The 10 Best Soundtracks and Film Scores of 2014

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When it comes to the sonic world of a film, music should be used with delicacy and forethought as if it were a character itself. The audience shouldn’t feel manipulated by a score or a song placed over a scene just so, as the cinematic sounds of a movie should simply be another layer inside a moment of its own merit—enhancing our viewing experience by catering to all the senses.

Personally, as someone who wishes to be wholly immersed in art I consume, when it comes to film scores and soundtracks, the aural atmosphere can make or break the emotional and physical resonance of a film for me. And thankfully, this year we’ve been treated to some really wonderful soundtracks, from Andrew Hewitt’s dissonant and thrilling score for Richard Ayoade’s The Double and SQÜRL’s romantically haunted music for Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive to Mica Levi’s schizophrenic swirl of ominous sounds for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ quietly anxiety-provoking ambient mood piece for David Fincher’s Gone Girl.

So as we rapidly approach the end of 2014, let’s take a look back on our favorite soundtracks of the year, plus a bonus section of some absolute sonic wonders that we fell in love with after seeing at festivals earlier this year and couldn’t help but include.

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UNDER THE SKIN, Jonathan Galzer
Original Score by Mica Levi

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THE DOUBLE, Richard Ayoade
Original Score by Andrew Hewitt

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WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, Gregg Araki
Original Score by Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie

Soundtrack:

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THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Wes Anderson
Original Score by Alexandre Desplat

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COLD IN JULY, Jim Mickle
Original Score by Jeff Grace

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INHERENT VICE, Paul Thomas Anderson
Original Score by Jonny Greenwood

Soundtrack:

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BREATHE IN, Drake Doremus
Original Score by Dustin O’Halloran

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ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, Jim Jarmusch
Original Music by SQÜRL’s

Soundtrack:

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, James Marsh
Original Score by Johann Johannsson

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GONE GIRL, David Fincher
Original Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

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***BONUS***

MOMMY, Xavier Dolan
Music By: Various Artists (Celine Dion, Ludovico Einaudi, Dido, + more)

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EDEN, Mia Hansen-Love
Music by: Various Artists (Dark Punk, Frankie Knuckles, + more)

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TOM AT THE FARM, Xavier Dolan
Music by Garbiel Yared