If soundtracks are meant to evoke the same emotional experiences of the films we love then 2018 showed no shortage of tracklists that could bring us to our knees. When I first listened to Amy Shark’s “Sink In”—a song about the delicate balance of heartbreak and moving on—I had yet to see Love, Simon, but if one song from the soundtrack could create such a powerful impression, the film was bound to make me feel even more.
Whether being impossible to get out of your head, or the playlist to cry into your coffee cup on a Sunday morning, the music that brought our favourite films of 2018 to life are more than deserving of a shout-out. Juxtapose that with the fact that this year’s Grammy nominations feature several soundtracks, after much consideration and debate, we’ve managed to narrow down the top ten soundtracks of the year in a whirlwind roundup of songs that we won’t soon forget.
This year saw the anticipated release of Suspiria, a remake based on the 1977 thriller of the same name. Thom Yorke from Radiohead was approached to write music for the film several times before finally saying yes. What came next was a double album produced by Yorke and Sam Petts-Davies featuring haunting instrumentals, interludes, and songs that match the unsettling vibe of the film.
Must Hear Track: “Suspirium” – Thom Yorke
9. Fifty Shades Freed
The third and final installment of the 50 Shades film series based on the erotic romance novels by E.L. James comes with a star-studded soundtrack. The lead single “For You” by Rita Ora and Liam Payne was released at the beginning of the year from a 22-song album that also featured Hailee Steinfeld, Julia Michaels, Bishop Briggs, Jessie J, Sia, and Ellie Goulding just to name a few.
Must Hear Track: “Capital Letters” – Hailee Steinfeld, Bloodpop®
8. The Hate U Give
The film adaption of Angie Thomas’s New York Times bestseller The Hate U Give made a deep impact this year and the music is just as powerful. Issued by Def Jam Recordings, The Hate U Give soundtrack features hip-hop and R&B tracks by top artists like Tupac and Kendrick Lamar, while also lending a space for newcomers including Arlissa and Bobby Sessions.
Must Hear Track: “The Hate U Give” – Bobby Sessions, Keite Young
7. 13 Reasons Why (Season 2)
Much like the Netflix Original Series, the 13 Reasons Why Season 2 soundtrack is full of things that will make you cry. The popular list of contemporary artists featured on the album fits nicely with nods to ‘80s favourites like New Order, OMD, and Tears for Fears. And of course, a new spin on the heart-wrenching classic “The Night We Met,” this time featuring Phoebe Bridgers.
Must Hear Track: “Your Love” – Haerts
6. Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
If you watched the feel-good Netflix Original Movie, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, then you may have already fallen in love with the original songs featured on the film’s soundtrack. Executive produced and co-scored by Leland, the album features the sweets sounds of newcomers like Allie X, Betty Who, Sabrina Carpenter and Leland himself.
Must Hear Track: “Sunflower” – Allie X
5. Love, Simon
This teen dramedy made history as the first major Hollywood studio film to feature a gay teenage romance and the soundtrack is perfect. Jack Antonoff took on the role of executive producer and penned a couple of new tunes, including the film’s leading single titled, “Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song)”. He also added some classic Bleachers tracks to the mix, along with features from popular artists like Amy Shark, Troye Sivan, Mø, The 1975, and Khalid.
Must Hear Track: “Sink In” – Amy Shark
4. Deadpool 2
The follow-up to Deadpool did not disappoint in the comedy department and oddly enough we can say the same for the film’s soundtrack. Canadian sweetheart Céline Dion sings “Ashes”, the first single from the album, with a music video that starts off serious and ends with a bunch of laughs. The remainder of the album features hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s from artists such as Pat Benatar, Air Supply, Steve Miller Band, Cher and more!
Must Hear Track: “Ashes” – Céline Dion
3. Bohemian Rhapsody
Perhaps one of the more controversial biopics of the year, Bohemian Rhapsody follows the rise of Queen with a focus on front-man Freddie Mercury. The soundtrack is a dream for new and old Queen fans alike, featuring remastered versions of hits like “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The highlight of the album without question is the inclusion of Queen’s original Live Aid performances including “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer to Fall”, and “We Are the Champions”
Must Hear Track: “We Are the Champions” – Queen at Live Aid 1985
2. Black Panther
Kendrick Lamar originally intended to produce a few songs for the Black Panther soundtrack, but he would eventually decide to produce a full curated album—and we’re so glad he did. It was a faster process than he was used to, which lead him to work with producer Sounwave while on tour. He would later finish it off with individual songs in collaboration with artists like SZA, 2 Chainz, Khalid, Future, Travis Scott, The Weeknd and more. The soundtrack was released as Black Panther: The Album rushing to the top of the Billboard 200 upon its release.
Must Hear Track: “All the Stars” – Kendrick Lamar, SZA
1. A Star is Born
As one of the top films of the year, A Star Is Born made headlines for all kinds of reasons and its soundtrack was a notable part of the success story. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper partnered with a variety of country musicians to put together a majority of the album, while Gaga collaborated with DJ White Shadow for the pop-oriented tracks. Outside of Gaga and Cooper penning a bundle of the original songs, the album features a powerhouse of additional writers including Mark Ronson, Lukas Nelson, and Hillary Lindsey. With potential Oscar nods still buzzing, it’s no surprise A Star Is Born steals the number one spot in our roundup.
Must Hear Track: “Always Remember Us This Way” – Lady Gaga