11:30 am EDT, September 3, 2015

The best movie scores for getting stuff done

You'll never be a slacker as long as you listen to these scores.

School’s back in session and companies everywhere are working hard to gear up for the holiday season. Whether you’re in school or in the “real world,” nothing helps you get stuff done better than listening to some of the best movie scores.

There’s no better way to drown out the world or get focused on the task at hand than by pressing “Play” on a movie score and losing yourself in the music, the beat urging you on to complete your task.

Getting stuff done just isn’t the same (or as productive) without the help of a good movie score. Here are the ones we’ve deemed the best movie scores for tackling to-do lists, work, and homework.

(We may or may not have listened to a few in the writing of this article, so you know they’re totally legit.)

Related: Movie soundtracks: Top 10 albums to get your blood pumping

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ – Henry Jackman

Can’t miss track: “The Winter Soldier”

If there’s one score on this list that gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing, it’s that of The Winter Soldier. It’s great for getting a lot of work done, both at your desk and in the gym, because it’s the audio equivalent of being chased. Plus, it’s such ear candy, what with the intricacies of the Winter Soldier’s theme that Henry Jackman came up with. This score is impossible not to love (or put on repeat).

‘The Dark Knight’ – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard

Can’t miss track: “Why So Serious?”

The Dark Knight is one of the best movies of our time. The same can be said for the score. It’s dark and melodic with booming tones and a pulsing beat underneath it all. Like the Winter Soldier score, the music from The Dark Knight is motivational yet easy to lose yourself inside. The beat will keep your nose to the grindstone while the melodies and tones will make you forget to look at the clock as you work.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ – Klaus Badelt

Can’t miss track: “He’s a Pirate”

In an era of memorable and amazing scores, the score for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was one of the first and best. It’s easy to get lost in, thanks to its soothing melodies and recurring themes. One of the best things about this score is the way in which the melodies match up with on-screen action (of course we noticed; it was our first fandom). If you have to sacrifice watching TV or a movie in order to do work, compromise by working to this score.

‘Inception’ – Hans Zimmer

Can’t miss track: “Time”

In case you haven’t noticed, darker scores are generally the best to work to. While everyone remembers the score for Inception for its large, booming tones and for the constant use of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (you know, that song that’s used to signal the “kick”), few actually remember all of the brilliant music in between. This score is seriously entrancing and really interesting to dive into and explore its many levels. Yet, it’s perfect for surface listening for drowning out distractions and focusing the mind. You could say that the Inception score pulls more than double duty for the movie thanks to its many levels and intricacies.

‘The Avengers’ – Alan Silvestri

Can’t miss track: “The Avengers” (What else?)

Marvel sure knows how to pick their composers, that’s for sure. Alan Silvestri’s work on the score for The Avengers is so masterful and iconic that this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron samples heavily from it (to the point where it lifts whole sections). The songs have that heroic “You can do it!” quality to them which really helps when you’re trying to accomplish a few goals. Not a week goes by where we don’t listen to the Avengers score. So many papers (and Hypable articles) have been written to the score of The Avengers. It’s a proven winner.

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ – John Williams

Can’t miss track: “Hedwig’s Theme”

If you’re being forced to get stuff done but want to feel happy and content while doing it, you can’t go wrong with the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone score. It’s a classic, and for good reason! It’s lighthearted, yet it has such sweeping melodies that lift spirits and make everything seem easy. While John Williams is a master at his craft, think of how even more amazing his other scores could have been had he have composed this one first and then had it to motivate him while creating the others. *mind blown*

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings’ – Howard Shore

Can’t miss track: “Concerning Hobbits”

This score is nothing short of fantastic. While all of the scores from the trilogy are notable and impressive in their own right, this one is the one that started it all. It has both its light and dark moments, transitioning between them perfectly and seamlessly. This is especially great because the switches between tones won’t distract you from your work. In fact, this score is so easy to get lost inside that one minute you’ll be bobbing your head along to “Concerning Hobbits” and the next you’ll be listening to the Fellowship going their separate ways. Above all, this score has one of the best orchestral arrangements that not listening to it as often as possible is insulting to its genius.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Social Network, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • The Star Wars trilogy, composed by John Williams (No, we couldn’t pick just one!)
  • Up, composed by Michael Giacchino
  • Captain America: The First Avenger, composed by Alan Silvestri


In your opinion, what’s the best movie score to listen to while working on something?

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