5 HOT MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
You don’t even need to see this Coen Brothers film to know that star Oscar Isaac was the right choice to play a morose folksinger. You just have to listen. His well-worn, haunting vocals are perfect on traditional songs like “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” and “Fare Thee Well,” a gloriously down-home duet with Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford. The whole album, produced by T. Bone Burnett, is at once moody and beautiful. Standouts include “Five Hundred Miles” by Justin Timberlake and costar Carey Mulligan, whose pretty voice soars amid the male-dominated tracks.
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Executive-produced by John Legend, this album doesn’t just include soulful spirituals and instrumentals from the film. It also features songs inspired by it, written and recorded by artists like Legend, Chris Cornell and Alicia Keys. The end result is, like the movie itself, deeply moving.
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
It’s not exactly full of hits you can sing along with, but if you’re interested in what the music of Mandela’s lifetime sounded like – from the old-timey ragtime tunes of his childhood to traditional Afrikaans choir vocals – this will sate your curiosity in an enjoyable way. “Ordinary Love,” U2’s catchy original song, is a highlight.
You expect greatness from an album featuring Jennifer Hudson and Mary J. Blige (and produced by Raphael Saadiq of Tony! Toni! Toné). But these gospel songs are disappointingly slow and lack any joyous uplift.
Parents, rejoice! Not since The Lion King has a Disney musical full of booming Broadway numbers been so much fun to listen to. Kristen Bell surprises with her charming vocal skills, and Idina Menzel’s stunning, chest-thumping power ballad “Let It Go” could have been an addition to the Wicked soundtrack.
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