Photo: 2021 Movie Soundtracks
2021 has been full of many movie debuts that we’d been waiting for since the beginning of the pandemic. Whether it be the latest Marvel film or the anticipated Cinderella story with Camilla Cabello, there are so many candidates for best soundtrack this year. Here are our top three favorite soundtracks that deserve all the credit for their beautiful music and compositions.
Favorite 2021 Movie Soundtracks:
Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album
‘Judas and the Black Messiah,’ is the story of William O’Neal, who under a plea deal with the FBI decides to infiltrate the Black Panther Party in Illinois. His job is to gather information on the chairman, Fred Hampton – based on the real-life betrayal of Fred Hampton in the 1970s. A tale of betrayal and violence, the film needed the perfect gritty soundtrack to follow the events of O’Neal as they led to Hampton’s murder.
The soundtrack accomplished this with strong songs from leading rap and R&B artists as well as underground artists whose lack of notoriety in the music world contributed to the mysterious environment of the film.
- “Cointelpro/Dec 4” – Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr.
- “Fight For You” – H.E.R.
- “EPMD” – Nas
- “Welcome To America (feat. C.S. Armstrong & Angela Hunte)” – Black Thought
- “What It Feels Like” – Nipsey Hussle & JAY-Z
- “Broad Day” – Hit-Boy
- “Plead The .45th” – Smino & Saba
- “Somethin’ Ain’t Right (feat. JID & Rapsody)” – Masego
- “Letter 2 U” – BJ the Chicago Kid
- “On Your Mind” – Lil Durk
- “Appraise” – White Dave
- “All Black” – G Herbo
- “I Declare War” – Nardo Wick
- “No Profanity” – Pooh Shiesty
- “Last Man Standing” – Polo G
- “Respect My Mind” – DOM KENNEDY
- “Revolutionary (feat. Bump J)” – G Herbo
- “Teach Me” – SiR
- “Contagious” – SAFE & Kiana Lede
- “Rich N***a Problems” – A$AP Rocky
- “Outro” – Judas and the Black Messiah
- “Black Messiah (Bonus Track)” – Rakim
A$AP Rocky, Polo G, Pooh Shiesty, Lil Durk, Jay Z, Nas, and H.E.R are among the most notable on this list of songs. Their contribution to the rap world has been incomparable, with newer icons like H.E.R and Nas redefining the genre and what classifies as a story worth telling. Their ability to tell an intense and emotional story to match the history of the film’s characters is worth all the credit.
In addition, the use of tracks by Black musicians from the 60s offers the perfect glimpse into the Civil Rights era that unfortunately lies not too far in our past and is the background for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah.’ Trouble lurks around the corner of every song and we can feel it in our bones as the scenes unfold before our eyes and history is made. Whether it be a song about liberation and fighting against oppression or a deep and painful hurt that persists across centuries and eras, the soundtrack is able to achieve a rare level of hierarchy when it comes to tracks that can exist and thrive on their own apart from the movie.
Cruella: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Another beautiful reimagining, this 2021 version of ‘Cruella’ deserved all the hype. With Emma Stone as our Estella, we see the story of the woman who meets and befriends a couple of street thieves who teach her to indulge in the wicked and raucous parts of herself. Stone’s performance is enchanting and fans were pleasantly surprised with the depiction of one of the most favored Disney villains.
The director of the film transported all back to the 1970s streets of London with homages to legendary artists of that time like Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, T.Rex, Queen, and Elton John.
- “Call me Cruella” – Florence + the Machine
- “Bloody Well Right” – Supertramp
- “Whisper Whisper” – Bee Gees
- “Five to One” – The Doors
- “Feeling Good” – Nina Simone
- “Fire” – Ohio Players
- “Whole Lotta Love” – Ike & Tina Turner
- “Livin’ Thing (2012 Version)” – Electric Light Orchestra
- “Stone Cold Crazy (2011 Remaster)” – Queen
- “One Way Or Another” – Blondie
- “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash
- “I Love Paris” – Georgia Gibbs
- “Love Is Like A Violin” – Ken Dodd
- “I Wanna Be Your Dog” – John McCrea
- “Come Together” – Ike & Tina Turner
Emma Thomspon, who played the Baroness recognized the power behind these voices and musical choices, saying, “I love the use of music in this movie. I think that Craig Gillespie, the director, uses music to pull you into the screen.”
The use of punk rock, funk, and soul perfectly complements the raw and unfiltered truth of Cruella’s story and evil demise. Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine, was so excited by the prospect she even asked to be a part of the film and curate a song specifically for Emma Stone’s character.
“Some of the first songs I ever learned how to sing were Disney songs. And the villains often got the best numbers. So to help create and perform a song for Cruella is the fulfillment of a long-held childhood dream.”
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Tom and Jerry
On the other end of the spectrum, ‘Tom and Jerry’ had a fun-loving soundtrack and overall vibe that brightened up all of our 2021 quarantine experiences. In this animation of our favorite cat and mouse duo, Jerry moves to New York where he runs into Tom. Their fighting and games threaten to ruin the wedding, destroy careers, and even New York itself.
With actors like Chloe Grace Moretz, Pallavi Sharda, Colin Jost, and Michael Pena, the movie was sure to be lots of fun and the director did a perfect job of curating a soundtrack to match the frenzied antics of Tom and Jerry.
- “Don’t You Know” – T-Pain
- “Can I Kick It” – A Tribe Called Quest
- “Soft Shoe” – Eric Reed
- “Queso” – Pell
- “Cool Catz” – Bizkit & Butta
- “Don’t Sweat the Technique” – Eric B & Rakim
- “Jungle” – TedLo
- “Come & Talk To Me” – Jodeci
- “Bouncy House” – Flo Rida
- “Free” – Tiggs Da Author
- “Let’s Get Married” – Sukhwinder Singh
- “Something Beautiful” – Jacob Banks
- “Showoff” – Bizkit & Butta
- “Rocket Fuel” – DJ Shadow
- “Good Thing” – Earl St. Clair
- “Cut Em In” – Anderson Paak featuring Rick Ross
With well-known names like Flo Rida and Anderson Paak, whose recent collaboration with Bruno Mars took off, the soundtrack is fun and inviting for audience members of all ages. Composed all by Christopher Lennertz, whether you just listen to the soundtrack or watch the movie to feel the energy and electricity of Tom and Jerry as they race around the New York cityscapes and leave havoc in their wake, you’ll enjoy the vibrancy and diversity of the songs that accompany the pair on their story.
By Mireille Karadanaian
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Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story.