TIFF 2023 Playlist

TIFF 2023: A Playlist of Memorable Soundtrack Moments

As has become a September tradition around here, we’re taking time out of our recovery to revisit our favourite needle drops from the many memorable films we screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). So now that the People’s Choice picks have been announced (American Fiction was tops!) and the final film screened, it’s time for a well-deserved rest. So relax, put your feet up, and settle in for a playlist of songs that hack immediately back to another (almost) fortnight of cinematic discoveries.

There’s some atmospheric, period jazz from Anand Tucker’s The Critic, some roof-raising anthems from Lil’ Nas X’s debut documentary Long Live Montero, and a particularly peppy Kylie Minogue entry from the unbelievably tense Royal Hotel. If ’70s nostalgia is more your thing, we’ve got tracks from Gordon Lightfoot (RIP) and Cat Stevens for you, and if you found yourself cheering for the few 2023 musicals on TIFF’s film roster, scroll to “Meet Me in the Middle” from Flora & Son and singalong to Lesley Duncan’s Love Song from Chuck Chuck Baby. We decided not to include the backing track from the ubiquitous Bulgari ad starring Anne Hathaway and Zendaya this year, because two years in a row is a bit much. But we DID include the Moog-tastic version of J.S. Bach’s “Badinerie” that played alongside this year’s TIFF trailer. You’re welcome.

There are 40 tracks in total! So tune in below to the tracks we loved, then scroll down to find out which film the songs were featured in:

Here’s a list of where the songs were featured:

  1. “Badinerie” by Vyvyan James Hope-Scott (featured in the TIFF 2023 Festival Trailer)
  2. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire (featured in Robot Dreams)
  3. “Fingertips” by Stevie Wonder (featured in Rustin)
  4. “Downtown” by Petula Clark (featured in Toll)
  5. “Only You” by Yazoo (featured in Fingernails)
  6. “Because It’s Love” by Al Bowlly (featured in The Critic)
  7. “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners (featured in Backspot)
  8. “The Loco-motion” by Kylie Minogue (featured in The Royal Hotel)
  9. “Mere Sapnon Ki Rani” by Kishore Kumar (featured in Queen of My Dreams)
  10. “Believe” by Cher (featured in Shame on Dry Land)
  11. “HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar (featured in Dumb Money)
  12. “Can’t Do Without You” by Caribou (featured in The End We Start From)
  13. “Party Alone” by WTRGRL (featured in Fitting In)
  14. “Je n’etais qu’un reve” by Aamourocean (featured in Spirit of Ecstasy)
  15. “P.I.M.P.” by 50 Cent (featured in Anatomy of a Fall)
  16. “That’s What I Want” by Lil’ Nas X (featured in Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero)
  17. “I’m Not Your Hero” by Tegan and Sara (featured in Summer Qamp)
  18. “Choro” by Natasha Noorani (featured in In Flames)
  19. “While We Wait” by Dominique Fils-Aime (featured in Solo)
  20. “Mehcinut” by Jeremy Dutcher (featured in Telling Our Story)
  21. “Spinning Globe” by Kenshi Yonezu (featured in The Boy and the Heron)
  22. “Otherside” by Perfume Genius (featured in National Anthem)
  23. “Paree” by Suneeta Rao (featured in Thank You For Coming)
  24. “Love Song” by Lesley Duncan (featured in Chuck Chuck Baby)
  25. “The Wind” by Cat Stevens (featured in The Holdovers)
  26. “Early Morning Rain” by Gordon Lightfoot (featured in Fallen Leaves)
  27. “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young (featured in NYAD)
  28. “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks (featured in Seagrass)
  29. “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (featured in Memory)
  30. “Closing Time” by Semisonic (featured in Pain Hustlers)
  31. “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback (featured in Hate to Love: Nickelback)
  32. “Unsatisfied” by The Replacements (featured in Flipside)
  33. “Day After Day” by Badfinger (featured in Hell of a Summer)
  34. “Angel” by Jimi Hendrix (featured in A Difficult Year)
  35. “Meet Me in the Middle” by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eve Hewson (featured in Flora & Son)
  36. “Swan Lake (Suite)” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (featured in Swan Song)
  37. “Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5” by Arnold Schoenberg (featured in Days of Happiness)
  38. “Vingt ans” by Leo Ferre (featured in Last Summer)
  39. “Chega de Saudade” by João Gilberto (featured in They Shot the Piano Player)
  40. “Multi-Car Garage” by YACHT (featured in Paolo Sorrentino’s Bulgari ad…because we couldn’t resist…)

Did we miss any other songs that stuck with you from this year’s fest? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add them in! Or check back in with our previous TIFF playlists over on our Spotify!

A big thank you to this year’s playlist contributors: Pat MullenCourtney Small, Rachel West, Larry Fried, Ethan Dayton, Barbara Goslawski, Akash Singh, Marc Winegust, and Jason Gorber.

Follow That Shelf for our latest 2023 coverage including reviews, interviews and more, from TIFF – and join in on the conversation on Twitter and Letterboxd.