This Week’s Best Albums: December 18, 2012

This Week's Best Albums: December 18, 2012

Each week, editor-in-chief Chris Force and music editor Scott Morrow choose ALARM’s favorite new releases for This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic set of reviews presenting exceptional music.

V/A: Django Unchained OST (Universal Republic)

Rick Ross: "100 Black Coffins" (clean)

As a long-time fan of Old West films and their epic, Italian-made soundtracks, Quentin Tarantino was a shoe-in to put his spin on the genre. He finally does just that with the film and musical accompaniment for Django Unchained, a "Southern" drama that features Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who seeks revenge.

Inspired by the original 1966 Django as well as the 1975 slave-fighting film Mandingo, Unchained (like most Tarantino soundtracks) deftly reuses classics of film scores past, including Luis Bacalov’s original Django theme, a handful of Ennio Morricone cuts, and an oldie from Jim Croce. But in a Tarantino first, it also intersperses originals from Rick Ross, John Legend, and Anthony Hamilton, as well as a James Brown and 2Pac mash-up, mixing hip-hop and R&B vibes into an otherwise homage-based collection. Ross's "100 Black Coffins," with its own epic Western vibe, is the soundtrack's bad-ass rap single, declaring that the protagonist needs "a hundred black coffins for a hundred bad men."

Like Tarantino's Kill Bill soundtracks, which incorporated Italian Western tunes in a modern samurai setting, the tracks on Django Unchained are a well-selected mix of classic and contemporary. The flow from track to track can be a bit awkward — after all, they're meant to be heard in their respective scenes — but there's little doubt that Tarantino has prepared another cinematic journey through sound.

- Scott Morrow