By Gillian Telling
January 13, 2014 12:00 PM

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.

BLACK NATIVITY

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.

FROZEN

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.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO CHUCK: chucksreviews@peoplemag.com

Advertisement