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Django Unchained OST (Review)

Django Unchained OST

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

QUENTIN Tarantino may just have surpassed his own high standards when it comes to soundtracks with Django Unchained.

A thrilling collection of original compositions and classic songs (several unearthed from his own vinyl record collection, complete with scratches!), this is a stupendously good compilation album regardless of whether you’ve seen the film or not.

As ever, there are snippets of dialogue littered between the tracks, as if to underline the director’s own love for his scriptwriting ability. But these usually enhance the experience.

While the fact that several artists, including Ennio Morricone himself, contributed some original pieces of work inspired by the film and its themes (a first for Tarantino) showcases just how revered he has become as both a filmmaker and assembler of kick-ass cool soundtracks.

Tarantino himself says of the soundtrack: “I want to thank all the artists who contributed original songs (a first for me) to the picture. Most of these contributions came out of the artists’ own inspiration and their illustration of the film’s soul is invaluable.

“In addition to the new original songs I am also using a lot of older recordings on the soundtrack – many of which came from my personal vinyl collection. Instead of having the record companies give me new digitally cleaned up versions of these recordings from the 60’s and 70’s, I wanted to use the vinyl I’ve been listening to for years – complete with all the pops and cracks.

“I even kept the sound of the needle being put down on the record. Basically because I wanted people’s experience to be the same as mine when they hear this soundtrack for the first time.”

Highlights include the main theme to Django by Luis Bacalov and Rocky Roberts, which has a really classic feel to it, and the Morricone classic The Braying Mule, which was originally featured in Clint Eastwood’s faux-spaghetti western movie Two Mules For Sister Sara and sampled for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Morricone’s original composition, Ancora Qui with Elisa, is another gem… a tender, intricately woven acoustic guitar number that offers a rare moment of calm in an otherwise livewire, violent movie. Elisa’s vocals are quite soothing and work perfectly in tandem with the plucking.

More rousing, meanwhile, are the likes of Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable), which fuses classic James Brown and some funky horn sections with a 2Pac rap; 100 Black Coffins, by Rick Ross and featuring Jamie Foxx (the whistling is awesome and works so, so well with the hip-hop infused beats), and John Legend’s retro leaning Who Did That To You?, which has a deliciously sing-along chorus to compliment it’s finger-clicking, Motown referencing finger-click beats and punchy guitar riffs.

As if to underline the overall diversity and eclectic nature of the Tarantino ear, Brother Dege contribute the slide guitar heavy rocker Too Old To Die Young (as if to nod to Bon Jovi and Young Guns), Jim Croce lays down some impressive folk credentials with I Got A Name, and Annibale E I Cantori Moderni round things off with the whistle-strewn Trinity (Titoli)… the type of ‘70s throwback that Austin Powers might like to blag for a new theme and which Burt Bacharach would be proud of.

Take our word for it, this is a rootin’, tootin’, mother**kin’ blast of a soundtrack!

Read our verdict on the film

Download picks: Django (Main Theme), The Braying Mule, 100 Black Coffins, I Got A Name, Ancora Qui, Who Did That To You?, Unchained, Trinity, Too Old To Die Young

Track listing:

  1. Winged
  2. Django (Main Theme) – Luis Bacalov, Rocky Roberts
  3. The Braying Mule – Ennio Morricone
  4. In That Case, Django, After You…
  5. Lo Chiamavano King (His Name Is King) – Luis Bacalov, Edda Dell’Orso
  6. Freedom – Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynton
  7. Five Thousand Dollar Nigga’s And Gummy Mouth Bitches
  8. La Corsa (2nd Version) – Luis Bacalov
  9. Sneaky Schultz And The Demise of Sharp
  10. I Got A Name – Jim Croce
  11. I Giorni Dell’Ira – Riz Ortolani
  12. 100 Black Coffins – Rick Ross
  13. Nicaragua – Jerry Goldsmith feat Pat Metheny
  14. Hildi’s Hot Box
  15. Sister Sara’s Theme – Ennio Morricone
  16. Ancora Qui – Ennio Morricone and Elisa
  17. Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable) – James Brown and 2Pac
  18. Who Did That To You? – John Legend
  19. Too Old To Die Young – Brother Dege
  20. Stephen The Poker Player
  21. Un Momumento – Ennio Morricone
  22. Six Shots Two Guns
  23. Trinity (Titoli) – Annibale E I Cantori Moderni