Album Cover
Various Artists
Kill Bill, Vol. 2 [Soundtrack]
April 15, 2004


Soundtracks are tricky 'lil devils. They can enrich the cinematic experience or contribute to its downfall. Many consist of the latest pop-trash hits and cheesy synth orchestrated moments for the "touching" scenes, so it's no surprise that soundtracks are often forgotten and/or neglected. On the other hand, sometimes they're subdued, which leave the subject pondering over the emotional response the music evoked.

Sequels are equally devious creatures. If an original movie is kick-ass, the audience expects similar quality in any following movies to come. Unfortunately, we know how seldom the roman numeral II lives up to set standards. Kill Bill Vol. 1 was deemed a critical and monetary success, with a lauded soundtrack to match. So, you can see what Vol. 2's soundtrack was up against.

But, c'mon, we're talking about Quentin here! With his track record, you know you're in for an interesting ride. His soundtracks consist of a mixture of dialogue tracks, scored music, and an eclectic mix of songs. Kill Bill Vol. 2's soundtrack doesn’t deviate from this set-up, and although there are several musical highlights, its end result is somewhat disappointing.

The movie opens with The Bride's monologue with ominous music playing in the background. By the time savage yells are soaring in the background, we all wanna see some bloodshed. "I roared. And I rampaged. And I got bloody satisfaction." Yeah, so did we. Need convincing? Suit yourself: Kill Bill, Vol. 2 Movie Trailer.

This opener combines a dialogue tract ("A Few Words from the Bride") and "A Silhouette of Doom," one of three tracks selected from composer Ennio Morricone's large repertoire of scored films. Morricone's music is synonymous with spaghetti westerns, which is an appropriate atmospheric mood for this desert-tinged movie with an ultimate showdown.

RZA, a founding member and main producer of the Wu-Tang Clan, played an integral part in the Kill Bill Vol. 1 soundtrack. However, the only mention The RZA gets in Volume 2 is a nod in the movie credits as co-producer, and a hidden track on the soundtrack entitled "Black Mamba," performed by Wu-Tang. As with Busta Rhymes' "Grinch 2000," was the song's creation necessary? Nah, not really.

There are two tracks that are *gasp* Top-40 friendly: Shivaree's "Goodnight Moon" and Malcolm Laren's "About Her". They are simultaneously entertaining and frustrating. The vocalist in Shivaree pouts her way through lyrics like "What should I do/I'm just a little baby," although her sinister whispering later in the song makes up for it: "When the dark comes here…/And into bed where it kisses my face and eats my hand." In "About Her," Laren revamps The Zombies' "She’s Not There" with a vocal sampling from the 1920's. Cool concept, right? What killed me is that the song builds to a crescendo and drops off before the endorphin-inducing chorus. Quick fix is: find a copy of the original Zombies' song and listen to the "Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked/The way she'd act and the color of her hair" tune you know so well a few times, and your withdrawal symptoms will abate.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 didn't need much contemplation. It was all about killing! Gore! More gore! Anime! And the killing! Flying limbs everywhere and the music to match. Vol. 2 gets down to business and introduces longer silences and mounting tension that its predecessor lacks. Kiddo has a mission and there simply aren't as many people in her way to kill.

When I talk to friends about this soundtrack, they are quite aware of the music's interaction with the movie, and how it affects the viewer. If the viewer simply listens to the album without relating to the movie, then the task is fruitless. After all, comparing a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack with any other is as futile as comparing a Hattori Hanzo masterpiece with all other swords in creation. And, in order to do so, you need to have the movie in the background to truly appreciate the selection of music. The soundtrack alone, however, doesn’t blend very well from one track to track, and the beauty of one song is sometimes obscured by head-scratching at the next. In the end, you will appreciate-perhaps thoroughly enjoy-several songs from Kill Bill Vol. 2, but you’ll want your money back if you’re expecting to enjoy this album as a whole.

Jessica Mattila

Track List

  1. A Few Words From the Bride – Uma Thurman
  2. Goodnight Moon – Shivaree
  3. Il Tramonto – Ennio Morricone
  4. Can’t Hardly Stand It – Charlie Feathers
  5. Tu Mirá (edit) – Lole y Manuel
  6. Motorcycle Circus – Luis Bacalov
  7. The Chase – Alan Reeves, Phil Steele and Philip Brigham
  8. The Legend of Pai Mei – David Carradine and Uma Thurman
  9. L’Arena – Ennio Morricone
  10. A Satisfied Mind – Johnny Cash
  11. A Silhouette of Doom – Ennio Morricone
  12. About Her – Malcolm McLaren
  13. Truly and Utterly – Bill David Carradine and Uma Thurman
  14. Malaguena – Salerosa Chingon
  15. Urami Bushi – Meiko Kaji