What happens when we combine the creatives at Pixar Animation Studios with the innovative Imagineers at Disney? We get everlasting blockbusters full of heart that stay with us for the rest of our lives. (We’re looking at you, Toy Story franchise!)
In addition to stunning animation, though, nothing quite sets the scene better than an engaging musical score. The names Randy Newman and Michael Giacchino may not roll of the tongue like Tom Hanks and Billy Crystal, but they (and many others) are the masterminds behind some of the biggest soundtracks of our lives.
With over 20 Pixar Soundtracks from which to choose, we’re breaking down our picks for the TOP 10 Pixar Soundtracks (and the best track on each).
#10: BRAVE (2012)
Leading Hollywood composer (and Scotsman) Patrick Doyle tapped into his roots to compose a seemingly authentic soundtrack for the tale of an archery-skilled Princess who relies on her bravery to save her mother.
With a score performed by the renowned London Symphony Orchestra, the film went on to win the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Best Track: The inspiring “Touch The Sky”
#9: CARS (2006)
This soundtrack is a fantastic compilation of some of the music industry’s biggest heavy hitters. Featured artists include Rascal Flatts, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, and Sheryl Crow. Most of the songs on this vocal-track-heavy album are originals specifically written for the movie.
It was recognized by the Grammy Awards and went on to win Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Impressively, it became the first Pixar soundtrack to ever achieve Gold certification, and then it went Platinum, too!
Best Track: The Grammy-award winning “Our Town” written by Randy Newman and performed by James Taylor
#8: WALL-E (2008)
Perhaps a little quirky, musically speaking, WALL-E is a departure from the other soundtracks you’ll find on our list.
Award-winning American composer Thomas Newman (cousin of Randy Newman) collaborated with English singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel to create three compositions for the film that landed them two Grammy Awards.
Best Track: “Down To Earth,” performed by Peter Gabriel and the inspirational African group Soweto Gospel Choir.
#7: Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Viewers traveled to Monstropolis in this major box office success which features the voices of mega-stars John Goodman and Billy Crystal.
Composer Randy Newman’s fourth feature film collaboration with Pixar, the soundtrack went on to score both an Academy Award (Newman’s first Oscar) and a Grammy Award for “If I Didn’t Have You,” performed by Crystal and Goodman.
Best Track: The lovable “If I Didn’t Have You”, of course!
#6: TOY STORY 3 (2010)
The third (tear jerker!!) installment in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise features, once again, the compositions of Randy Newman.
“We Belong Together,” written and performed by Newman, went on to earn him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Best Track: The award-winning “We Belong Together”
#5: THE INCREDIBLES (2004)
Michael Giacchino knocked it out of the park with his score for the film (his first project with Pixar) As the superhero family is uprooted from its quiet suburban life and thrust back into action, Giacchino effortlessly depicts the retro futuristic nature of the film through his music.
It landed him on the map in Hollywood and earned the former video game and television composer some serious street cred along with noms with both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Grammy Awards.
Best Track: The sweeping musicality of an era bygone in “Life’s Incredible Again”
#4: Toy Story 2 (1999)
The second installment of Pixar’s Toy Story franchise called upon Randy Newman, again! The sequel was initially planned as direct-to-video, but it went on to become a wild success in the box office.
The soundtrack’s playful track “Woody’s Roundup,” performed by acclaimed Western group Riders In The Sky is a highlight. Newman received a nod at the Academy Awards for Best Original Song for our favorite track that depicts the vulnerable Jessie.
Best Track: The emotive and downright sad “When She Loved Me” (*sob*)
#3: UP (2009)
It would be near impossible to have a list of top movie soundtracks and not include this impressive work from Michael Giacchino.
Full of heart, humor, and adventure, the Up! album is a representation of classic film scoring at its finest. The critical smash went on to earn Giacchino the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album.
Best Track: The hauntingly beautiful, piano-driven “The Ellie Badge”
#2: COCO (2017)
There’s no doubt that music played a major role in the smash success of Disney Pixar’s Coco, much like it plays a role in the culture the movie explores.
The man behind the soundtrack is, again, the master, Michael Giacchino, with the help of several other well-known composers. The movie that has shown us there is more time than life, has brought us such favorites as “Un Poco Loco,” and changed the game of animation soundtracks when it broke Top 40 on the Billboard charts.
Best Track: Academy Award Best Original Song winner “Remember Me”
#1: TOY STORY (1995)
This is where it all began for Pixar’s partnership with Randy Newman, over 20 years ago. What we have is a soundtrack that has stood the test of time and continues to inspire (and break hearts) today.
The instrumental themes are just as memorable as the smash successes the soundtrack brought us, like “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” and the relatable “Strange Things.” The soundtrack received two Academy Award noms including Best Original Song for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and Best Original Score.
Best Track: The gut-wrenching “I Will Go Sailing No More”
The appeal of Disney Pixar’s partnership is that they create both films and soundtracks that withstand the test of time. It’s “to infinity and beyond” for this dynamic duo and the artists who bring us the soundtracks for our lives!
Do you have a favorite Pixar/Disney soundtrack song? Share with us in the comments!
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Check out the links below to read more about Pixar films!
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- Check Out a Sneak Peek at Disney/Pixar’s Upcoming ‘Soul’!
- Check Out Some of Pixar Writer and Director Brad Bird’s Favorite Films on TCM’s The Essentials
- Disney+ Movie Playlist: Pixar Edition