Movie soundtracks feature prominent artists, garnering more interest

April 1, 2018 — by Kevin Sze

The highest grossing non-sequel superhero movie. The seventh biggest superhero movie ever. The generator of $900 million in revenue in its first three weeks in theaters. These are just a few of the accolades “Black Panther” has collected so far this year.

The movie stars some of the biggest names in the film industry, with lead roles being given to Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, both of whom entice the audience in a plot full of action.

Going along with this movie-making excellence has been the stellar, star-filled soundtracks the one from “Black Panther.”

Kendrick Lamar, hip hop mogul and icon, is producer of the movie’s soundtrack, which included artists like Khalid, 2 Chainz, SOBxRBE and SZA. the album quickly topped Billboard’s 200.

My favorite track is one by SOBxRBE, a promising rap quartet, who recorded the song, “Paramedic!.” It became an instant hit on people’s gym playlists, due to its fast verses combined with its clever rhyme scheme. It even includes a subliminal message dedicated to NBA superstar Lebron James.

“King’s Dead,” another song in the soundtrack, combines the styles of Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake to create a song with multiple flows and beat changes. Lamar raps from the perspective of Killmonger, the movie’s villain, pointing out Killmonger’s relatable struggle for identity.

The soundtrack also switches from hard-hitting flows to a laid-back vibe in songs like “All The Stars,” featuring SZA, or “The Ways,” by Khalid and Swae Lee. Both songs were huge successes on the Billboard 100.  

Well-known soundtracks promote a movie more effectively, leading to better numbers in the box office.

Take “Suicide Squad,” for example. The movie was one of the first to line up a star-studded soundtrack mixed with rap’s legends and upcoming forces, creating a successful stand-alone album.

Paired with a decent superhero movie that contained stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie, the soundtrack and movie raked in $746.8 million in the box office on a $175 million budget.

Yet film critics have labeled it was one of the most disappointing superhero movies of all time.  IMDb gave the movie a 6.1/10, while Rotten Tomatoes gave it a mere 26 percent.

Clearly, the movie’s best selling point was the soundtrack, which features Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons and Logic. Their song, “Sucker For Pain,” which combines a catchy and smooth chorus with lyrically sound verses, skyrocketed to No. 15 on the Billboard 100 and No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs.

Songs such as “Sucker For Pain” undoubtedly lured in extra viewers, and the soundtrack’s high praise promoted the movie effectively.

Will Smith’s Netflix blockbuster “Bright” took a similar route by enlisting the help of Logic, Marshmello, Migos and Future to create an impressive five-song soundtrack.

Despite a dismal Rotten Tomatoes rating of 27 percent and a negative review by The New York Times, which wrote that “true enchantment [was] in short supply,” Nielsen ratings revealed over 11 million views in a three-day span.

There is no end in sight to this trend of well-known artists being featured heavily in movie soundtracks. And for music lovers, it’s a good thing.  They are treated to a song that bridges the one- to two-year gap between artists’ individual album releases.


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