BY AL HORNER, CHAL RAVENS, CLAIRE LOBENFELD AND SCOTT WILSON
TV and film have always been a perfect escape, and this year we needed them more than ever.
It’s not just the storytelling that reflects our own selves or takes us to worlds we can only dream of (or, in some cases, see in our nightmares), but the composers who add that extra, world-building layer to our favorite TV shows and movies.
2016 was a great year for soundtracks across the board. TV shows like Luke Cage, Insecure and Broad City had great musical supervision that created additional entryways into the characters, and movies like Suicide Squad and The Land took us back to time when an artist-led OST was just as valuable as a brand new album.
But the art of the score is always a step beyond. This year we were shown what happens when you’re rejected by society, we saw our possible grim technological futures, and discovered that political unrest can manifest in varying shapes — at the dive bar and in presidential parades. The shape of these stories took on something more exact at the hands of the composers who crafted their scores. From Soulwax to Stranger Things, here are our favorite TV and film soundtracks of 2016.
8. Mr. Robot - Mac Quayle
US thriller Mr. Robot’s first season felt timely, arriving on the back of an NSA scandal that left fears about online surveillance rattling around the American consciousness. Its second season, aired in the midst of an election dominated by email hacking and Russian cyber subterfuge, packed even more of an ugly, timely punch.
Cranking the paranoia even further as Remi Malek’s character Elliott continues his descent into a murky digital underworld is a tense score by composer Mac Quayle, whose 2016 also included work on American Horror Story. It’s his contribution to Mr. Robot that stands out though – a pulsing electronic accompaniment to a smart TV series for our time. AH