I am a huge soundtrack listener. About 90% of the time I’m listening to music, and about 60% of that is listening to soundtracks from movies, video games and tv shows. I even have my favorite composers like others have their favorite music artists (*cough* Harry Gregson-Williams *cough*). These 15 particular songs from some of my favorite soundtracks are on my top list of “Chills and Tears”, as I like to call it. They’re pieces that either give me chills or move me to tears because they’re unbelievably beautiful, they allude to a scene that was chilling or emotional, they evoke deep emotion, or they inspire me to dream. These are the pieces I highly suggest to those who love and need music for inspiration.
- “There Are Worse Games to Play/Deep in the Meadow”-The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2-by James Newton Howard
(Caution: Spoilers!) Fans most likely know when this piece plays in the last Hunger Games movie: the very last scene, as Katniss monologues to her baby while Peeta and their son play in the distant meadow, just before the screen goes black and the tear-inducing song of “Deep in the Meadow” follows in Jennifer Lawrence’s beautiful voice as the credits roll. Yup, emotions overload. I can replay this song over and over, and it will always make me weep every time. It’s my go-to when I just feel like having a good soothing cry.
2. “Alan Turing’s Legacy”-The Imitation Game-by Alexandre Desplat
The soundtrack for this movie is one of favorites, and the central piano melody always sends shivers down my spine. This piece tells exactly what the title states: the legendary and tragic life of the man who cracked Enigma during World War II. It evokes a bittersweet sensation.
3. “Only the Beginning of the Adventure”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams
Naturally I love everything about Narnia. This was the soundtrack that made me fall in love with all of Harry Gregson-Williams’ work. This piece has it all: sadness, joy, thrill, tenderness, magic, innocence, timelessness. It spans a good amount of the story at the end of the movie, and so it travels and covers a lot of conflicting emotions and moments.
4. “Main Title”-Bridge to Terabithia-by Aaron Zigman
From one of my absolute favorite movies, this main theme is full of magic and the beauty of childhood. If you know the story, it also makes you cry, just a little.
5. “Arrival to Earth”-Transformers-by Steve Joblonsky
I’ve never particularly cared for the transformer movies, but they have one heck of a soundtrack. This is from possibly the most epic and memorable scene from the first movie. It evokes just that, a grand epicness.
6. “Merry Men”-Robin Hood (2010)-by Marc Streitenfeld
I adore the guitar and strings from this movie’s soundtrack. It’s so medieval and terribly catchy. This piece plays during the credits, which is one of my favorite credits (yes, I even have favorite movie credits. I’m such a nerd.) It makes me feel adventurous and capable, like Robin Hood himself.
7. “Mysterious Island Main Titles”-Journey 2: The Mysterious Island-by Andrew Lockington
The Journey movies are one of my guilty pleasure movies: entertaining, colorful, age limitless, with enough lighthearted emotion and fun action to be satisfying. You wouldn’t really expect that kind of movie to have a gorgeous soundtrack. Andrew Lockington took it a step up from the first film. I have several favorites from the soundtrack, but this one from the end credits brings it all together into one grand, cinematic finale.
8. “Forbidden Friendship”-How to Train Your Dragon-by John Powell
Did you know the soundtrack for this film was nominated for an Oscar? That’s how good it is. This one is the best piece from the album. It makes me feel beautiful, dreamy, one with nature.
9. “I Am Shay Patrick Cormac”-Assassin’s Creed Rogue-by Elitsa Alexandrova
The Assassin’s Creed video game franchise has some of the best gaming music out there (in my opinion). Each game has its own unique and original soundtrack and composer, with the music perfectly reflecting the differing historic time periods, settings, and protagonist’s cultural background. In result, the settings and events feel alive and present because the music so beautifully embodies it. That is what I find brilliant, especially when it’s by a different composer every time. I have a lot of favorites from this franchise, but Rogue’s is perhaps my top favorite. This piece from the album makes me pause and reflect on the protagonist’s intriguing and complicated story. Plus it alludes to an impactful ending cutscene from the game.
10. “The Lighting of the Beacons”-The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King-by Howard Shore
Everything about the LOTR trilogy is historic. Even those outside of the fandom can recognize themes from the movies. This piece plays in one of the best cinematic scenes from the third movie, which is merely a sequence of over sweeping shots of beacons being lit high up on moutaintops. It’s nothing but visuals and music, which is a cinematic achievement in the art of filmmaking.
11. “Liz on Top of the World”-Pride and Prejudice-by Dario Marianelli
Pride and Prejudice has one of those soundtracks you can fall asleep to and dream peacefully. A score made up almost entirely of piano stands out to be remembered. Just like the scene that this piece plays at, it makes me feel like I am standing on a cliff, on top of the world yet with nowhere to go. That is a very interesting and deep state of emotion to contemplate.
12. “The Grid”-Tron Legacy-by Daft Punk
The addition of Jeff Bridges’ monologue to the piece sets you up for a great film experience when it starts off with this. You can only go in thinking, “this is gonna be good.” The fact that this movie’s soundtrack is composed by Daft Punk makes it even more cool.
13. “Ezio’s Family”-Assassin’s Creed 2-by Jesper Kyd
This theme debuted in the second Assassin’s Creed game, and it was so darn popular that it popped back up in later games as the official standard theme for the franchise. Fans probably love it because it alludes back to everyone’s favorite assassin, Ezio (me? Connor for the win!). It is extraordinary, I’ll give it that. It’s raw, emotional, and competes with the timeless scores of gaming history.
14. “The Gravel Road”-The Village-by James Newton Howard
This soundtrack, with its haunting score, evokes that solemn, lonely, yet hopeful feeling that the movie evokes. Because of its slow, calm pace, this is the right song to think deeply to. It really shuts you up and forces you to feel the chills that run along with the solo violin’s melody.
15. “Fi’s Farewell”-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword-by Takeshi Hama
Outside of the age-old Legend of Zelda themes that frequent every game in the franchise, this is a singular and original piece from the Skyward Sword title. It’s bittersweet and gentle, the perfect touch for a farewell scene. And farewell scenes usually always evoke intense emotions.
16. “Martha’s Theme”-Doctor Who-by Murray Gold
Murray Gold is a musical master and proved it when he became the composer for the revived Doctor Who in 2005. I always adored how all the companions have their own theme, but the theme for Martha Jones is by far the coolest. It’s so different from the others, it perfectly represents her character, and its haunting vocals make you sway in a kind of trance. It’s hypnotic, in a good way.
17. “Rather Death than Slavery”-Assassin’s Creed Unity-by Sarah Schachner
Yes, I am putting yet another Assassin’s Creed piece here, but this one is special. Unity actually has my least favorite soundtrack in the games, least enough to make me have no immediate interest in listening to it. This song, therefore, is like a diamond in the rough. It stands far above the rest of the score, and I think it’s the haunting choir vocals and the *tick-tock* rhythm.
“Natsuzora: Ending Theme”-The Girl Who Leapt Through Time-by Kiyoshi Yoshida
“Promentory”-Last of the Mohicans-by Trevor Jones
“Safe Passage”-The Last Samurai-by Hans Zimmer
“Evacuating London”-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-by Harry Gregson-Williams
“12 Years Later”-Treasure Planet-by James Newton Howard
“Liberation Main Theme”-Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation-by Winifred Phillips