Like excellent visuals and writing, a killer soundtrack is helpful to the success of many great movies.
Luckily for Django Unchained, its creator used an impeccable taste in music to sonically accompany the pageant of blood, guns and violence in the acclaimed screenplay.
Quentin Tarantino is undoubtedly a fan of vintage music. As in his past films, the soundtrack for “Django Unchained” incorporates healthy doses of retro funk and soul, but this time with a more diverse and unique twist.
The soundtrack starts with the song “Django (Main Theme),” a high soaring, vocal-centric piece with a Motown-meets-spaghetti-western backbeat. Composed by Luis Bacalov solely for this soundtrack, the song provides a tasty sample for the album — alerting the listener to the smooth blend of old and new to come.
After another Bacalov song (“Lo Chiamavano (His Name is King)”) of similar motif to the title track, the listener then moves to the smooth, rolling storytelling of Jim Croce’s “I’ve Got a Name”, the traveled charisma of Croce fitting perfectly to the journey in the movie.
A transition of dialogue and some instrumentals bring the album to its new-school romp, Rick Ross’s original contribution “100 Black Coffins.” It’s an interesting modernism of thumping bass and western whistling that makes the soundtrack diverse for the better. However, the simplistic lyrics and vocal delivery still leave something to be desired.
John Legend’s “Who Did This to You?” and Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton’s “Freedom” are perhaps the most key ingredients to the album. Their smooth but pained soulfulness embodies the hopeless plight that both Django and his people must face, giving emotion to the violent film and providing the soundtrack with depth.
The hums of “Freedom,” evocative of slave hollers, specifically exemplify this point, giving both the listener and the track a haunting chill.
Overall, “Django Unchained“’s soundtrack may not have reached the level of acclaim heralded by the film, but its diversity, intrigue and tasteful organization make for a great listening experience.
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