Music Reviews

Jackie Brown


Warner Bros.

Once again that master blaster Quentin Tarantino goes back into the dim reaches of our cultural collective memory and pulls out tunes to become associated with his film Jackie Brown.

It’s a grand method of madness Tarantino employs, spanning eras and genres of music as if all was one Musik. And so it should be. One’s tastes should be as diverse as to encompass this blend of ’60s pop (The Grass Roots’ “Midnight Confessions”) to ’70s socially-hip funk (Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street”), ’80s streetwise funk pop (Randy Crawford’s “Street Life”) to ’90s hip-hop (Foxy Brown’s “[Holy Matrimony] Letter To The Firm”).

The actors get into the act as well in this insanely wondrous melding of styles and attitudes. For instance, leading lady Pam Grier sounds pretty good belting out “Long Time Woman,” though the song itself is pretty cheesy. The track comes from the soundtrack of Grier’s 1971 blaxploitation film, The Big Dollhouse. But that’s the thing about Tarantino, in soundtracks as elsewhere, he demands to be allowed to use all the brushes – so as to retain the option to use broad strokes when he feels it necessary.

I like the bit of dialogue (there are several on this disc) where Samuel L. Jackson’s character tells the Bridget Fonda character, Melanie, that smoking dope is going to rob her of her ambition. “Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV,” she retorts. Ah, life’s rich pageant.

There are lots of vintage gems here, from Minnie Ripperton’s sensual “Inside My Love” to the Delfonics’ “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind this Time.” When assembled on this soundtrack (even before I’d seen the movie) the entire mix became very affecting. Time warp, anyone?

Even Elliot Easton, former Cars guitarist, clocks in here with a surf-guitar/Ventures type instrumental thing, “Monte Carlo Nights.” It sounds OK too, and if any of you were asking, “Where is that Cars’ guitarist now?” now you know.

It’s nice to see Tarantino working with an Elmore Leonard novel. And to see Quentin still spanning the genres of popular music – the way we should listen all the time.

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