With the term ‘Barbenheimer’ popular these days, it would be appropriate to talk of their music, and also check out some of the other Hollywood soundtracks doing the rounds.
Naturally, the music of the Margot Robbie-Ryan Gosling film Barbie and the Christopher Nolan-directed Oppenheimer are total contrasts. Released on July 21, Barbie is clearly targeted at teenagers, mainly young girls. As such, it features some of the biggest names in pop today. One week after release, tracks by Billie Eilish (What Was I Made For?), Dua Lipa (Dance The Night) and Nicky Minaj-Ice Spice (Barbie World) were No. 3, 4 and 5 on the UK charts, though they were slow to take off on the Billboard Hot 100 released on July 29, with Dua Lipa beginning at No. 25.
Despite being average numbers, these songs may have been accepted because of the artistes’ popularity, and also because of music videos featuring the singers. But the soundtrack had better tunes, including Ryan Gosling’s I’m Just Ken, HAIM’s Home and Ava Max’s Choose Your Fighter. In fact, the Nicky Minaj-Ice Spice number Barbie World is quite a disaster, as they have badly used a sample of Aqua’s 1997 super-hit Barbie Girl. Some songs should just be left alone. Yet, the album has got off to a great start. One doesn’t know whether any song will be as successful as Aqua, but this soundtrack is definitely not as memorable as scores from the past.
In contrast to the teenybopper pop of Barbie, the Oppenheimer soundtrack consists of instrumental pieces which go with the situations in the film. It’s interesting that after relying on the great German composer Hans Zimmer for many years, Nolan has chosen Swedish composer Ludwig Goransson for his previous film Tenet and this one. In Oppenheimer, the names of the pieces go with the storyline, and you have Fission, Meeting Kitty, Manhattan Project, Los Alamos, Fusion, Trinity and other such titles.
While watching a film, the score is usually not the main preference of the viewer, who will primarily consider the storyline, performances, dialogues, visual effects and action sequences. Normally, the music only enhances the overall effect, rarely being at the forefront. But a good score usually creates an impact if one listens to it independently, and that’s what the Oppenheimer music does. Some violin arrangements and percussion runs are just incredible. If one watches the film again after being familiar with the music, it should be another experience altogether.
The same is the case with other recent English releases like The Flash (music by Benjamin Wallfisch), Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse (Daniel Pemberton), Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny (John Williams) and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (Lorne Balfe). All feature instrumental music, which may attract only a selective audience. But one may check out the tunes Tuk Tuk In Tangiers from Indiana Jones and The Plot Thickens’ from the latest Mission Impossible, as both are absolute beauties.
Among soundtracks released over the past year, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way Of Water begins with Canadian star The Weeknd singing Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength) and ends with actress Zoe Saldana presenting The Songcord at the end. Music is by British composer Simon Franglen, and the rest of the score consists of instrumentals and chanty new age music.
Top Gun: Maverick |
We end with four song-heavy recommendations, beginning with last year’s Tom Cruise movie Top Gun: Maverick, which feature Lady Gaga (Hold My Hand) and OneRepublic (I Ain’t Worried), besides a repeat of the Kenny Loggins 1986 hit Danger Zone.
Instrumental music by Harold Faltermeyer, Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer complete the soundtrack.
For pop fans, the Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody contains reimagined remixes of some of her classics, besides originals. One of the best albums is Aurora from Daisy Jones & The Six, the Amazon Prime series based on a band styled around rock group Fleetwood Mac. And finally, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, is a killer soundtrack with tracks by Radiohead, Heart, Bruce Springsteen, Rainbow, the Flaming Lips and others. That’s a diverse range of Hollywood music. Take your pick.