By Francesco DeLuca
I love movies, but I have been equally invested in the original songs from movies. What you’ll find below is a list of my five favorite original songs, picked mainly on my opinion of the song itself, as well as the way the song is used in the film and the scene that accompanies it. I will warn you in advance: if you are waiting to see “Let it Go” from “Frozen” on this list, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
5. “Please Mr. Kennedy” – Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver (“Inside Llewyn Davis,“ 2013)
I probably had the hardest time filling the last spot on this list, but ultimately I decided to go with this over the top, comical tune in this film that is otherwise composed of emotional, sometimes intense folk music. Oscar Isaac’s titular character meets with Jim Berkey (Justin Timberlake) and Al Cody (Adam Driver) in a studio to record backing vocals on a song. Llewyn, who takes himself very seriously, is visibly turned off by the song, which has me laughing more and more with every one of Driver’s bizarre exclamations. It’s an extremely fun song, and is frequently performed by my roommate and myself in our dorm room.
4. “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin (“Top Gun,“ 1986)
There I was. 10 years old, obsessed with fighter pilots, watching “Top Gun” with my dad, when all of a sudden, this Berlin hit starts playing. Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” and Kelly McGillis’ “Charlie” are going at it in what could’ve definitely been the first “adult” scene I had ever seen in a movie, and I was with my old man. Regardless, this became my first favorite movie, and I probably watched it about a hundred times as a kid. FOR THE FIGHTER JETS. I promise, now get off of my case. Listening to the Academy Award-winning song, it is still a total jam and might come in handy if anyone is thinking about putting the moves on a steamy flight instructor.
3. “Llorando (Crying)” – Rebekah Del Rio (“Mulholland Drive,“ 2001)
Though this is an a cappella cover of the classic Roy Orbison song, it is an incredibly powerful rendition for the David Lynch film and for that reason I’ll consider it an original song. Main characters Betty and Rita watch Del Rio sing as part of a show. Del Rio gives an emotional, beautifully sung performance and has the main characters in tears, at some points in apparent horror. Toward the end of the song, Del Rio collapses, but the song continues, leaving the viewer to believe she had been lip-syncing the entire time. This scene sets the turning point of the film in motion, and like the rest of the film, has the viewer once again realizing that things are not what they seem.
2. “Wise Up” – Aimee Mann (“Magnolia,“ 1999)
“Save Me,” another Aimee Mann track written for this film, was a very solid contender for this spot on the list. Both those songs legitimately bring tears to my eyes almost every time I listen to them, but the real deciding factor was the scene in which “Wise Up” is used. The song plays at the low point of all the characters in the movie, and rather than simply show the characters while the song plays in the background, the ensemble takes turns singing along, each in their own deflated tone. It’s devastating, heartbreaking beauty at its finest.
1. “Somebody Kill Me Please” – Adam Sandler (“The Wedding Singer,“ 1998)
I may be a bit biased based on the fact that “The Wedding Singer” happens to be my second favorite movie of all time, but I also remember this song being number one on my “Top 25 Most Played” ages before I even thought about making a list of favorite movies. The song is prefaced by the information that main character Robbie Hart wrote half of the song during his relationship and half after a messy breakup, and the first time you hear the song you can’t help but laugh at the chorus and verse, which are complete polar opposites. The verses, filled with relief and satisfaction, are coupled with the choruses, fueled by bitterness and hate. Just as the song makes you laugh, you cannot help but be moved by the tremendous amount of heartache how ever fictional, Robbie Hart must’ve endured to write a song like that.