Coming to America 2 (Def Jam records)

Coming to America 2 (Def Jam records)

It has long been my dream to be the person in charge of creating soundtracks for films and TV shows.  I don’t even know what that job title is, musical director, perhaps? I’m not even sure if the job exists in an official capacity but if it did, it would 100% be my “dream job.”  That’s all I actually want to do, pick songs out for moments and occasions and I’m positive that I’m not alone in this, others who like/need to be in control of a playlist at a party can relate.

With that in mind, it’s essential that, when conducting a review of a soundtrack, you acknowledge it’s not necessarily about liking the song, it’s about the song being right for moments in the film but the bar has to be whether you would listen to the music when participating in any other activity than watching the film.

Soundtracks present an expectation of its cinematic accompaniment, and for Coming to America 2, most of the songs fall into the genres of RnB, Afrobeat, dancehall, reggaeton, rap and hip hop.  The majority of the tracks are upbeat which is expected of a comedy film.  The album begins with the song ‘Gett Off‘ a collaboration between Teyanna Taylor, Jermaine Fowler and Brandon Rogers, it’s modern RnB with a cacophony of tribal drums that sets the scene for the pervading themes of the film.  As a stand-alone track, it doesn’t hold up to frequent listening and is a little undermined by the track that follows it – ‘I’m a King‘, which is a super catchy pop-rap/dancehall effort by Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion.

The next four tracks are all pretty strong and would definitely suit playlists designed for summer BBQs/crusing etc.  There’s Beau Young Prince, Tiwa Savage with another super catchy, hip-shaking, afrobeat track ‘Koroba‘, and YG & Big Sean with bass-heavy anthem ‘Go big’.  And my personal favourite song off the album, ‘Smash the Crowd‘ -a collaboration between Public Enemy, Ice T and PMD that still sounds as good as the hip hop coming from the East Coast in the eighties and nineties.  Because if you’re going to set a film in New York then it’s basically sacrilege not to feature a band who so utterly encapsulates the sound of the city like Public Enemy do.

Following this first half of the soundtrack, the rest of the songs are all a tad “meh”.  No doubt, they work for the purpose of the film but they wouldn’t find themselves making their way into a regular listening rotation.  Some of the songs have been specially customised for the film, including a track by sixties RnB/Gospel songstress Gladys Knight, it’s no longer the ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ but the ‘Midnight Train from Zamunda’.

There’s a mash-up of ‘We are Family’ between legendary hip hop icons, Salt N Peppa and En Vogue which is fun but more for the film than for general listening and a finale track featuring John Legend, Burna Boy and Nile Rodgers called ‘Coming to America‘ that presumably plays over the film’s credit roll.

With the idea in mind of there being any tracks that I would actually listen to whilst doing any other activity than watching the film, overall, that’s just under less than half the songs on here for me.  However, the five songs that do stand up to outside listening are absurdly catchy and even though I haven’t seen the film yet, the soundtrack as whole does seem as though it serves to represent the classic, family-friendly, feel-good comedy Eddie Murphy has come to be known for.

It might not exactly rock your world like the Sorry to Bother You soundtrack (because not everyone can be Boots Riley right?) but there are definitely worse things that you could be listening to, especially if you find yourself in need of a bit of cheering up.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.