Featured Creature: Emily Browning's Vocals
When was the last time you really remembered any of a movie's score walking out of the theater? For this reviewer, it's been awhile. A movie's soundtrack should work along with the movie--and lately, in action/fantasy movie's more often than not, their soundtrack's have ultimately become generic and stale. Movie scores too often choose to play it safe, relying on bland music that serve as nothing more than background music to be forgotten as soon as the scenes changes. While that may be fine for any dumb summer blockbuster, it isn't something every movie should be doing, especially when your movie is filled to the brim with mind-blowing action sequences like this one is. Does Sucker Punch's soundtrack fall into the trap?
ABSOLUTELY not. Simply put, Sucker Punch comes loaded with some of the best music to ever grace the big screen, and the soundtrack captures every explosion perfectly. Though every song on the album is either a cover or a remix, the soundtrack comes off as being entirely new and fresh. No two songs sound alike, and every song has its moment--including any song featuring Emily Browning. Yes, Sucker Punch's lead actress lends her vocals to three songs on the soundtrack: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)", "Asleep", and "Where Is My Mind". All are covers, (of the Eurythmics, The Smiths, and The Pixies) and she shines on every one. Her voice makes "Sweet Dreams" and "Asleep" all the more haunting, (in a eerily beautiful way) and her cameo on "Where Is My Mind" is practically welcomed with open arms after her other two songs.
Other covers include an excellent rock/pop-ish sounding version of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" done by Emiliana Torrini (my personal favorite song on the album), a better-than-the-original version of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" sung by Carla Azar, and a rock/indie version (complete with a fantastic intro) of The Stooges' "Search and Destroy" by Skunk Anansie. The two remixes, both of which could have bombed but come out strong, are the tech-heavy Sucker Punch remix of Bjork's "Army of Me" and a mash-up of Queen's "We Will Rock You" and "I Want it All". The latter features rapping by Geddy over the mash, something that sounds horrible on paper but is accomplished well upon listening. (It shouldn't have worked...but the song combines the two songs and rapping into one big, loud, most importantly enjoyable remix.)
The last song on the soundtrack, kind of the odd one out, is a cover of Roxy Music's "Love Is the Drug", and it deserves some special attention. It is nothing like any other song on the soundtrack, and it immediately feels like it deserves top billing. The song, sung wonderfully by cast members Oscar Isaac and Carla Gugino, (who still comes in character, complete with Russian accent!) feels like it belongs in some million-dollar musical, not a hyper-stylized movie like Sucker Punch. Yet played over the movie's end credits musical numbers (or just listening here alone), the song feels strangely at home, content in being the strange one...and that's what makes it all the better. If you are a fan of Broadway musicals, you can't go wrong at least checking this one song out.
Overall, there isn't a bad song in the bunch. Though it only has nine tracks, the soundtrack is loaded with more variety than ten average soundtracks, and it works along with the movie like no other has done before. (The soundtrack works on a Tarantino-level of musical perfection...that's how good it is!) Even if you didn't care for the movie itself, the soundtrack is a must-buy for any music fan and already has my vote for Soundtrack of the Year. It's gonna take a lot to trump this beast.