ALBUM REVIEW: Tarantino magic in Django soundtrack

Django Unchained - Various artists

The soundtrack album has become something of a lost cause in the digital age, but Django Unchained shows that a compilation of the Quentin Tarantino variety can still be an event - even when one's finger is never far from the "skip" button.

Most soundtrack albums are notoriously uneven when it comes to stylistic cohesion and quality, and why would you buy one these days? Just Google the two or three tracks that are any good and you'll find a way to download them, be it legally or by other means.

There was a mini-renaissance in the mid- 1990s, when soundtracks to Natural Born Killers, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Romeo + Juliet pumped from the bedrooms everywhere. Aided by dialogue snippets and good taste, they were also able to capture the feel of the movies.

Django Unchained does too, but as a collection of songs it's quite scattershot; it's a curious mix of old school Spaghetti Western scores, obscure oddities and contemporary cuts written and recorded for the film. John Legend's Who Did that to You? and Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton's Freedom provide the soulful muscle expected of Tarantino's musical tastes, and Rick Ross' thumping 100 Black Coffins is one of the best hip hop tracks I've heard since early Wu Tang.

But beyond these and the gorgeous Ennio Morricone contributions, the song list goes south. The country tracks by Jim Croce and Brother Dege are either too syrupy or too stale, and Luis Bacalov & Edda Dell' Orso's Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King) sounds like it was written in five minutes.

But Tarantino devotees will still enjoy it as a companion piece to the picture, particularly as many of the dialogue tracks are ones that didn't make the movie.

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