OST - Kill Bill Vol. 2
Following on from last year's release of the soundtrack album to part one of Tarantino's Kill Bill and this year's presentation of a BAFTA award, The RZA returns to soundtrack Kill Bill Vol. 2 for QT but, unlike the mix-tape feel of Vol. 1, this is much closer to a traditional soundtrack album.
Then again, the overriding impression of The RZA's soundtrack to Kill Bill Vol. 1 was that it was a laboured attempt to keep within the rules of a QT soundtrack. Mix in classic pop? Obscure pop/funk? Snippets of dialogue from QT's movies? For sure, all that and more, but The RZA always looked to be far from the stereo whilst QT was mixing down the disc and Vol. 1 left little space for The RZA's spooked, scratchy take on hip-hop. Better that you pick up copies of the two Gravediggaz albums or your pick of the early clutch of Wu-Tang albums to get to The RZA than Kill Bill Vol. 1.
In keeping with its predecessor, Vol. 2 gives even less impression of The RZA having even been consulted on the tracklisting bar the addition of The Wu-Tang Clan's Black Mamba as a bonus track, although even this looks to be QT's nod to the hip-hop producer and not an integral part of the album.
Otherwise, Kill Bill Vol. 2 looks to carry out the Eastern feel of Vol. 1, at least momentarily and again at the end with the skewed pop of Shivaree's Goodnight Moon and the Japanese folk of Meiko Kaji's Urami Bushi. Whilst clearly only an impression given from the tracklist, the soundtrack suggests that Kill Bill Vol. 2 begins and ends in Japan but elsewhere, the mix of rockabilly, folk and the spaghetti western sounds of Ennio Morricone suggest that the second film in the Kill Bill story will have a much greater feel of the Americas to it. Be it Morricone's It Tramonto, L'Arena or A Silhouette Of Doom, Kill Bill Vol. 2 has the wide-open feel of the US spread out wide within it, with the military drums, sparse guitar and blues harp that one's come to expect from Morricone's themes for Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy. Running between L'Arena and A Silhouette Of Doom is Johnny Cash's A Satisfied Mind, which adds a down home feel to the run of songs, taking Kill Bill Vol. 2 far away from the frantic pop/soul of Vol. 1.
Of course, given that Vol. 1 failed to come together as the kind of mix-tape QT has in mind for his soundtrack albums, having Vol. 2 as a more typical soundtrack album isn't a disappointment. Yet there's never the feeling that the album comes together as it should, be this as a result of the three Morricone tracks that unbalance the album or, with the rockabilly of Charlie Feathers' Can't Hardly Stand It or Latin funk of Luis Bacalov's Summertime Killer, Kill Bill Vol. 2 feels like outtakes from previous QT soundtracks, notably Kill Bill Vol. 1, although this is obviously not entirely unexpected.
In its favour, Vol. 2 is the better album when compared to Vol. 1 but the shame of this album is that whilst the music is occasionally great and typically very good, it does sound as though Tarantino and The RZA are scribbling down a tracklist that should soundtrack a Tarantino movie, as though such a thing is a fait accompli. Then again, such an accusation was made against Kill Bill Vol. 1 and yet it still came away with a BAFTA award in preference to Kevin Shields' dazzling rock songs from the Lost In Translation soundtrack. Despite the lack of risk, Tarantino's name retains some guarantee of quality, albeit one that shadows The RZA. In film, that ought to be expected but in music, it's unfortunate that the efforts of one of hip-hop's greatest producers should be so diminished.