Top 10 Scores Turning 10 in 2020

Back to our musical time machine! For this edition, we're looking at 2010! Here's a look back at the scores of 2010 with my list of the 10 Best Scores Turning 10!

Let's start the ranking!

10. The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
The dark ambient sounds of Reznor and Ross are divisive to many score fans. Glimpses of melody mixed are with the often abrasive electronic elements. It works as underscoring although it can be relentless on the album.

9. The Ghost Writer (Alexandre Desplat)
Desplat crafted a Herrmann-esque thriller that still sounds like undeniable Desplat. He keeps it suspenseful while keeping the momentum through to the standout climax.

8. The King's Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
Desplat's score is a bit more restrained for this Best Picture winner. Piano and strings add much to the serious struggle but also the lightness of the speech rehearsal.

7. True Grit (Carter Burwell)
Burwell based much of the score on Protestant hymns, and his arrangements of the hymns are smartly done. He was able to tap into the lyrical sadness and give it the Western flair. It stands out as one his strongest Coen brothers collaborations.

6. Toy Story 3 (Randy Newman)
Newman brings a bunch of new ideas to mingle with the past material. Stand outs include Flamenco Buzz, Lotso's theme, Ken's campy theme and the incinerator sequence. But it's the heart-wrenchingly lovely finale that Newman really sticks the ending.

5. Inception (Hans Zimmer)
Many of Zimmer's signature moves are on display in one of his most popular recent scores. The score nicely accents the action and building drama with his blend of orchestra and electronics. The music is a distinct touchstone as much as the visuals. 

4. The Last Airbender (James Newton Howard)
Easily the redeemable part of the film, Howard's large orchestra and choir delivers a wonderful landscape. The solemn string writing, highlighted percussion and sweeping majestic moments keep this score memorable.

3. Alice in Wonderland (Danny Elfman)
Alice's Theme is one of Elfman's strongest melodies and the backbone of the score. Thankfully, the album contains oodles of choral versions and variations. The battle material and softer side work really well in this Alice retelling.

2. TRON: Legacy (Daft Punk)
One of the most inventive scores of the year. It mixes genres, orchestral and electronic textures, heroic themes and a variety of composer influences. (Shout out to Joseph Trapanese's orchestration and arrangements). The unique musical landscape fits the dark sci-fi tone and also works extremely well outside of the film.

1. How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
Powell packs so much into this score - fantastic themes, orchestral bombast, Celtic instrumentation, and tender emotional material. But it's the thrilling flying sequences that continue to be the strongest highlight. This masterclass of musical storytelling makes this one of best animated film scores.

Honorable Mentions:
The A-Team (Alan Silvestri), Black Swan (Clint Mansell), Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (David Arnold), The Expendables (Brian Tyler), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Alexandre Desplat), Predators (John Debney), The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Harry Gregson-Williams), Tangled (Alan Menken)

Any personal favorites of yours from 2010 that I didn't include?

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  1. The best score is "How to Train Your Dragon". I think John Powell scored DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon".