Who didn’t fall in love with the 1993 movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? Even all these years later, there are still a number of people that consider this to be one of their favorite films. One of the reasons it’s remained so popular over the years is undoubtedly because of its soundtrack, which is comprised of no less than 21 different tracks. If nothing else, it gives you a fair amount of variety. Chances are, you’ve heard at least one or two of the songs even if you don’t routinely listen to the soundtrack in its entirety. In case you’re curious, here are all of the songs on the soundtrack ranked from worst to best. They all have YouTube links, too. That way, you can decide which ones you’d like to listen to at your leisure. Who knows, you might end up listening to the entire thing.
21. End Title (Danny Elfman)
Every movie has to have a song for the end title and Elfman was absolutely brilliant when he created the song for this particular film. The music here seems to combine a little bit of everything that you’ve heard throughout the entirety of the film that you just watched. It also brings it all together for a proper ending, just as you’d expect with a film of this quality.
20. Credits (Danny Elfman)
Just as films need a song for the end title, there must also be an end credit song. Sometimes, filmmakers will decide to use several songs for the credits. In this particular instance, one song was utilized which was once again the responsibility of Elfman. He did the overwhelming majority of the music for this film, being involved in practically every track that’s on here in one capacity or another. This one drives home the theme of the film and makes you feel like you’re arriving at a conclusion to the journey that you’ve just been on at the same time.
19. La liberazione di Babbo Nachele (To the Rescue) (Danny Elfman)
This song seems to have a lot going on at first, but once you see it in the context of the film, it starts to make perfect sense. One of the first things you hear are some minor notes that seem to almost clash with each other. From there, the song takes on a more risque sound, reminiscent of something that you might hear in a cabaret.
18. II prigioniero (Danny Elfman)
This particular song is much more likely to remind you of something from Mozart than a modern-day stop action musical. One of the things that makes this film such an interesting piece of work is that it combines so many different types of music into a single experience. In this case, it involves the sounds of mezzo-sopranos singing in a choir, something that is far different from the song that is listed in the above paragraph.
17. Finale/Reprise (Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman)
This is the final song that you hear in the actual film. If you have seen the film before, you probably remember that the song plays when the citizens celebrate Jack Skellington’s return to Halloweentown. Some people remember the song as the one that plays when it snows in the film.
16. What’s This? (Danny Elfman)
This is another song that you hear when it finally starts to snow in Halloweentown. As a matter of fact, the lyrics deal almost exclusively with the fact that the people in that town have never seen snow in their lives and they’re not even sure what it is.
15. Kidnap The Sandy Claws (Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman)
Here you have a song that deals with one of the main themes in the film, kidnapping Sandy Claws. That’s what the entire song centers around. As a matter of fact, the song essentially lays out the plot that will be carried out for the majority of the film as it moves forward.
14. Christmas Eve Montage (Danny Elfman)
Just as you might have already guessed from the title, this is an instrumental montage of several different songs that are quite effectively meshed together in order to further the story. Those involved with music for this film were quite creative in the way that they used music to not only keep things moving forward, but to keep the audience engaged. This is an excellent example of such creativity.
13. Poor Jack (Danny Elfman)
Here you have a song where Jack is essentially singing about himself. It seems a bit narcissistic at first, but it’s actually meant as an apology. Eventually, he starts to realize that doing things like kidnapping someone is not a very good idea and he begins to understand that he has not only been a part of things he shouldn’t have participated in, but also the instigator in a large amount of it.
12. Closing (Patrick Stewart)
No one would argue that Patrick Stewart is one of the most recognizable voices in the business. Having him perform the closing monologue is a genuine treat. The fact that it ended up being included on the soundtrack is even better still.
11. Jack’s Obsession (Danny Elfman)
This is an instrumental piece that practically gives you a glimpse inside Jack Skellington’s mind. It’s easy to see that he is so obsessed with his goal of kidnapping Sandy Claws that he literally can’t see the forest for the trees. The music that you hear in this particular piece allows you to take that ride with him in a sense, almost allowing you to see things from his perspective.
10. Making Christmas (Danny Elfman)
This is a mad little number that is just as frenetic in its design and sound as the scenes that it accompanies in the film. The individuals in Halloweentown are determined to make Christmas exactly what they want it to be, twisted as it might be. This is a song that reflects that determination and puts it right at the forefront of your thoughts.
9. Sally’s Song (Catherine O’Hara)
No movie would be complete without some type of love that pushes the stakes up even further. This is a song that speaks to that. In fact, the lyrics are obviously sung from Sally’s point of view and they speak about having a terrible feeling that something awful is about to happen, yet feeling completely powerless to do anything about it.
8. Doctor Finklestein/In the Forest (Danny Elfman)
This is probably one of the more peaceful tracks used throughout the entire film. At times, it’s even relaxing. However, there is always that slight underlying clash of minor notes that remind you that this is very much a horror film of sorts, even if you are being allowed to relax for just a few moments.
7. Town Meeting Song (Danny Elfman)
This is a funny little tune that talks about Jack Skellington’s trip to a town meeting where he sees things that he simply can’t forget about. It’s one of the things that sparks his idea of orchestrating this grandiose kidnapping and creating a Christmas that’s exactly the way he wants it to be.
6. Jack’s Lament (Danny Elfman)
This is a rather comical song where Jack is telling a story about being the best in the world at scaring people. If you really listen to the lyrics, you’ll also learn that this isn’t particularly what he wants to do. The root of the song involves someone who is trying to do better and wants to change old habits that may not particularly serve him or others particularly well.
5. Jack and Sally Montage (Danny Elfman)
Again, every song has to have a little bit of a story about love. In this particular song, you get to experience the love between Jack and Sally and how that impacts both of their lives. It’s a sweet little number, but like most of the songs on the soundtrack, there is a bit of underline tragedy that you can hear as well.
4. Oogie Boogie’s Song (Ken Page, Ed Ivory)
The song talks about legends and the things that people have a tendency to build up in their minds, reminding everyone that sees the film that most of the time, that mental image is a lot worse than the reality of the situation. Here, you have lyrics talking about how no one is afraid of Sandy Claws or anything else, even to the point of wondering why anyone is even paying attention.
3. Opening (Patrick Stewart)
Again, you are lucky enough to have Patrick Stewart gracing you with the opening to the story. This is not only an effective way to introduce the story and kick things off, but also one that genuinely grabs the attention of the audience. As such, it’s no surprise that it made it onto the soundtrack. In fact, it would be a disappointment if that had not been the case.
2. Nightmare Before Christmas: Overture (Danny Elfman)
This is truly a piece of music that has almost become a classical piece in its own right, one that displays the power and complexity of many of the songs that were developed for the film. It’s no surprise that it was the brainchild of Elfman, who was so instrumental in creating most of the songs here.
1. This Is Halloween (Danny Elfman)
This is the one that most people tend to be familiar with, even if they’ve never heard the soundtrack or even watched the film. It’s a song that has made it into popular culture and is still played quite frequently around Halloween, even all these years later.