on 3 August 2013
Leaving the film aside (although in my opinion it's a masterpiece), this soundtrack really hits some brilliant places. Dark, booming drum sounds, Thai karaoke, synth, this is a brooding soundtrack that ends up being oddly soothing- as you listen to it, you find yourself becoming more and more accustomed to the grooves and subtleties in the music that it becomes relaxing and incredibly engrossing.
Highlights include the first and final tracks, Sister Part 01, and Chang Vision, but saying that seems quite trite when really the whole album demands a listen. Say what you will of the film- the soundtrack alone is an astounding achievement. The best since last years Dredd, and a whole lot more beautiful and moving than that one.
on 9 March 2014
I recently saw "Only God Forgives" and made a mental note to myself to check out the soundtrack, as it plays prominently in the movie. The soundtrack is scored by Cliff Martinez, yes, the ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer from the 1980s. Since leaving the Peppers, Martinez has gradually become a big name in the movie soundtrack industry with his electronic music.
"Only God Forgives: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (17 tracks; 57 min.) starts off with the brief (less than 1 min.) title track, with a sound reminiscent of a horror movie (check out the threatening horns), After that, we are immediately immersed in the dark and bleak soundscape that forms around the action taking place in Thailand, where the movie is set. Mostly electronic, but with lots of additional orchestration, check out "Chang Vision" for a great example as to the overall mood of this soundtrack. Karaoke plays an important part in the movie, and hence we get three of those songs, all original Thai songs (arranged by Martinez). It all leads to the seminal track, "Wanna Fight", which bursts out with a fantastic synthesizer sound, reminding me immediately of Philip Glass' electronic work, just beautiful. In all, this is quite the soundtrack. No, it's not for anyone in a hurry, that's for sure. It is one giant mood piece, and one of the best aspects of the so-so movie.
This is the second time that Martinez and director Nicolas Winding Rein (and lead actor Ryan Gosling) have cooperated, the first time being in the equally stylish and visually impressive "Drive" a few years back. In one of the DVD bonus features of "Only God Forgives", there is a very insightful interview with Martinez on how he constructed this soundtrack, which plays a pivotal role in the movie, given the little dialogue there is overall. "Only God Forgives" as a movie may be so-so (although still worth checking out), but the soundtrack is nothing short of fantastic, and a must-have for any fan of Cliff Martinez. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!