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Top 10 Modern Movie Theme Songs

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by George Pacheco It's time for everyone to sing along one more time. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Modern Movie Theme Songs. For this list, we're ranking the most memorable theme songs taken from the soundtracks of modern cinema from the year 2000 onwards. If you don't see your favorite song on the list, don't panic! Special thanks to our users AXHP for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Modern Movie Theme Songs


It’s time for everyone to sing along one more time. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Modern Movie Theme Songs.

For this list, we’re ranking the most memorable theme songs taken from the soundtracks of modern cinema from the year 2000 onwards. If you don’t see your favorite song on the list, don’t panic! Just check out our other videos, like the Top 10 Movie Theme Songs or the Top 10 Movie Ending Songs.

#10: “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” by Three 6 Mafia
“Hustle & Flow” (2005)

The words, “Academy Award Winners Three Six Mafia,” don’t exactly roll easy off the tongue, but these Memphis, Tennessee natives became the first hip hop group to win the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2006. The proud Southern musicians were also the first hip hop group to perform at the ceremony, and it wasn’t long until “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” arguably became more famous than the film for which it was the theme, 2005’s “Hustle and Flow.” With a smooth, soulful funk hook and Three Six Mafia’s confident delivery, this modern movie theme hasn’t aged a day.

#9: “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!” by Tegan and Sara feat. The Lonely Island
“The LEGO Movie” (2014)

The notion of “fun” instantly comes to mind when listening to this up-beat little ditty. Indie duo Tegan and Sara received a little help from The Lonely Island on this relentlessly catchy theme from 2014’s equally feel-good animated hit, “The LEGO Movie.” A boisterous slice of electronic pop, this tune boasts an instantly memorable chorus, as well as The Lonely Island boys’ humorous listings of all the things they find to be “awesome.” The track also plays a big part in the film itself, making the triumphant ending credits sequence all the more fun when they start to roll.

#8: “America (F**k Yeah)” by Trey Parker
“Team America: World Police” (2004)

Whereas The Lonely Island rattles off all the things they find to be “awesome,” South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have something a little different in mind. “Team America: World Police” was a brilliant satire of both gung-ho action cinema, as well as the sixties electronic marionette puppet series “Thunderbirds.” Meanwhile, this profanity-laden musical call to arms sends up every ‘80s action montage imaginable in just over two minutes. Add to that Parker’s teeth-clenching, square jawed tough guy delivery, and you have one awesomely funny movie theme.

#7: “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel
“Frozen” (2013)

The word, “earworm,” can be loosely defined as an insanely catchy piece of music, which refuses to leave your head. Perhaps the best example is Idina Menzel’s rendition of “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” Just ask any parent of small children, and he or she will tell you that he or she has been subjected to this one at least fifteen to twenty times a day since it was released. To be honest, though, there are worse songs to get stuck in one’s head, as Menzel’s powerful delivery and the melodic music of songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristin Anderson-Lopez make “Let It Go” a Disney song for the ages.

#6: “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
“Furious 7” (2015)

Filmgoers and fans of the “Fast and the Furious” film franchise alike mourned the tragic loss of actor Paul Walker in 2013, but it should be said that Wiz Khalifa’s “Furious 7” theme, “See You Again,” helped heal the void felt by Walker’s absence. The song is anchored by Charlie Puth’s beautiful piano playing and heartfelt vocal melody, serving as a fine way of remembering not only the impact Walker left on the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, but also how the young actor resonated with moviegoers around the world.

#5: “Independent Women Part 1” by Destiny’s Child
“Charlie’s Angels” (2000)

Sure, the “Charlie’s Angels” movie may’ve been so-so, but this soundtrack theme continues to earn fans and airplay long after the film adaptation of the ‘70s T.V. show found its home in the discount bin. “Independent Women” is a catchy and soulful ode to female empowerment, inspired by the series’ own story of tough, no-nonsense female crime fighters working for their mysterious employer known only as “Charlie.” Beyoncé would revisit these lyrical themes later on in her solo career, but it was here on this R&B and dance-pop number where Destiny’s Child really first staked their claim.

#4: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
“Despicable Me 2” (2013)

Unapologetically upbeat and sunny-sounding, this hit from Neptunes producer and N.E.R.D. member Pharrell Williams won over countless fans with its strong and inspiring message of positivity. “Happy” was a breakout hit after first being featured on the soundtrack to “Despicable Me 2,” appearing on daytime television, music videos, and radio airwaves the world over. The song has a bright, almost seventies AM radio vibe, while the smooth soul delivery of Williams is reminiscent at times of classic Stevie Wonder or Curtis Mayfield, making “Happy” an ultimate toe-tapper and hand-clapper.

#3: “Skyfall” by Adele
“Skyfall” (2012)

It’s a tall order to write and record a new James Bond theme that could compete with any of the series classics over the years. Adele hit it out of the park, however, with her awesomely epic, “Skyfall.” The English singer’s power and presence seem tailor-made to sing a song with the required bombast and brooding intensity required of “Skyfall,” and she certainly does not disappoint. Fans of the franchise seemed to agree, as its parent film quickly became not only one of the most critically and commercially successful Bond films, but also its theme was certified as a stone-cold classic by series aficionados around the world.

#2: “Glory” by Common & John Legend
“Selma” (2014)

This collaboration between John Legend and Common is a moving and inspirational song from the equally important 2014 film, “Selma,” based on the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama marches for African-American voting rights. Legend’s soulful croon resonates through the strong melodic chorus, while Common’s rapping is slow and measured, as he thoughtfully articulates every word with a forthright sense of passion and purpose. “Glory” succinctly, yet successfully, gets across the message of “Selma” within the medium of song; a clarion call which addresses a people’s struggle with a deep feeling of respect.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here a few honorable mentions.
- “Jai Ho” by Sukhwinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalakshmi Iyer & Vijay Prakash
“Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)
- “The Moon Song” by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Her” (2013)
- “Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows
“Shrek 2” (2004)
- “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus
“Loser” (2000)

#1: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
“8 Mile”(2002)

Although Three Six Mafia was the first hip hop group to receive an Academy Award, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” wasn’t the first hip hop song to win an Oscar. That honor went to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” the breakout single from “8 Mile.” The song and film served as autobiographical takes on Eminem’s own career and troubled home life, with “Lose Yourself” going over in a big way, thanks to a driving percussive beat, melodic piano flourishes, and Eminem’s own passionate lyrics. It’s a song that hits close to home on many levels, and continues to be a defining track in Eminem’s discography.

Do you agree with our list? Which modern movie theme songs are your favorite? For more fun Top 10 lists published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!

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