Release Date: 04.13.04
Record label: Maverick
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
A Little Less Tokyo, A Little More Mexico
by: bill aicher
As with other soundtracks for Quentin Tarantino films, Kill Bill Vol. 2 does a fine job combining his film medium and its accompanying music straight from the get-go. His films, (Kill Bill Vol. 2 surely included) continually tend to use music as effectively as a sub-set of film dialogue and sound effects and thus his soundtracks tend to be enhanced by the inclusion of dialogue from their respective films. Not only does this inclusion of dialogue churn up nostalgia for the film in itself, but it also puts the listener in the mindset of the film, giving the songs further meaning.
The opening track of Kill Bill Vol. 2 is no different. Uman Thurman's hardened revenge is spelled out immediately for the listener, making the transition into Shivaree's moody "Goodnight Moon" (from their excellent 1999 album I Oughtta Give You A Shot In the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump) all the more pleasing. Its swampy sound helps set up room for thematic changes from the soundtrack for Vol. 1, for Kill Bill Vol. 2 trades in much of its Japanese influence for a more dusty, southern US / Mexicano feel.
Lending a major hand to this thematic change is the inclusion of several older soundtrack pieces from composer Ennio Morricone, superbly finding new life in this soundtrack. (Tarantino has said in the past that he'd love to have some Ennio Morricone for Kill Bill. Obviously the events of Vol. 1 just didn't take place in the right area).
Still, the soundtrack to Tarantino's latest does seem to lack the punch of previous effots - Kill Bill Vol. 1 included. Nowhere here will one find anything nearly as jaw-droppingly cool as Nancy Sinatra's cover of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" or the Japanese pop-punk of the 126.96.36.199's. Even more unfortunate is the inclusion of a trip-hop reworking of The Zombies' classic "She's Not There" by Malcolm McLaren, this time entitled "About Her." But then again, knowing Tarantino's penchant for giving extraordinary life to an otherwise unremarkable song, "About Her" may well turn in to the albums' highlight upon nostalgiac future listens (post viewing Vol. 2).
But this isn't to say Kill Bill Vol. 2 will lack any of the aural punch of past Tarantino work. One listen to Vol. 1's soundtrack, post-viewing the first film, makes it painfully obvious just how easy it is to leave out some of the most relevant music from the film on its accompanying soundtrack. ("Nobody But Me" by Human Beinz as used in the Crazy 88 massacre scene, anybody?) This is likely to be the case with Vol. 2 as well.
The fact remains, however, that the soundtrack Kill Bill Vol. 2, no matter how well music is used in the film, seems to be missing that special something that made the first an instant classic. Then again, Tarantino's changed our perceptions of songs in the past. Who's to say Meiko Kaji's "Urami Bushi," with it's blend of Japanese and Mariachi influence won't be the next "Stuck in the Middle With You." Although I'm putting my money on Johnny Cash's "A Satisfied Mind" to take home that crown. 14-Apr-2004 9:20 AM