The Best Movie Soundtracks of 2020, from ‘Bad Boys for Life’ to ‘Tenet’

With award season in full swing, the films of 2020 are still being talked about, and so are the soundtracks. From “Soul" to “Birds of Prey,” we rounded up the best film soundtracks from last year.
"Birds of Prey"
"Birds of Prey"
Warner Bros.

Movie soundtracks can be just as important to a film as the cast and crew. Pairing the perfect song with the right scene is science within itself. The right song can even make a viewer feel differently about a film. In the more than 80 years since the first commercially produced movie soundtrack was released, film soundtracks have become big business.

In fact, some of the top selling albums of all time also happen to be film soundtracks. Aside from providing the sonic landscape to your favorite films, movie soundtracks have given music legends such as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Prince, Elton John, and Eric Clapton some of their biggest career hits. On the other end of the spectrum, appearing on a hit soundtrack can launch a new artist into the spotlight almost instantly.

Simply put, movie soundtracks are special in their own right. With award season in full swing and Oscar nominations right around the corner, we rounded up a list of the best movie soundtracks from 2020. Check out our selection below.

“Birds of Prey” Soundtrack

Harley Quinn’s breakout solo film has a female-centered cast and soundtrack to match. Sprinkled among the 15-track album are unapologetic and empowering anthems, some of which are so musically potent that the music almost feels like another character in the film.

“Trolls World Tour” Soundtrack

It may be a kids’ movie, but the soundtrack to “Trolls World Tour” features songs that older and younger age groups can enjoy. Produced primarily by Justin Timberlake, the 20-track album is an eclectic mixed bag of songs that includes appearances from Ozzy Osbourne, SZA, and Anderson .Paak.

“Bad Boys for Life” Soundtrack

When Martin Lawrence and Will Smith re-teamed for the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, music became one of the central themes of the films. “Ritmo (Bad Boys for Life),” the film’s lead single, sets the tone and is an upbeat bilingual banger from J. Balvin and The Black Eyed Peas that samples Corona’s 1993 Europop hit, “The Rhythm of the Night.”

“Tenet” Soundtrack

Christopher Nolan films are known for showcasing Hans Zimmer’s musical excellency. But when the revered composer wasn’t available to score this film, Nolan turned to Swedish Oscar- and Grammy-winning producer Ludwig Göransson. The end result became a sonically intriguing release filled with bold instrumentals.

“Over the Moon” Soundtrack

You might just hit cloud nine listening to the cheery songs on the soundtrack from the Netflix animated film “Over the Moon.” Being that the film is about an adventurous young girl determined to make it to the moon, it makes sense that the soundtrack be just as uplifting, fearless, and optimistic. The soundtrack includes several original songs in addition to music from the film, which was scored by Steven Price.

“Soul” Soundtrack

Jazz music plays a major part in the film premise of “Soul,” but the soundtrack is a bit more musically wide-ranging. Besides jazz, the songs on the soundtrack include hip-hop, along with hints of blues, and folk music. Grammy-nominated musician Jean Baptiste contributed more than a dozen original songs to the soundtrack, which also includes 23 songs from the film that were scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

“Promising Young Woman”  Soundtrack

A musical adjunct to a dark comedy, the soundtrack for “Promising Young Woman” is an in-your-face collection of songs that you can enjoy even if you haven’t seen the film. The soundtrack also resurrects Paris Hilton’s decade-old single “Stars Are Blind.”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” Soundtrack

Ma Rainey was a larger than life figure, and so was her music. The soundtrack to “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” boasts original compositions performed and produced by New Orleans jazz icon Branford Marsalis, as well as some of Ma Rainey’s infamous songs including the film’s title track.

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