Staff Playlists: 2015 Movie Music

We’re launching Staff Playlists, a new music feature that allows our contributors to curate a playlist of their choosing. Our inaugural posting is made by Nicole Barraza Keim!

2015 was a great year for cinema music, with especially outstanding achievements in soundtracks, from Common and John Legend’s song for Selma, “Glory,” to FIFTY SHADES’ “Earned It” (and I highly recommend taking the time to listen to the full FIFTY SHADES OF GREY album). Though the blockbusters had a very strong showing with beautiful cues like STAR WARS’ “The Scavenger” and MAD MAX’s “Redemption,” films that did not top the box office could still pride themselves on their scores (see CRIMSON PEAK’s “Return to Your Ghost” and BEASTS OF NO NATION’s “I Saved Your Life”).

The biggest story in movie music may have been Ennio Morricone returning with his first score for a Western in decades in collaboration with Tarantino for THE HATEFUL EIGHT, winning an Oscar in the process, but the nearly unheard-of DUKE OF BURGUNDY had a beautiful score meriting attention as well.

Further of note is how EX MACHINA and SICARIO’s scores curiously mirror each other in their use of low, sustained, and pulsating electronic tones to accentuate the foreboding feelings imparted by their plots.

This playlist is only a taste of the bountiful cornucopia of cinematic masterpieces made in 2015 and should serve only as an entryway into many other great scores of the modern era. Please listen in order as the list is curated for maximum user enjoyment. Happy listening!


Nicole Barraza Keim is a graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts and fervent Trekkie. Her passion is promoting positive change in media by creating content about all types of women kicking ass! To keep up with Nicole’s reviews, follow her on Letterboxd at the link above.

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