As the end of the year draws near and the nights draw in, what better time to catch up on the films you missed in 2018 or revisit the best of the vintage. A great music cue, where the soundtrack, score, or live performance perfectly elevates the visual elements of a scene, can stick with viewers and help to define the stand out scenes of a year. A team of ORWAV writers have brought together five of the top music moments (not scores in their entirety) from 2018 and explain what made them special – with spoilers for recent films, naturally.

 ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ in Bad times at the El Royale – Carmen
Casting Tony award-winning (read: singing and acting powerhouse) Cynthia Erivo as a stoic, persistent singer in Drew Goddard’s neo-noir was a stroke of genius. As she rehearses upcoming performances and relives past ones, ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ proves a dramatic and thematic high point; after realising the hotel is bugged, she practises this number in her room, clapping along to drown out the sound of Jeff Bridges’ robber/priest digging for his deceased partner’s cash. As Bridges and the secretly watching Dakota Johnson edge the stakes higher with their grim desperation, Erivo’s gravitas and quiet courage makes this scene both heart-stoppingly tense and delightfully dramatically satisfying.

[note: the version referenced in our Music Moment is a film exclusive and is not on the soundtrack]

‘Remember Me’ at the end of Coco – Calum
Coco is one of Pixar’s more insidious gems; like Inside Out and Finding Nemo, its structure seems governed by the journey’s emotional logic despite a seemingly mission-driven narrative. The way its ideas coalesce in its final 10 minutes, then, is astonishing; we understand every character – even Miguel’s abuelita, trying desperately to stop our hero singing to Mama Coco. Of course, we also feel the very real stakes: Héctor’s soul depends on this last-ditch rendition of his most heartfelt composition. Then Miguel plays (props to Anthony Gonzalez’s tremendous performance) and everything comes together: the plot, the tears – the sheer, cathartic love.

‘You Can’t Stop This Motherfucker’, Deadpool 2 – Bertie

There is something glorious about a 30-strong choir intoning expletives. Maybe it’s the subversion of classical norms, or the juxtaposition of purity and depravity. Like a toddler swearing. For the most part Tyler Bates’ score for Deadpool 2 plays it straight, eschewing the irreverence and comedy of the Merc with a Mouth’s movie – until Colossus and Juggernaut face off. Those engrossed in the fight may not notice the lyrics at first, but once you’ve heard it you can’t go back. There’s a reason this score is billed as the first classical score to be given a parental advisory label!

‘I’ve Never Been to Me’ and You Were Never Really Here – Jack
Ultraviolence and pop music have long gone hand in hand in movies, used ironically by Scorsese, Tarantino, and their imitators, but Lynne Ramsay deploying ‘I’ve Never Been to Me’ after a shootout in You Were Never Really Here has an entirely different energy. As the cheesy song progresses, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joe and his dying would-be assassin start gently singing along, Joe taking the fatally wounded man’s hand so that he doesn’t have to die alone. It’s a shatteringly human moment, two men of violence attempting to find some sort of solace and connection in an old song they remember together.

Gaga goes solo in ‘Shallow’, A Star is Born – Carmen
By the time the film came out many fans were already familiar with this track from its prominent place in the trailer. Even with this overexposure, ‘Shallow’ deserves a place on this list as it contains a show-stopping moment. Lady Gaga bridges the song’s quieter opening verses and the final full-throated chorus with a raw, haunting vocalisation that perfectly encapsulates Ally’s untrained talent and sheer abandon to her art. Plus, who else but Lady Gaga has the vocal chords to pull it off? Whatever one’s opinion on the newest A Star is Born, the fact that its star can pull off this spine-tingling moment despite everyone knowing it already is very special.