Top 10 Scores Turning 30 in 2020

Back to our musical score time machine! For this edition, we're looking at 1990! Here's a look back at the scores of the year with my list of the 10 Best Scores Turning 30!

Let's start the ranking!

10. Predator 2 (Alan Silvestri)

Silvestri, like the film itself, goes bigger and louder.  Thematic ideas are generally built from the first film.  He digs deep with jungle rhythms, powerful percussion and eerie noises.  The action cues are clearly Silvestri's strengths here even if the overall package doesn't top the first film.

9. The Russia House (Jerry Goldsmith)
Goldsmith reworked parts of rejected scores for this spy thriller.  There are hints of the Russian setting, but mainly relies on a mix of electronics and jazz trio.  It's fairly laid back, but Goldsmith adds some of the sexuality and suspense through his score.

8. Days of Thunder (Hans Zimmer)
This score is a landmark for setting up Zimmer's action template.  It also connected him to director Tony Scott and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.  Through the synths, wailing guitars and driving drums, it still sounds like the Zimmer we know now.  The power anthems add to the racing thrills and remain delightfully entertaining.

7. Back to the Future Part III (Alan Silvestri)
Silvestri builds nicely on the musical ideas from the first two films.  The biggest change comes from the wild west setting, which provides the fantastic new wild west theme.  The theme for Clara is also delightful, in addition to the train climax.  Silvestri puts a perfect bow on the trilogy.

6. Total Recall (Jerry Goldsmith)
Goldsmith really lets loose with this electronic and orchestral writing.  The energetic action material matches the film's over-the-top futuristic atmosphere.  The non action cues are still captivating, especially the finale. 

5. Avalon (Randy Newman)
Newman's piano and string writing is nostalgic and bittersweet.  There are some lovely waltz themes that get subtle variations through the score.  It's this intimate and delicate writing that led to his lengthy relationship with Pixar.
4. The Hunt for Red October (Basil Poledouris)
Poledouris opens the score with a grand Russian-style choral piece.  The theme is used through the score, which is full of orchestral bombast and dated electronic sequences.

3. Home Alone (John Williams)
Williams added much of the Christmas spirit to this holiday blockbuster.  We get musical range with sentimental melodies, faux-Nutcracker, winking burglar material and original songs.  Easily one of the most memorable and joyful Christmas scores. 

2. Edward Scissorhands (Danny Elfman)
I can't imagine this film without this heart-warming score.  Elfman's score found the magical balance set by Tim Burton.  The haunting love theme with choir, Edward's loneliness and the strangeness of suburbia are all heard in this fairy tale.  

1. Dances With Wolves (John Barry)
John Barry's sweeping score perfectly matches the gorgeous cinematography.  The score is both epic and intimate.  The lush romantic melodies of the John Dunbar and love theme are among the best Barry composed.  

Honorable Mentions:

Awakenings (Randy Newman), Dick Tracy (Danny Elfman), Ghost (Maurice Jarre), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Jerry Goldsmith), Joe Versus the Volcano (Georges Delerue), Nightbreed (Danny Elfman), Presumed Innocent (John Williams), Rescuers Down Under (Bruce Broughton), RoboCop 2 (Leonard Rosenman)

Any personal favorites of yours from 1990 that I didn't include? 

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