In 2018 we saw the return of the movie soundtrack. Spearheaded by heavyweights A Star Is Born and Black Panther, this year’s contributions to movie music included a wide range of critically and commercially successful original songs from the world of pop, hip hop, rap and beyond.
Some songs returned to the charts with new cover versions while others brought beloved musicians out of retirement. Whatever your musical taste, there was a good chance you fell in love with a new song while at the movies in 2018. Grab some popcorn and turn up the volume, because here are the best original soundtracks from 2018.
Not only did Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther make history at the box office, it also produced one of the best albums of the year. Curated by Kendrick Lamar, the Compton native helped the Black Panther soundtrack score some major accolades including two Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song (“All the Stars”), Best Original Score, and an incredible eight Grammy nominations including Album of the Year as well as Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “All the Stars.” Wakanda forever.
Much like Black Panther, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born dominated both the box office and the music charts. The album reunited Gaga with her Joanne co-writers Mark Ronson and Hillary Lindsey, with additional writing credits from Julia Michaels, Justin Tratner, Lukas Nelson and more. Gaga and Cooper were not only the film’s stars and main performers—they were also heavily involved in writing the soundtrack, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for “Shallow” and four Grammy nominations including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for a Visual Medium. “Shallow” was the only song eligible for the 2019 Grammy nominations, so expect A Star Is Born to dominate for the next two years.
A rom com as long overdue as Love, Simon needed a soundtrack that was worthy of the film’s beautiful message. Thankfully, it got one. Music supervisor Jack Antonoff and his band Bleaches contributed their own tunes, and the soundtrack also featured new music from Khalid, Normani, Troye Sivan, and more.
Few bands can make us dance like ABBA, so naturally we were excited to see the Swedish pop stars returning to the charts once again this year thanks to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Even better? This time they brought dancing queen Cher along for the ride.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has been writing songs that enhance films for years, but in 2018 the English artist officially composed his first soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria. Working with the London Contemporary Orchestra, Yorke brought his trademark immersive and haunting musical style to the thriller with stunning results.
Director John M. Chu and music supervisor Gabe Hilfer continued to make history in Hollywood with their soundtrack for the groundbreaking Crazy Rich Asians. The pair put together a list of English pop songs they wanted for the film and found Chinese singers to cover the songs in Mandarin. In order to acquire the rights to Coldplay’s breakout hit “Yellow,” Chu wrote a letter to the band and explained that the negative connotations he always associated with the word changed when he heard their ballad. The band responded within a day, agreeing to Chu’s request for the song and giving us our favourite cover of “Yellow” to date.
The Fifty Shades franchise came to an end in 2018, concluding their reign of really bad movies with really great soundtracks. For the final instalment, the sexually charged flick featured new music from Rita Ora and Liam Payne, Julia Michaels, Jessie Reyez, Hailee Steinfeld and more. Such good music. Such bad dialogue.
After dominating the charts in 2017 and winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for “This Is Me,” the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman returned in 2018, this time with today’s biggest pop stars performing the film’s original songs. Pentatonix, Kesha, Pink, Years & Years, Jess Glynne, Panic! at the Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Ty Dolla $ign, Missy Elliott and more put their spin on the beloved soundtrack, giving it a second life and continuing to make bank.
We may never stop being shocked by how brilliant the partnership between Tyler, The Creator and Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch film turned out to be. We didn’t know we liked our Christmas movies swaggy, but we do.
Producer Mike WiLL-Made It put together a dream team of artists to submit new material for the highly anticipated follow up to Ryan Coolger’s Creed film. Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Nicki Minaj, Schoolboy Q, Nas, and Rick Ross are just some of the artists that helped create a soundtrack that packs as many punches as the film.
It’s difficult to decide what we love more about the Deadpool 2 soundtrack: the fact that the comic book film features an original song from Celine Dion, or that the Canadian superstar was game for the emotionally-wrought music video featuring the masked vigilante.
Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time featured new music by Demi Lovato, Sia, Kehlani and Chloe x Halle, but the biggest musical moment from the film was courtesy of Sade and her song “Flower of the Universe.” What did it take to get living legend Sade to release her first song in years? Oprah.
Natalie Portman’s critical darling Vox Lux follows the turbulent life of a troubled pop star, so a soundtrack packed with original tracks was a must to make the film feel authentic. Enter Sia, who penned the song “Wrapped Up” for Portman’s on-screen superstar.