Boss Bitch – Doja Cat
So Thick (feat. Baby Goth) – WHIPPED CREAM
Diamonds – Megan Thee Stallion & Normani
Sway With Me – Saweetie & GALXARA
Joke’s on You – Charlotte Lawrence
Smile – Maisie Peters
Lonely Gun – CYN
Experiment on Me – Halsey
Danger – Jucee Froot
Bad Memory – K. Flay
Feeling Good – Sofi Tukker
Invisible Chains – Lauren Jauregui
It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World – Black Canary
I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby – Summer Walker
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – ADONA
Say what you will about Birds Of Prey as a movie, there’s no denying that the female empowering, eclectic soundtrack is one of the highlights of that title. Flaunting down the catwalk with a harmonic blend of genres and ideas, Birds Of Prey’s soundtrack combines hip-hop and indie rock with mainstream pop in a really organic and clever way. If there’s one empowering soundtrack you should check out this year – make sure it’s Birds Of Prey.
Into The Spider-Verse dropped a few years back and that too had a strong soundtrack but unlike Sony’s psychedelic medley of hip-hop, Birds Of Prey boasts a lack of songs you’ll be willing to skip through. Beginning with a synth-driven splash of hip-hop, ‘Boss Bitch’, ‘So Thick’ and ‘Diamonds’ start the album off on the front foot, backed up by a high-pitched, interesting take on Dean Martin’s ‘Sway With Me’. While I personally prefer the original Dean Martin version, the modernised twist on this song, with the female vocals and rapping in place of the traditional male soul does work quite well.
The next couple of songs change the genre and tempo, relying much more on empowering vocals that link directly to the film itself, including ‘Joke’s On You’ (a song sticking the proverbial middle finger up to Joker) and ‘Smile’. These essentially act as a bridge for Indie-Pop tracks, including one of the stand-outs from the album, Halsey’s fast-tempoed ‘Experiment On Me’. ‘Feeling Good’ then moves things toward that sicky sweet taste of mainstream pop (which is admittedly one of the guilty pleasures of the year) and ending with a couple of modernised, female vocal covers of old classics.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for writing off the Birds Of Prey album as another feminist, agenda-driven piece of media taking a dig at how awful men are. The track listing alone, with a stacked list of female-only artists and female vocal renditions to male-sung originals certainly looks that way but the execution of this quickly dispels any idea of this. There’s a fine line between empowering and pandering to women and thankfully the Birds Of Prey album falls in the former.
There are some wonderfully uplifting songs here about standing on your own, getting over a break up and empowering yourself in the face of adversity. Nowhere else is that emphasized more than the final track of the album, ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’, which literally feels like a metaphorical scream to the heavens; taunting the powers that be and asking if that’s all they have. Of course, ‘Invisible Chains’ also does this too, in a far less obvious way, and if there are two songs that stand out and help this album shine, it’s these two.
What’s particularly impressive about Birds Of Prey’s album is just how much thought has been put into this track-listing. The way the soundtrack dips and dives through various genres while keeping a consistent motif surrounding empowerment makes it one of the best soundtracks of the year and one well worth checking out. Unlike the film itself, which flip flops around different narratives in a very haphazard way, the soundtrack is a much more deliberate and concise journey. Because of this, the soundtrack works as both a straight forward listen and also one you can easily chuck on and skip between songs.
White there isn’t anything particularly outstanding or incredible with the songs or lyrics themselves, the musical journey and consistent message throughout are enough to make this a soundtrack well worth a listen, even if you haven’t watched the film. Actually I’d recommend skipping the film completely and listening to this instead. As an example of how to portray female empowerment in an artistic and concise way, Birds Of Prey’s soundtrack soars while the film crashes and burns.
Verdict - 8/10