Top 5 Movie Soundtracks of 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

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Why it is great: Who does not enjoy rock n roll music? My first introduction to Queen’s music came from the movie The Mighty Ducks where they sang We Are the Champions. Produced by Jim Beach (Queen’s Manager), Robert Taylor (the drummer), and Brian May (the guitarist), the soundtrack includes cuts from the movie and remastered versions of Queen’s original releases. This is not a greatest hit album, it is a collection of the songs that made Queen famous and beloved. Rock n roll music today bears little resemblance to the aggression and complexity of the songs created in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Best tracks: “We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions”, “Radio Ga-Ga” “Hammer to Fall” “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Available at (On November 30): Spotify, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc…

Bad Times at the El Royale

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Why it is great: Music from the 1950’s and 1960’s remain quite popular in Hollywood films. For instance, the Guardians of the Galaxy films utilize hits from the late ’60s and early 70’s to great effect. Bad Times takes place in the mid-1960’s during the time of Vietnam War protests and the Charles Manson murders. The music on the soundtrack draws from the juxtaposition of optimism and cynicism that existed in popular culture at the time. If you are a fan of protest music and the Motown sound of the ’60’s, this soundtrack includes a nice snapshot of the era.

Best tracks: “Baby I Love You” by Tommy Roe, “He’s a Rebel”  by Alana Da Fonseca, “This Old Heart of Mine” by The Isley Brothers, “Bend Me, Shape Me” by The American Breed

Available at: Spotify, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc…

Black Panther

Why it is great: Two soundtrack exist for the film: Black Panther (Original Score) by Ludwig Göransson and Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar. Both albums are excellent. First with Ludwig Göransson. His score focuses on traditional African music with a hip-hop flare composed for an orchestra. Göransson actually visited Africa in order to research traditional and modern African music. Most of the songs in the score use talking drums and tambins in the composition, both are traditional African instruments. When combined with the classical orchestra, the result is amazing. Kendrick Lamar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper, wrote original songs for the film. He also contributed vocals to every track, including those where he did not sing lead.  Additional collaboraters include Khalid, Vince Staples, Jorja Smith, SZA, Future, and James Blake.

Best tracks: “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, “Wakanda Origins” by Ludwig Göransson, “Wakanda” (featuring Baaba Maal) by Ludwig Göransson, “The Great Mound Battle” by Ludwig Göransson, “Opps (with Yugen Blakrok)” by Vince Staples, Yugen Blakrok, and Kendrick Lamar

Black Panther (Score) Available at: Spotify, Amazon, Barnes & NobleiTunes, etc…

Black Panther: The Album Available at: Spotify, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc…

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Why it is great: Star Wars is synonymous with John Williams. The Imperial March and the Star Wars Theme are two instantly recognizable songs, no Star Wars film feels complete until they appear. Haunting, intimidating, and inspiring all at once, Williams mastered the art of soundtrack perfection. Despite your thoughts on the Solo Movie, the soundtrack lives up to the excellence of the original sound. While Williams did not compose the entire soundtrack, his iconic songs feature prominently.  John Powell, the composer behind How to Train Your DragonHappy Feet, and Shrek, composed the majority of the music. Powell weaved his own unique sounds between Williams’s signature orchestral compositions.

Best tracks: “Chicken in the Pot” by John Powell, “The Adventures of Han” by John Williams, “Lando’s Closet” by John Powell

Available at: Spotify, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc…

Ocean’s 8

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Why it is great: While I did not really enjoy the film, the soundtrack included some great music. Like most modern movies nowadays, the film has two “soundtracks”. The original score contains tracks written and composed by Daniel Pemberton and the other one is a selection of popular music used throughout the film.  The selection of “popular” songs varies wildly in tone and genre; Bach’s “Fugue In D Minor” is slightly different from “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G.. All together, the song choices help to accentuate the various dramatic and humorous moments in the narrative. Surprisingly, neither Rihanna nor Awkwafina contributed a song or a cover to the soundtrack.

Best tracks: “Me and Mr Jones” by Amy Winehouse, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra, “Superfly” by Curtis Mayfield

Available at: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, etc…

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