There was plenty of wonderful music from film in the last year but there are some in particular that struck a chord within me that made them stand out from all the rest. Below are the three I absolutely loved this past year in 2016.
Moana – How Far I’ll Go
Disney went all out for their film, Moana. From the actors to the music, they went out of their way to try and include as much Polynesian culture into the film as they could. They event went as far as to have an Oceanic Story Trust consult on the films’ cultural accuracy and sensitivity. In the end, everything paid off. The culture truly shines throughout the film and the animation, the actors, and the soundtrack are amazing.
Though there is one song that will stick in the heads of many who saw the film, and that is “How Far I’ll Go”. The song was produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda and is sung by actress/singer Auli’I Cravalho in her role as Moana.
The song is the classic “I want” song from Disney’s heroine and deals with Moana’s internal struggle with the impulse to explore beyond the reef despite her love for the island, her family, and people. As Miranda stated to People: “To me that’s much more complicated than, ‘I hate it here and I want to get out,’ ” To say, ‘I love it here, I love my parents, but why can’t I stop walking to the ocean and fantasizing about getting out of here?’ And questioning that instinct? It’s even more confusing. And that’s a valid story too. It’s internal, and I think internally is interesting.”
16-year-old singer/actress Auli’I Cravalho just nails this song. Her voice is pure, uplifting and brings out those goosebumps in this beautiful and powerful song. My understanding is that she was the last to audition for the part and it is hard to believe how this song would have turned out without her. Her voice is a true highlight.
The song was recently nominated for Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards and at the 74th Golden Globe Awards. The video featuring the full song sequence from the film was released on YouTube and can be found here.
With such an amazing performance on the soundtrack, and recently signing onto a new NBC series called, “Drama High” who knows just how far Auli’I Cravalho can go from here.
Sing Street – Drive It Like You Stole It
Sing Street is I film I have recommended to just about everyone. It is one of my favorite films of the year and includes one of my favorite songs of the year from film with “Drive It Like You Stole It”.
The film is set in 1980’s Dublin and about an Irish teen, Conor, who is going through rough times as his family is hurting financially and he is forced to attend another school. It is here he spots a girl on the street and tries to win her over by telling her he is in a band and wants her in their video. The problem is, he has no band . . . yet. When the band gets together, the music is a temporary escape from the troubles Conor is experiencing in the real world. The music is fun and the songs progressively get better as the film rolls on. When “Drive It like you stole It” hit, I was emotionally sucked into seeing these kids succeed in their music and their lives. The scene transforms from a dreary setting to a vibrant and colorful scene full of uplift in a 1950’s setting as Conor wishes how things could be. I really wanted Conor to have that place he wished for. The scene is full of heart and fun and truly one of the best scenes from 2016. According to Director and Writer John Carney in an Interview with Entertainment Weekly, “When I first heard it, I played it for my niece, who was 16 at the time, and I asked her if I was crazy to think this song was totally commercial,” John Carney says of “Drive It Like You Stole It,” which is one of a number of original songs on the film’s ’80s-infused soundtrack. “She listened to one bar and was like, ‘No, you’re not crazy. It’s fantastic.’”
She was right, truly fantastic, and one of the best songs from film in 2016. Listen to the song below.
Arrival – On the Nature of Daylight
After seeing the film Arrival in November 2016, I wrote an article about this song, as the song struck me deep during the film. The song “On the nature of Daylight” by Max Richter is so beautiful and is such a perfect fit for this film, it is my favorite of the year. Even upon watching Arrival a second time, the moment the song starts in the beginning of the film, I’m already emotionally sucked in. It is a beautiful set up as you prepare to dive into this wonderful film and (as I’ve stated before) acts as a perfect bookend to the film that leaves me sitting with that lump in my throat as the credits roll up the screen.
Sure the song was also used previously in other films such as in the Martin Scorsese’s film Shutter Island as well as Henry Alex Rubin’s Disconnect. But, this one here was just perfect for the film. According to Richter (in a post on his Facebook Page), “But Denis Villeneuve called me and described the integral nature of “On the Nature of Daylight” to the architecture of Arrival – it starts and ends the film – and, as he described the film I was drawn into his powerful world. So, in the end, it was an easy decision.”
The track originally appeared on Richter’s, The Blue Notebooks, which was released in 2004. However, Max Richter revealed plans for a new label called StudioRichter, and the studio’s very first release will be a 12-inch edition of “On the Nature of Daylight”, and is due out on March 10th. The edition includes the original quintet recording of Richter’s composition as well as the version recorded by a full string orchestra.
You can treat yourself to this beautiful song below.