Birds, Cats and Stallions
If there’s one thing to be said about the Birds of Prey soundtrack album, it is that it is chock full of energy. Artist after artist brings their all in what ultimately results in a myriad of invigorated performances. Birds of Prey: The Album, composed of a wide variety of female artists, comes as the soundtrack partner to the recently released Warner Brother’s film by the same name. While obviously struggling through the same general turmoil of commercialized production that any soundtrack album will inevitably deal with, it is a decent showing of each involved artist’s personal style and approach to the thematic concepts of empowerment and chaos. That being said, there are a few major hang-ups within this album that just cannot go unnoticed.
This album is very much in the theme of powerful female figures. Nearly every song is modeled off this general theme. However, unfortunately for the message, the content itself is often utterly lacking in depth. Despite extremely high production values, choruses are often undeniably cliché, rock themes are heavily overplayed and single-line repetition is at an all-time high. And yet—this album ultimately shifts between stages of palatability.
The album itself opens rather robustly with a number of hard-nosed tracks from stand-out artists such as the much loved Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion, meant to titillate and excite new audiences and their previously existing fans. The middle of the album seems to be a bit empty, with no tracks of worthy mention jumping out as hits nor outliers. Each song is nearly a full departure from its predecessor; however, the latter half of the album tends to cool down a bit, likely reflecting the post-climax tone of the film itself.
Insomuch as this, it is not until just prior to the album’s conclusion that tracks such as Summer Walker’s “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby” and Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s rendition of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” provide a breath of fresh air to listeners, as more authenticity is returned to the lyrical content—rather than what can, at times, feel like overproduced pop lines written merely for a check. These specific tracks work to expand the rooted and foundational genre-based elements within this album but do so in a way that respects the trajectory and arc within this album relative to the film. Through the incorporation of this album’s more practiced elements, the ultimate result elevates this album to something that will undoubtedly be enjoyed by many.