The Best Ten Albums & Twenty Singles We Heard in 2010

Not all of these are 2010-released albums and singles, just music that we heard/purchased for the first time this year. Musical scores from previous years count because certain tracks/scores often cannot be truly appreciated until they are heard separately from the film/TV. This doesn’t always happen right away either because of no pressing interest or because the score wasn’t available. This list covers all genres.

The singles and album recommendations on this list (except for Harrison’s Stitched Crosses and Armstrong’s The Incredible Hulk) may be previewed and bought via the iTunes playlist we have created. The other two albums may be previewed/purchased from here and here (respectively).

THE SINGLES

20. “Conquest of Paradise”, Vangelis, 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) – The film may have been an epic failure, but this track is an ethereal exercise in what might have been…

19. “Ebla”, E.S. Posthumus, Unearthed (2001) – If you really like cathedral chant with your electronica blend then check this one out.

18. “ShowStopper”, TobyMac, Tonight (2010) – TMC had a couple excellent singles off his latest album (“City on Our Knees” being the other), but this has to be the first time a full-time Christian music artist has had a piece of rap-rock permeate so many mainstream venues, from a WWE pay-per-view to the NCAA.

17. “Aethera Et Terra”, Magna Canta, Enchanted Spirits (2007) – There has been some fantastic New Age chant-theme music coming out in the last years. Here’s a uber-cool one for your neo-retro pleasure.

16. “The Tempest”, Jennifer Thomas, Key of Sea (2007) – Gorgeous New Age violin and piano. I get chills eveytime.

15. “Written in My Face”, Sean Jenness, WWE The Music: Volume 10 – A New Day (2010) – A poignant theme made specifically for another of WWE’s top newcomers, Sheamus, who also became the first-ever Irish WWE champion in 2010.

14. “Confession”, Blue Stone, Breathe (2006) – For those who like a blend of medieval chant and string with your New Age synth. This group must be what it is like to get the Sirens on a music label.

13. “Mayhem In Monaco”, John Debney, Iron Man 2 (2010) – We were a little disappointed that Djawadi didn’t come back for a sophomore outing. But Debney did an admiral job, and churned out some fantastic tracks, like this one.

12. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”, MercyMe, The Christmas Sessions (2005) – The Christmas Song of Christmas songs in the digital age of music, right here.

11. “The Fast and the Furious – Tokyo Drift”, Brian Tyler, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) – It’s Fast, and it’s Furious. Hang on for a wild ride!

10. “Logan Through Time”, Harry Gregson-Williams, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – There’s all kinds of things going on here as Wolvie goes from Civil War service to world war to Vietnam vet.

09. “Invincible”, Adelitas Way, Adelitas Way (2009) – The theme song for WWE Superstars and one of this year’s best hard rock attitude/motivational tracks.

08. “All of Creation”, MercyMe, The Generous Mr. Lovewell (2010) – I remember when Bart gave us a ten-second preview of this song via a video blog entry and I loved it right then. Great theology to an excellent rhythm.

07. “We Are One”, 12 Stones, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday [EP] (2010) – Great group fight theme, and yes, another one from WWE television.

06. “Broken Dreams”, Shaman’s Harvest, WWE Universe: Drew McIntyre [single] (2010) – Definitely the coolest of the new WWE Superstar themes for one of its top rookies.

05. “Scarborough Fair”, Paul Cardall, Faithful (2003) – A superb blend of heavenly piano and rich cello.

04. “I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme)”, John Rzeznik, Treasure Planet (2002) – One of the best Disney songs/in-film sequences in their animation history, and from one of their strongest feature animation scores.

03. “Scorpiox”, Ramin Djawadi, Clash of the Titans (2010) – This is just one of the coolest instrumental score tracks ever.. right up there with “Scorponok” from Transformers.

02. “The Time (Dirty Bit)”, The Black Eyed Peas, The Beginning (2010) – This single became an all-time favorite just the second time we heard it (which was on the AMA’s).

01. “In the Hands of God”, Newsboys, In the Hands of God (2009) – The last hurrah for Newsboys front-man and founder Peter Furler and he doesn’t disappoint with this superb praise tune.

THE ALBUMS

10. Harry Gregson-Williams, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) – HGW is reaching “uncomparable” status when it comes to composing historical/action-fantasy genres. Consider “Hassansin Attack”, “No Ordinary Dagger”, and “The Sands of Time”.

09. Steve Jablonsky, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – Unlike the film, the sequel score delivered in plenty of ways. My highest recommendations include: “The Shard”, “Heed Our Warning”, and “I Claim Your Sun”.

08. Hans Zimmer, Sherlock Holmes (2009) – Zimmer’s other crown jewel in 2009 involved a broken down bar piano and choppy strings duet as the focus of the whole score. The result is far from elementary. Try these on for size: “Discombobulate”, “Marital Sabotage”, and “Catatonic”.

07. David Arnold, 007: Quantum of Solace (2008) – Arnold has been the resident composer at Bond’s MI6 since Tommorrow Never Dies. This score is second only to that one, and here’s why: “Time to Get Out”, “Pursuit At Port au Prince”, “The Palio” and “Target Terminated”.

06. Trevor Rabin, National Treasure (2006) – There’s always a piano or violin to remind you that the characters are chasing gold from the 18th century American history. Gems include: “National Treasure Suite”, “Preparation Montage”, “Library of Congress”, and “Foot Chase”

05. Craig Armstrong, The Incredible Hulk (2008) – This is easily our favorite of all the Marvel film scores (beating out Iron Man for top honors), and in the top 3 of our favorites in the superhero genre. “Favela Escape”, “Give Him Everything You’ve Got”, “Harlem Brawl”, and “Hulk Theme (End Credits)” will tell you why.

04. Joe Harrison, Stitched Crosses (2010) – Harrison’s debut scoring project from the audio dramatization of the same name is 12th century atmospheric heaven. You better believe this guy has a nova-bright future. Tracks that stood out: “A Man That Is Called”, “Markus & Mairin”, “Night Invaders”, and “Confidite Deo”. Rounding out the score are two excellent songs from rising rock stars, JPT: “Let’s Take Heaven” and “Morning Sun”.

03. Sean Callery, 24 (2006) – This album comprises score music from the first three seasons of 24. The selection of synth/electronica tracks are fantastic, ranging from drama to thrumming action. Tracks we particularly liked: “’24’ Theme”, “Up and Down Stairs”, “Coliseum Finale”, and “Copter Chase Over L.A.”

02. Bebo Norman, Bebo Norman (2008) – My second favorite album after Between the Dreaming and Coming True. I could recommend nearly every song on this album but I’ll just list these: “Pull Me Out”, “Ruins”, “The Only Hope”, and “Never Saw You Coming”

01. Hans Zimmer/Joshua Bell, Angels & Demons (2009) – The more scores he composes, the more this man feels the need to do unique music. Pairing up with international violin superstar Joshua Bell was a brilliant move for a score that required a thick air of reverence among the pulsating action to create one of Zimmer’s finest works. Check out “God Particle”, “Air”, “160 BPM”, and “Black Smoke”!

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