Album Review: Sucker Punch Soundtrack

Now in theaters is Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, an action flick about a girl who tries to change her grim reality by escaping into the fantasy-world of dreams. As one could imagine, the Sucker Punch soundtrack parallels the film’s plot quite nicely, delivering tracks of hard-hitting, guitar-swirling numbers mixed with sensitive, delicate ballads- all with a feminine touch.

Interestingly, all tracks featured are cover songs, and cast members contribute vocals to three of the nine songs.

The album appropriately opens up with actress Emily Browning covering the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Here, her atmospheric vocals taunt us as the music steadily crescendos, her voice channeling a mix of Angie Hart (Frente!) and Juanita Stein (Howling Bells.) She also delivers on “Asleep” (The Smiths,) a beautiful cover that thankfully doesn’t stray too far from the original. (She also contributes to a Pixies cover, as noted below.)

Other highlights can be found within the Sucker Punch remix of Bjork’s “Army of Me,” (featuring Skunk Anansie,) as well as Skunk Anansie’s cover of The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy”; I can’t imagine any female vocalist other than Skin doing this latter song raw justice.

This soundtrack doesn’t go without complaints, however, and this should be expected with any cover album.

Considering the film’s plot of reality and fantasy blurring together, I was surprised the director didn’t choose a cover of “Where is My Mind?” (The Pixies) that reflected, at minimum, the original, alternative elements of the song vs. that of a pop song. The second half of Yoav’s featured cover is tolerable, but the first three minutes turn the song into a laughable lullaby, probably due to Browning’s contributing vocals, which personally are too fragile for this song.

Actors Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac contribute “Love is the Drug,” (Roxy Music) which some may enjoy, although perhaps only if they haven’t heard the original.

Emiliana Torrini’s “White Rabbit” (Jefferson Airplane) and Carla Azar’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” (The Beatles) seem essential staples on a soundtrack for a movie that’s been called “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” Still, the covers are mediocre at best.

Overall, it seems the success of this soundtrack depends on whether its musical audience is familiar with the classic rock/alternative originals, or if the film’s audience is better able to appreciate these songs when put in the movie’s context.

Director Zack Snyder combined forces with composer Tyler Bates and composer/music director Marius de Vries to compile this record.