We're looking back at the best of the 2010s including iconic TV characters and best Irish albums. It's been quite a decade for cinema and the movie soundtracks to match have been epic.

Our picks of the best soundtracks of the past ten years spans quite a range. We've had swansongs from music legends like Ennio Morricone while modern music hero Hans Zimmer gets a couple of mentions. Marvel movies rank too thanks to their expert choice of songs and creativity. Of course there are a few musicals in there as well as more experimental soundtracks as well.

Tell us what's been your favourite movie soundtrack of the decade in the comments.

Here are our picks.


The Dark Knight Rises

If we could have included the epic soundtrack that is 'The Dark Knight' here, we absolutely would have. Alas, it hit cinemas in 2008. Still, 'The Dark Knight Rises' warrants inclusion as it expands from its predecessor, effectively utilising it without depending on it as a crutch. Composed by the aforementioned Hans Zimmer, the soundtrack makes excellent use of chants. Its best tracks include "Gotham's Reckoning (Bane's theme)", "The Fire Rises" and its conclusive "Rise."


Guardians of the Galaxy Vols. 1 & 2

The genius of writer-director James Gunn was established not just in how humorous and heartfelt 'GOTG' ended up being, but also by the film's exquisite soundtrack. And he did it again with the sequel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Awesome Mix Vol. 2'. While 'Awesome Mix Vol. 1' includes 1960s and 1970s songs like "Come and Get Your Love" (which expertly introduced Peter Quill) and "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", the second album included "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Come a Little Bit Closer" (set to Yondu taking vengeance on his mutineers).


Under the Skin

In spite of starring Scarlett Johansson and receiving high praise from critics, 'Under the Skin' flopped at the box office when it hit cinemas in 2013. Its story of an alien who preys on men in Scotland was just too weird for audiences. The soundtrack was similarly otherworldly and creepy, composed by Mica Levi (aka Micachu), whose expertise is experimental pop. Levi went on to compose the score for Jacqueline Kennedy biopic 'Jackie', for which she earned an Oscar nod.



We did warn you in advance that Hanz Zimmer was going to come up a lot. But the raw emotion the guy inspires through his music - whether it's the sorrow and sense of regret associated with the 'Inception' composition "Time", or sense of anticipation and excitement inspired by a track like "Dream is Collapsing" or "Mombasa" - is undeniable. Clearly Zimmer and Christopher Nolan are a match made in heaven. Speaking of...

Honourable mention: 'Interstellar' (because our editor said we weren't allowed any more Hans Zimmer soundtracks)


La La Land

When it comes to musicals, being totally orientated around music, the soundtrack can absolutely make or break them. For 'La La Land', the soudtrack absolutely made that movie. "City of Stars" was the number to win the Academy award for Best Original Song but the film is full of great songs like opening number "Another Day of Sun", the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-esque "A Lovely Night", and "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)", performed movingly by Emma Stone.



Nicolas Winding Refn blew everyone out of the water with 'Drive' in 2011, and it's still one of the most effortlessly cool movies of the last decade. A cool movie needs a cool soundtrack to match and Refn hired Johnny Jewel of Desire and the Chromatics for the task. Electronic music was the order of the day while songs were used minimally but effectively. "Nightcall" by Kavinsky opened the film, "A Real Hero" closed it, and "Under Your Spell" came at the halfway point.


Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Having been released in 2010, the 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' just about makes it into our list. The tracks constitute a mix of classic rock, alternative rock, indie, garage and post-punk, including original tracks like "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" and "Garbage Truck." Songs by the likes of T. Rex and The Rolling Stones also feature. The deluxe soundtrack includes a bonus video of Brie Larson (who you'd totally forget was in that movie) singing Metric's "Black Sheep".


Iron Man 2

In case you need a reminder, the soundtrack for 'Iron Man 2' was composed by none other than hard rock band AC/DC. It's a mish-mash of songs from the music legends taken from as far back as the 1970s, and the high energy, exhilarating nature of their music matched Tony Stark's second solo outing perfectly. The songs "Shoot to Thrill", "Thunderstruck" and "Highway to Hell" all play at one point or another.


The Artist

Ludovic Bource did not have an easy task ahead of him when he was required to compose a soundtrack that would run as long as a feature film. Because 'The Artist' is silent, the music was really indispensable, having to not only convey emotion and capture the setting but really communicate the story as the spoken word was absent. It's not all original music as Bernard Hermann's music from 'Vertigo' was utilised in the final scene. But we'll let Bource off the hook for that one.


The Social Network

Another of the more experimental and techno-inspired soundtracks on the list - and another Best Original Score Oscar winner - is 'The Social Network'. Composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it earned praise from critics and numerous awards. Reznor and Ross had previously collaborated on 'Ghosts I–IV', the sixth album from rock band Nine Inch Nails. In fact, at least a couple of the movie's tracks were actually reworked from 'Ghosts'.


If Beale Street Could Talk

Can't have a music countdown without a bit of jazz, and 'If Beale Street Could Talk' is all about it. Following Berry Jenkins' phenomenal 'Moonlight', 'If Beale Street Could Talk' was unfairly neglected by audiences and mostly shut out of Oscars contention. Its original score by Nicholas Britell, who also worked on 'Moonlight', got an Oscar nod. However it lost out to 'Black Panther'.


The Hateful Eight

Here, we all know that 'The Hateful Eight' is not Quentin Tarantino's best movie. Nor is the soundtrack album Ennio Morricone's greatest composition. However it did see the composer earn his long-deserved Oscar (the same year Leonardo DiCaprio got his for 'The Revenant', funnily enough), and even though it's not up there with 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' and 'Once Upon a Time in America', it's still bloody brilliant. It's also notably the first complete original score for a Tarantino film.


A Star is Born



Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Probably the most surprising animated film of the past decade. The animation was gorgeous and vibrant, voice cast the perfect fit, and soundtrack urban and electrifying. While Daniel Pemberton composed the original score, songs that featured on the soundtrack included  "Sunflower" by Post Malone,  "Elevate"  by DJ Khalil and  "Home" by Vince Staples. And who can forget the song from the movie's best scene, "What's Up Danger"?

Honourable mention: Black Panther



Space-set movies have frequently impressed audiences over the years and the visual feast that is 'Gravity' was no different. As it followed a single astronaut (played by Sandra Bullock) lost and isolated in space, the music was more important than ever. It had to capture her emotions, the setting, and work as a kind of companion to the character. Steven Price, whose credits include 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Batman Begins', composed the score.



We've cheated already with a couple of honourable mentions on the list aside from our regular countdown. And we're going to cheat again, because you can't make us choose between the soundtracks for 'Frozen' and 'Moana'. That's like Sophie's choice. Plus then we'd have 'Frozen' and Lin Manuel-Miranda fans out for blood. And you don't want to piss off Disney nuts. "How Far I'll Go", "We Know the Way" and "You're Welcome" are 'Moana's most uplifting numbers while 'Frozen' is best-known for "Let it Go" but also "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", "For the First Time in Forever" and "Love Is an Open Door".


Sing Street

We're not just plugging 'Sing Street' because it's Irish - the soundtrack is genuinely a delight. When you've got the likes of Gary Clark from Danny Wilson, Relish, Glen Hansard and 'Maroon 5' frontman Adam Devine working on it, that's no wonder. As well as original songs sung by the titular band ("Drive It Like You Stole It" and "Brown Shoes" are the showstoppers), 80s music from The Cure, A-ha, Duran Duran, The Clash, Hall & Oates, Spandau Ballet, and The Jamall feature too.


The Greatest Showman

To be fair, the track "This is Me" alone would warrant the inclusion of 'The Greatest Showman' here. But you've also got the Zac Efron-Zendaya love song "Rewrite the Stars", big opener/closing number "The Greatest Show", ballad "Never Enough" (sung by Loren Allred by the way, and not Rebecca Ferguson) and Hugh Jackman-Zac Efron buddy/'let's make a deal' song "The Other Side" in there too. Musical fans couldn't get enough of it and the album topped the charts worldwide.


Phantom Thread

As beautiful as it is hypnotic and enigmatic is a description you can apply as readily to 'Phantom Thread', directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, as a whole as you can to its soundtrack. The music for the Daniel Day Lewis starrer is composed by Jonny Greenwood. He had previously worked with Anderson on the soundtracks for 'There Will Be Blood', 'The Master' and 'Inherent Vice'. Its classical sound is summarised well in the track "House of Woodstock".


Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen brothers never neglect their soundtracks and the one for 2013 film 'Inside Llewyn Davis' could be their most impressive and engrossing. Aside from Bob Dylan's "Farewell" and Dave Van Ronk's "Green, Green Rocky Road", they're all modern recordings of a folk music variety. Oscar Isaac performs most of them, though Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons join in at various points.