Label: 2014 Republic Records
Genres: Rap, Hip-hop, Pop, RnB
Whenever we think about film scores and soundtracks, we normally concentrate on those that send goosebumps streaming across our bodies. Those of John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Danny Elfman usually cause this type of reaction, as their work is almost always bombastic and gripping. Nowadays, we look to these composers to propel certain blockbusters into the Hollywood stratosphere. But what about the little guys in Tinseltown? What about those who don’t aim to soar, but seek to enlighten in a believable manner?
Normally, scores and soundtracks serve as efficient back-ups for action flicks and hysterical farces. They don’t seek to overwhelm or enrapture, but to be as quaint as possible to let the visuals do all the walking and talking. In the case of 22 Jump Street, with comedic talents like Jonah Hill and physical specimens like Channing Tatum gracing the screen, the soundtrack puts the pedal to the metal exactly like its lead characters do.
The soundtrack, with an eclectic mix of RnB and hip-hop tracks, delivers the perfect walk-away-from-explosions-in-slow-motion compilation. From the first note to the last, this soundtrack utilises the most engaging commercial music on offer. This might seem like an out-of-touch description, but this soundtrack’s willpower is bafflingly astonishing. From an outsider’s perspective, this compilation looks like yet another marketing ploy used to sell tickets and albums. However, like the movie, it’s far better than it has any right to be.
Recommendations: ’22 Jump Street (Theme from Motion Picture)’, ‘Models & Bottles’, ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’
After delving into this soundtrack’s invigorating line-up, I took it upon myself to research how and when they’re used throughout the movie. The first track is, unquestionably, the most satisfying of the bunch. This may be considered a negative, but it gets the album off to a cracking start. Entitled simply ’22 Jump Street’, this number matches the movie’s light-as-air tone and humorous aura. Chronicling everything the movie has to offer, Angel Haze and Ludacris’ track is a sure-fire rush. Clinging onto this fun theme tune, the next few tracks honour the material’s rough-and-tumble vibe.
From the opening track onward, the album takes advantage of this-and-last-year’s best dance-floor hits. The Bingo Players and Far East Movement’s ‘Get Up’ fuses a lively electronica rhythm and catchy lyrics to become a seminal party anthem. Beyond this, tracks including Blind Scuba Divers’ ‘Models and Bottles’, Diplo and Nicky Da B’s ‘Express Yourself’, and Flosstradamus and Waka Flocka Flame’s ‘TTU (Too Turnt Up)’ are visceral and vivacious electronica/pop smashes that move faster than the action-comedy they’re featured in. However, sadly, some of these tracks are difficult to distinguish from one another. Nacey and Angel Haze’s ‘I Own it’ is a forgettable and uninspired pop number.
Effortlessly, the album’s back-end alone is worth a lot more than most blockbuster soundtracks. Electronica anthems including Shermanology & Grx’s ‘Can’t You See’ and Steve Aoki, Diplo, Deorro, and Steve Bays’ ‘Freak’ are relentless numbers that boost this dynamic compilation. By album’s end, it comes back around to being one of the year’s best compilations. RnB hits including Travis Barker, Juicy J and Liz’s ‘Live Forever’ and Whiz Kalifa’s ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ are two of modern music’s best efforts. Going down like a smooth vodka shot, this Spring Break-worthy compilation pummels and romances its way into the consciousness.