favourite on-screen moments! David & Maxim
10. I'll Be There For You - The Rembrandts (Friends)
It's easy to imagine that when they were producing the pilot of their newest sitcom they just plucked the nearest upbeat pop song off of the shelf. With 'I'll Be There For You' they made the perfect choice, whether intentional or not. The song perfectly encapsulates what the show is all about, when things aren't going your way or when times are tough - I'll be there for you. This was mirrored throughout the whole ten seasons of the show as through a range of ups and downs the group supported each other and stuck together. Not only does the song perfectly tie in with the show, it's also really catchy! From the opening guitar riff to the hand clapping the song hooks you in, which alone makes it one of the best theme songs of any show! Nearly 30 years on and all the nostalgia the song, and show, carries has just further cemented it as a timeless classic.
9. I Cross My Heart - George Strait (Pure Country)
This is the curveball of my selection, because the film isn’t too well-known, and although a big hit in the States, ‘I Cross My Heart’ didn’t make quite as big a splash across the pond. But as far as soundtracks go, George Strait’s ‘Pure Country’ is stellar from start to finish, and has become one of his best-selling albums of all time. ‘I Cross My Heart’ sounds exactly how the film feels - it’s cheesy, it’s gooey, it’s corny, but it’s also irresistibly charming. The title character, played by Strait, spots his love in the crowd and sings the song in its entirety as if she’s the only person in the arena. Strait himself confessed that they tried to pack as many songs into the film as possible, to minimise the amount of acting he’d have to do! Well I’m just glad this one made the cut.
8. You've Got a Friend in Me - Randy Newman (Toy Story)
Toy Story will always be one of the classics from arguably one of the greatest eras of Pixar animations. The imagination behind the film is astounding, and the story of camaraderie and purpose is heartwarming all the way through. The song appears over a montage of Andy playing with his favourite toy Woody, but the song gives it a deeper meaning. Woody may only be a toy (as far as Andy is concerned at least) but he is so much more than that for Andy, and Woody's eagerness to keep Andy happy throughout the film only cements the bond that they share. The song is a simplistic yet beautiful number about the importance of friendship, trust and commitment in a film with a similar message.
7. Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida ft. David Guetta (Step Up 3D)
I imagine you had one of two possible reactions to this choice - either you’ve never heard of it, or you had a mental ‘Oh yeah!’ moment as you remember this awesome throwback. I forget just how many chart-topping smashes Flo Rida accrued throughout his career, and for me ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’ is one of the best. Do you remember that brief period of time where dance-battle films with awesome soundtracks were a big thing? Well Step Up 3D arrived at the heart of that phase, and while the film perhaps wasn’t too memorable, don’t let that detract from the music. ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’ is a Pop-EDM anthem helmed by legendary DJ David Guetta and purpose-built for the club. But whether you’re out on the town or dancing in your living room, queue up this song and it’ll give you an audio energy boost.
6. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love - The Blues Brothers
Now an inclusion from my favourite film of all time. This wacky masterpiece is a lesson in how to mix over the top action and hilarious characters with great music. Containing genuine heavyweights from jazz, funk and soul the cast is one of the most talented of all time, although not always at acting it would seem! The story is that of two unlikely heroes on their 'Mission from God' to save the orphanage they were raised at by putting the old band back together for one big show. Unfortunately what starts as a red light pull over spirals its way to a multi car (and one RV) police chase as the film continues. This song is the first performed by the Blues Brothers themselves at their one time event and shows even the fiercest of cops enjoying the entertainment. It's probably not my favourite song from the film but it comes at such an iconic point in the film that I had to put it in!
5. Stayin' Alive - BeeGees (Saturday Night Fever)
From the moment that funky baseline starts, there’s no turning back - you’ll be hooked on this iconic track. Continuing that unmistakable falsetto throughout the song is such a daring move, but one that has ensured this song will be etched into pop’s history books. Like a couple of omissions from our Top 10, such as Whitney’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ and Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is a classic example of the song transcending the film. I’m not entirely sure the lyrics make sense (does anyone really know what “The New York Times’ effect on man” is?) but it doesn’t matter - it still has me singing along every time. ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ is another one of my favourites from an unforgettable soundtrack.
4. Unshaken - D'Angelo (Red Dead Redemption 2)
OK so I'm going to cheat a little and throw this in the mix despite it being from a video game. The way I'll get away with it is that it comes from a cinematic moment. RDR2 was a visual masterpiece with a story full of sharp twists and turns. I don't remember a time I've been so engaged in the characters, the whole thing played out like an Oscar worthy Western. There is one particular moment in the story where Arthur returns to America having had to complete some missions on an island overseas. Having been through a more than fair share of adversity already at this point in the story the game drops you back on land with your horse and sets your destination point a fair ride away. Shortly into the journey you are encouraged to enter cinematic mode. Upon doing so a montage ensues of Arthur riding through the stunning landscapes on the map backed with this beautiful song. The song's main line 'May I Stand Unshaken?' Is a testament to the resiliency of the character. The beauty of the story, this song and the scene it comes in means I just had to include it.
3. How Far I'll Go - Auli'i Cravalho (Moana)
Anyone that knows me knows that this is probably my favourite film of all time. Yes, I’m aware it’s a Pixar film that’s aimed at children - but hey, maybe that just says something about my mental age…Aside from the magical storytelling and inspiring character arcs (just let me gush, okay), the songs are perfectly selected and accentuate all of the key emotional moments. Although ‘You’re Welcome’ gets all the attention, ’How Far I’ll Go’ is definitely my favourite. The way it begins in such a vulnerable and tender way, and then just builds to reach this emphatic, anthemic crescendo in the chorus. It’s a celebration of following your heart and venturing into the unknown, rather than taking the safe option and falling in with the crowd. It’s an inspirational lesson that can be applied to all situations in life - you do you, no matter what other people say. No wonder this film always makes me cry.
2. Take Me Home, Country Roads - Dwight & Andy (The Office US)
The American version of The Office is my all time favourite TV show and this scene is one of the best moments. In an attempt to woo new receptionist Erin, Andy on his banjo and Dwight on his guitar both perform snippets of this classic song. In an attempt to come out on top both are overly critical of each other and try using banjo solos and German singing to come out on top. In a classic enemies become friends TV moment Andy and Dwight begin performing simultaneously, and ultimately find brotherhood in the music. It's such a great moment that demonstrates the pure joy music can bring to even the two fiercest of rivals. It is also a great listen and you find yourself really enjoying this musical interlude, that is until stupid Toby ruins the whole thing by telling them to stop. Jerk.
1. A Million Dreams - Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman & Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman)
If Moana takes my top movie spot, then The Greatest Showman is probably my second favourite film of all time. This completely shifted the goalposts for musical-films, incorporating more traditional elements while also making it feel unquestionably contemporary. The soundtrack represents this perfectly - you get the classic ballads (‘This is Me’, ‘Never Enough’) alongside the uptempo dance-pop of ‘Rewrite the Stars’ and ‘The Greatest Show’). But for me, the jewel in the crown is ‘A Million Dreams’, which finds a young PT Barnum singing about all of his fantastical hopes and aspirations. The special moment comes when the song transitions into a grown-up PT Barnum - he sings the same lyrics and it still carries that same sense of childhood wonder and innocence. I think that’s why I love the film so much - it’s essentially a tribute to the importance of always holding onto that sense of childhood wonder, no matter now many trials and tribulations life throws your way.
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