The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no stranger to some of the best quality, well, everything. They’ve employed house name directors, actors, and (as of recently) musical artists and producers. Back in the day, we wouldn’t get anything more than a film score. Now, not only do we have access to film scores, but we also have soundtracks inspired by the film itself.
The first time we saw this in the MCU was for Black Panther. Close your eyes and take a second to reminisce. Remember the feeling you had in 2018 after leaving the theater? In most cases, waiting for all the credits to roll through after a Marvel Studios film is a chore. But after Black Panther, the credits were met with “All the Stars,” by Kendrick Lamar (featuring SZA). Lamar’s film soundtrack served as the perfect accompaniment to the film, and has since set a very pleasant precedent for future MCU projects.
Following on the heels of Lamar’s film soundtrack, we saw another Marvel film follow suit. The joint venture between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, gave us the perfect track list that managed to seamlessly paint a portrait of what the vibe of the animated film was about. We saw a nearly 3 year lull in this style of soundtrack production, but in 2021 we were given the same treatment in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, with an album produced by 88Rising.
I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Well, Guardians of the Galaxy has a killer soundtrack. What about that?” While Guardians of the Galaxy is well-known for its rock opera style soundtrack, it’s distinctly different from projects like Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel use tracks from yesteryear. Those tracks were not produced exclusively for the film.
What’s interesting is that the Marvel Studios projects with the best albums are the ones that involve people of color. An exception to the exclusivity rule is the recent Disney+ series, Moon Knight. The series showcased a genre of music that is not usually highlighted in Western media — Arab music. No, I’m not talking about a stereotypical Arab instrumental straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. I’m talking about what seem like karaoke classics to Arab trap music. If you’re someone who’s deep in the music scene, it’s no surprise to you that Arab music has long since had bangers.
Get into the playlist below, or find it here.
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Photo via Sony