Popshifter Django Unchained Soundtrack Review

Kicking it with Ennio. Good Django Unchained review at Popshifter with quick mention of the king of spaghetti western scores Ennio Morricone and Brother Dege.


By Jemiah Jefferson

Audiences know by now that the films of Quentin Tarantino will have certain elements in common: protagonists that barely edge out of antihero territory, if at all; bad guys at least as charming as the heroes, but lacking in fundamental compassion; gleefully creative use of extreme profanity, either in dialogue or in philosophy; and of course, extreme, explicit, and shocking violence. Something often overlooked, however, until experienced, is the fact that Tarantino is one of the most gifted compilers of phenomenal soundtracks that has ever lived.

Marrying expert knowledge of the classic film scores of the past from Nino Rota to Curtis Mayfield with a positively nerdy expertise of the musical accompaniment to the genres long considered “trash” or “grindhouse” movies, Tarantino’s soundtracks provide listening pleasure long after the credits finish rolling. From the revolutionary collection of soft hits of the seventies presented in Reservoir Dogs (still one of my favorite movie soundtracks of all time) to the gritty surf of Pulp Fiction and punk-rock and pan flute smoothie offered up in Kill Bill, these are albums that can be recommended to and enjoyed by even audiences too squeamish to consider laughing at people shot in the face or dismembered, and the regular inclusion of short snippets of dialogue from the film in question adds the joy of a mix tape lovingly curated by a clever friend.

Django Unchained, Tarantino’s latest outrageous and controversial offering, is no exception to the rule. Combining great orchestral tunes from spaghetti westerns from such artists as Elisa Toffoli, Riz Ortolani, and the peerless Ennio Morricone with the White-Stripes-esque blues-psych-folk of “Too Old To Die Young” by contemporary bluesman Brother Dege, this is a great collection perfect for late-night road trips or whiskey-drinking sessions with your crew at home. It even gives props to the original film series from which this movie’s concept was born by featuring the thrilling original theme song to Django, the godfather of these over-the-top western revenge fantasies.

The only thing close to a misstep is the shambling, low-energy Rick Ross track “100 Black Coffins,” and that could very well be a matter of personal taste; the song’s got promise, but its lackadaisical approach seems almost too low-key to fit with the others. Unfortunately, this reviewer was unable to preview the post-mortem mashup between Tupac and James Brown, “Unchained,” but so far, critical response has been good.

This album is definitely one to own.

The Django Unchained soundtrack was released on December 18. Django Unchained, the film, will be released in theaters on December 25, Christmas Day.