Soundtracks

Stranger Things 3 [Score] (CD)

Lightning strikes thrice for Strangers Things composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. On their third original score, the duo experiments with and expands their signature ‘80s-inspired sound; not content to sit on their laurels, they’ve crafted an engrossing sonic journey that will be as impactful to fans of synth-driven soundscapes as to dedicated fans of the show. “The First I Love You” is dreamy and moving, with sweeping melodies and soundscapes. “Rats” is techno-influenced and hypnotic, an ominous banger descending into the darkness. “Tammy” is delicate and yearning, a moment of quiet before the threatening beats of “Mirkwood” kick in. On this one, it’s all killer, no filler. The album clocks in at a lengthy 82 minutes — yet once the final song fades out, you’ll be more than likely to go right back and cue the whole shebang up from track 1.

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Yesterday [OST] (CD)

The soundtrack for Yesterday serves up Himesh Patel's versions of Beatles classics like “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude,” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” performed by his character Jack Malik, who is the only person on Earth (in the film) who knows The Beatles. Fans of the movie will enjoy these reverent covers, as well as anyone who fantasizes about being the lone representative of their favorite band. Patel's enthusiasm shines through and makes the album a solid companion to this high-concept film.

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Toy Story 4 [OST] (CD)

The fourth Randy Newman soundtrack for the Toy Story films features two new songs, the jazzy, catchy “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” sung by Chris Stapleton. The latter is a pleasant vintage country number better suited to Stapleton's voice than Newman's. The composer's score includes the familiar themes from the previous movies, but incorporates new ones - for example for new character Forky, whose theme is lilting and playful in a Looney Tunes manner (“Trashcan Chronicles”).

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Rocketman [OST] (CD)

The multi-talented Taron Egerton who portrayed Elton John in Rocketman duets with the artist himself on the foot-stomping new tune “(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again” on the film's soundtrack. But the classic songs Egerton makes his own, guided by producer Giles Martin and given full freedom by John. With multiple cast members singing parts on certain tracks, edgier songs like “I Want Love” take on a different feel and lean more towards Broadway numbers. Egerton's voice is naturally smoother than the legendary artist's, but he works at bringing on the grit and captures the emotion.

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The Lion King (2019) [OST] (CD)

The 2019 Lion King remake comes with a reworked soundtrack, including the beloved classic songs performed by the new film's stars Beyonce, Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) and more. This version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is lush and sweet, truly benefiting from Beyonce's flexible range. JD McCrary's slick and light vocals work well as the young Simba's joyful “I Just Can't Wait To Be King” and Billy Eichner – a treat as Timon in the movie - is infectious on “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” with Seth Rogen.

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Avengers: Endgame [OST] (CD)

Alan Silvestri's heroic scores for the Avengers films have always heightened the drama of these action-packed stories, but for the conclusion, the composer brings in a new level of compelling emotion. He uses heartbreaking strings and gloomy brass to convey sorrow very effectively on pieces like “Totally Fine,” while still breaking out the big guns for striking action pieces such as “Worth It” and “Get This Thing Started.” The unabashedly epic “Portals” is a true highlight of the score with its booming drums and soaring orchestral layers. This is the stuff that gives you goosebumps in the theater!

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