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What Happened to the Soundtrack?

Remember when you got hyped about a movie not just because of the trailer, but because of its soundtrack?

Some of my favorite movies can be linked to the music featured in the film or during the end credits. 1998’s “Armageddon” will always be linked to Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing“. Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” reminds me of 1995’s “Batman Forever“. Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” from 1992’s “The Bodyguard” will probably go down in history as one of the most memorable songs of all time.

As I write this post, I realize it would take a separate post to rank my top soundtrack albums. But for now I’ll focus on two of my favorites…

1996’s “The Nutty Professor” was one of Eddie Murphy’s best and had an equally successful soundtrack. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and featured several hits: “Ain’t Nobody” by Monica f. Treach of Naughty By Nature, “I Like” by Montell Jordan f. Slick Rick, “Ain’t No N*gga” by Jay-Z f. Foxy Brown, and “Last Night” by Az Yet. This was one of those soundtracks we DJs picked up and rocked almost every track on in in some shape, form or fashion. Def Jam was definitely on its game back then. Arguably the best track on this album was “Touch Me, Tease Me” by Case f. Foxy Brown.

I can recall a time when movie soundtracks were better than the movie. A perfect example was 1994’s STREET FIGHTER. That movie had all the hype and decent casting (Jean Claude Van Damme as GUILE, Ming Na-Wen as CHUN-LI, Raul Julia as M. BISON, Kylie Minogue as CAMMY). As a gamer and Street Fighter fan, I felt like I was on one of the first who picked up the Soundtrack when it was released in early December of ’94. To my surprise and delight, the soundtrack was mostly Hip-Hop music featuring tracks from Ice Cube, Nas, Craig Mack, and probably the best track on the album: “Pandemonium” by The Pharcyde.

I was a radio DJ on campus at Bryant University and I remember the reaction my listeners got when I debuted that track…it got so much love and got us hyped for the movie that was coming out that Christmas. Unfortunately, the movie was terrible…HORRIBLE. I think it’s a flick that we all want to forget. In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video games movies.

Today, there’s only one track (if any) released to hype up a movie. The latest track released to get people ready for the corresponding film is the latest from Zayn and Taylor Swift…”I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the upcoming “Fifty Shades Darker” flick…I’m going on record and stating that this will be the #1 Slow Jam track during Prom Season in 2017. (LOL)

I’m hoping that the days of the soundtrack isn’t over…in my opinion, it’s a way to make a motion picture timeless.