It’s that time of year -- the time in which we say, “it’s that time of year!” while indulging in our need to judge. That’s right: it’s award season, and because we can’t spend all our days learning Jennifer Lawrence’s dance moves from “American Hustle, “we’re also ranking the Golden Globe winners for Best Original Song from the last 15 years.
As for this year? Well, there are nominations for boldface names like Taylor Swift (“Sweeter Than Fiction” from “One Chance”), Justin Timberlake ("Please Mr. Kennedy" from “Inside Llewyn Davis”), U2 ("Ordinary Love" from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) and Coldplay ("Atlas" from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) but the 2014 Golden Globe for best song still feels like a lock for Disney.
The Mouse House finally produced a Pixar-level animated picture with “Frozen” and gave it a song, “Let It Go,” that can stand up with the Disney themes that dominated the Globes in the 90s. The Idina Menzel-crooned song has cracked the iTunes top 20 and gone viral on YouTube, where the Let It Go” film clip has been viewed over 32 million (!) times and there are a whole host of amazing covers. (Click here for nine of the best.)
Whoever wins this year’s Golden Globe will join these past 15 winners, ranging from that terrible Phil Collins tune to sublime songs by the likes of Prince and Adele alongside a whole lotta forgettable film themes from famous folks.
15. "Masterpiece" Performed by Madonna (2011)
<strong>Movie: "W.E."</strong> Despite its title, "Masterpiece" is not one. Corresponding with Madonna's forgettable film, it lacks the emotional depth of one of her previous nominees that didn't win -- "This Used To Be My Playground" from "A League of Their Own." That 1992 jam has withstood the test of time, unlike this theme to "W.E," which we didn't even remember existed despite coming out in 2011.
14. "Until" Performed by: Sting (2001)
<strong>Movie: "Kate and Leopold"</strong> Same goes for the theme to "Kate and Leopold," which is as unmemorable as the movie it came from. Sting's "Until" embraced the ex-Police man's pretentious reputation by namedropping Aristotle and embraced the absurd by winning an actual award for a movie about a time-travelling 19th century guy who falls in love with a modern-day lady and takes her back to an era in which women have no rights. Romance!
13. "You'll Be In My Heart" Performed by: Phil Collins (1999)
<strong>Movie: "Tarzan"</strong> This song was <em>everywhere</em> in 1999 and maintained the Disney legacy of songs that felt as nearly as omnipresent as the movies they came from (if not the Disney legacy of quality). At the time, it was a bona fide hit, and won an Oscar as well as a Golden Globe. Today, however, it is more likely to be in your head while a drill is in your mouth since it's now become a dentist office staple. Also, it beat Aimee Mann's "Save Me" from "Magnolia," so screw you, Phil Collins.
12. "The Prayer" Performed by: Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli (1998)
<strong>Movie: "Quest For Camelot"</strong> Say what you will about Celine Dion or Andrea Bocelli, but in 1998 you couldn't have found a radio station that didn't play "The Prayer" religiously. (I really am the queen of joke making – you're welcome.) It was a fine song –- it suited the film, it gained airtime, and Celine Dion fans were more than appeased. But it was no "My Heart Will Go On" -- the greatest movie theme of all time -- and one year after Dion’s Titanic tune won the Globe, this win gave us a sinking feeling.
11. "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" Performed by: Emmylou Harris (2005)
<strong>Movie: "Brokeback Mountain"</strong> It fit the movie, it fit the setting of the movie, Bernie Taupin wrote the words and Emmylou Harris sang it. “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” was a guaranteed win (even against Dolly Parton, that same year). But could any song really do justice to such a moving film? Maybe, but not this one.
10. "Old Habits Die Hard" Performed By: Mick Jagger (2004)
<strong>Movie: "Alfie"</strong> First, let's all take a moment to remember Jude Law's turn as Alfie. Fantastic. Now, we move on to Mick Jagger arguably singing about himself in "Old Habits Die Hard" -- a song about a man's inability to change but which is missing the "don't give a shit" factor of a Stones track. True, it's not actually <em>about </em>Mick Jagger, but if you're going to enlist Mick Jagger to sing it, at least make it move like Jagger.
9. "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" Performed By: Cher (2010)
<strong>Movie: "Burlesque"</strong> The rule is simple: if Cher is nominated for an award, Cher wins the award. Why? Because Cher is Cher. She delivers both her acting and her movie roles with the talent of an award-winning singer and actress – which explains why she’s an award-winning singer and actress. And while "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" isn't her exactly her strongest track, it still conveys the feelings we got from watching "Burlesque": sadness and an overwhelming need to succeed and escape.
8. “The Hands That Built America” Performed By: U2 (2002)
<strong>Movie: Gangs of New York</strong> Bono will never be as powerful as "Gangs of New York" star Daniel Day-Lewis, but he sure did try while singing “Hands That Built America," the movie's main jam. Though let's not kid ourselves: timeless as U2 may be, this tune really should’ve been written and performed by The Pogues -- true fighting Irish. (Or at least by Eminem -- a true fighting American, whose "Lose Yourself" actually lost out to Bono and friends before staging a comeback at the Oscars.)
7. "Guaranteed" Performed By: Eddie Vedder (2007)
<strong>Movie: Into the Wild</strong> Eddie Vedder's "Guaranteed" sums up "Into the Wild" beautifully through its heartbreaking melody and corresponding lyrics, and for that, I can forgive how the book and movie ended. Unfortunately, that year's Hollywood writer's strike prevented us from hearing Vedder's acceptance speech. But we can assume it would have gone something like the one he gave at the 1996 Grammys: "I don't know what this means. I don't think it means anything. That's just how I feels…Thanks, <em>I guess.</em>"
6. "Things Have Changed" Performed By: Bob Dylan (2000)
<strong>Year: 2000</strong> Man alive, we’ve got a lot of men on this list. Anywho, we can now add Bob Dylan to the heap, who does his Bob Dylan best to encompass the rugged nature of the 20th century literary elite –- the focal point of 2000's "Wonder Boys." After all, can you imagine any other artist being listened to and analyzed by a bunch of pedantic intellectuals? Absolutely not – which is why "Things Have Changed" is more than deserving of its win. (Or at least more than deserving of accompanying Wonder Boys.)
5. "The Wrestler" Performed By: Bruce Springsteen (2008)
<strong>Movie: The Wrestler</strong> Is there anything Bruce Springsteen can't do? Rap, maybe. But even that . . . nah, I bet he can totally rap. My point is that if you give Bruce Springsteen something to do, he will succeed at it. And in the case of his theme for 2009’s "The Wrestler," he channeled his "Streets of Philadelphia" self to give us an award-worthy song exactly as tragic as Mickey Rourke's acclaimed character. (And that’s a good thing.) Let’s hope Bruce Springsteen sings the themes of all our biopics.
4. "The Weary Kind" Performed By: Ryan Bingham (2009)
<strong>Movie: Crazy Heart</strong> It always helps when a song goes hand in hand with its movie; so in addition to tapping into the quiet sadness of “Crazy Heart,” Ryan Bingham's simple "The Weary Kind" evokes the subtly of the movie’s performances as well as its overall melancholy vibe. Let's just say Jeff Bridges' character would be proud. (Jeff Bridges, too.)
3. "Into the West" Performed By: Annie Lennox (2003)
<strong>Movie: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King</strong> Annie Lennox is the Tilda Swinton of music: she is a mystical and magical being. She is the White Witch of our tired industry. She could do nothing but stand in front of a microphone moving her hands, and she would still mesmerize us body and soul. I began to levitate while listening to her performance of “Into the West” so I was unable to listen all the way through. I just know she must have originated from the planet Golden Globe, which is why she deserved it.
2. "Song of the Heart" Performed By: Prince (2006)
<strong>Movie: Happy Feet</strong> In which Prince sings a song about dancing penguins. I mean, does anyone remember laughter? I’m assuming not, because the above winners (yes, even the best ones) would make you think Golden Globes songs are reserved only for anthems of sorrow. So despite this being the second best song on the list and still not a bona fide <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Globe_Award_for_Best_Original_Song#1980s" target="_blank">'80s-style Golden Globe-winning</a> radio smash, play "Song of the Heart" loudly and proudly. For whenever you hear it, Prince is singing it just 4 U.
1. "Skyfall" Performed By: Adele (2012)
<strong>Movie: Skyfall</strong> Oh, as if we can argue with the power of an Adele/Paul Epworth collaboration. Have you heard this song? Were you not immediately teleported into “Skyfall” itself and forced to question who you were in the same way James Bond did? Did you not decide that this would be your anthem if you were a Bond? (Or even just an ordinary human, listening to “Skyfall” on the radio, stuck in traffic?) Exactly. See, that’s not just a song -- that’s an experience, and well-deserved win that gives the Golden Globe best song category some of its old shine back.
The Wire: And All The Pieces That Matter - "Five Years Of Music From The Wire"
The best drama in the history of television (sorry, "Breaking Bad" fans) is almost as good in soundtrack form with a mix of songs that appeared in the show (including four of the five versions of “Way Down In The Hole” used in the opening credits) and clips of some of its most famous quotes. Sadly, Senator Clay Davis’s trademark “sheeeeeeiit” is not among those clips. Featured Track: "Way Down In The Hole" -- Tom Waits
Music Of "Twin Peaks"
This soundtrack for the early-nineties cult classic features the show’s iconic theme song by Angelo Badalamenti and that alone is enough to earn it a spot on this list. The rest of the disc -- a mix of other Badalamenti themes and songs that Julee Cruise performed on the show -- are just icing on the cake. Or ice cream on the good cherry pie. Featured Track: "Audrey's Dance" -- Angelo Badalamenti
"Yo Gabba Gabba!" - "Music Is ... Awesome" (Songs From The TV Show)
Just like the show itself, this collection of songs from the "Yo Gabba Gabba!" cast and YGG friends and visitors like The Shins, Chromeo, The Roots and of Montreal appeals to hipsters and music nerds of all ages. Featured Track: "Nice N Clean" -- Chromeo
"30 Rock" Original Television Soundtrack
Tina Fey’s beloved sitcom had a slew of brilliant musical moments thanks to Fey and her composer husband Jeff Richmond and many of them are captured on this double album. "30 Rock" classics “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” “Tennis Night” and Muffin Top” are all on there. So are the cast’s inspired takes on “Midnight Train To Georgia” and “I Will Always Love You.” Featured Track: "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" -- Tracy Jordan
"Life On Mars": Original Soundtrack
Songs like “Live And Let Die,” “Whisky In The Jar,” and, of course, “Life On Mars” were such a huge part of this strange and brilliant time-traveling cop drama (the UK version, of course. Let us never speak of the American remake again) that listening to the soundtrack is almost like being in 1973 with Sam Tyler and crew. The bits of dialogue featuring the show’s dreamy star, John Simm, are a nice touch, too. Featured Track: "Live and Let Die" -- Paul McCartney and Wings
"Flight Of The Conchords"
The debut album from Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement features a number of songs that also appeared on their HBO show, including “Bowie,” “Robots” and “The Prince of Parties.” It’s all very charming and funny, but it probably wouldn’t be on this list if the far superior musical comedy duo The Mighty Boosh had ever released a proper album or soundtrack. Featured Track: "Most Beautiful Girl" -- Flight of the Conchords
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer" -- "Once More, With Feeling"
Plenty of shows have played with the musical episode gimmick, but only Buffy has managed to turn the concept into a genuine work of art. The soundtrack for "Once More, With Feeling" can easily hold its own with the Cabarets, Avenue Qs and the Les Mizes of the world. And “Under Your Spell” features the best sexual euphemisms that the musical theatre world has seen since Pippin. Featured Track: "Under Your Spell" -- Amber Benson
"The Simpsons" - "The Simpsons Sing The Blues"
This is more a novelty than a soundtrack, seeing as how “The Moaning Lisa” is the only song that ever officially appeared on the TV show (the video for “Do The Bartman” debuted after an episode, but wasn’t part of the show proper), but it’s still a magical part of the greater Simpsons oeuvre. I’m still not sure why or how anyone thought that it was a good idea to have the whole Simpson family perform a collection of original pop songs and blues covers with help from BB King and DJ Jazzy Jeff, but I’m glad that they did. Featured Track: "Look At All Those Idiots" -- J. Montgomery Burns (Jeff Martin, Sam Simon, Jai Winding)
WWF/WWE - "The Wrestling Album"
The first musical release from the WWF/WWE empire is a downright inspired collection of wrestler’s theme songs (“Real American,” “Hulk Hogan’s Theme”) and original performances from wrestlers and personalities like “Captain” Lou Albano, Jimmy Hart, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Junkyard Dog. Vince McMahon and co. have tried to replicate this magic a number of times over the years with similar collections, but nothing has ever come close to the cacophonous genius of the entire WWF roster trying to sing “The Land of a Thousand Dances.” Featured Track: "Real American" -- Rick Derringer
BONUS: "Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits"
Don’t let the semi-questionable roster of mid-nineties modern rockers on this disc deter you. This collection of cartoon theme song covers is almost uniformly perfect and packed with unironic joy. Highlights include Liz Phair’s blistering reimagining of The Banana Splits’ “Tra La La Song,” Tripping Daisy’s version of “Sigmund and the Seamonsters,” The Murmurs doing “H.R. Pufnstuff” and The Ramones’ take on “Spider-Man.” Featured Track: "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)" -- Liz Phair and Material Issue