Are the best movie scores subservient to the image, acting more as subconscious aural wallpaper? Or are they, as many soundtrack nerds would scream, "the vanguard of instrumental music of our time!!!!"?
It's a tough debate that inevitably means screaming about the ubiquity of Hans Zimmer, and the truth of the matter is most of the music cues in films that drive audiences wild don't come from the score at all. Needle-drops, the well-placed cuts of pre-existing tunes, either popular hits in an unexpected context or an "oh, wow" esoteric choice, can really bring a sequence together. And 2017 was full of them.
You don't have to tell Edgar Wright, whose Baby Driver, featuring a tune buffoon getaway racer, is wall-to-wall needle-drops from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Focus, Golden Earring, Run the Jewels, Dave Brubeck, and more, and that's why (RECORD SCCCCCCRATCH!) we have declared it ineligible for this year's 10 best countdown. Another note: the song needs to have been around. The "spreader bar" sex scene in the unfairly maligned Fifty Shades Darker is brilliantly choreographed to "Pray" by Jry featuring Rooty. It made for one of the more hilarious moments in a theater this year (whether by design or not is irrelevant) but that song was introduced with the soundtrack album and, thus, we'll have to wait until another movie tries to get its swerve on to that track. With that, press play, and hear the best-sourced music tracks from this year's movies