REVIEW: 'Spring Breakers' soundtrack, with Skrillex as star, proves a mesmerizing mix

Published March 19 2013
Updated March 19 2013


Times Pop Music Critic

As a movie, Spring Breakers is a brash, irresponsible — and darkly fun — fantasy, a neon-kissed postcard from St. Pete-as-Sodom. And yet, for all of its blaring moments, Harmony Korine's film is filled with just as many quiet ones, as four young women, and the wannabe drug kingpin who loves 'em, partake of smoky sins and contemplate where they might fit in this unreal universe.

As a result of the dreamlike images onscreen, the strongest moments on Spring Breakers' highly mesmerizing soundtrack belong not only to white-hot turntablist Skrillex (a guy whose job is to get kids grinding) but also to his calmer cohort, Cliff Martinez. A former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Martinez has composed a technotic update of Tangerine Dream's epic Risky Business score, all synth burbles and deep, troubling pulses.

These are the days of such hot instrumental acts as Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You, and Martinez's music is very much in the same emotionally rich, melodic vein. The soundtrack album should prove to be an underground hit. Twisted irony? Martinez's chilly songs (particularly the cuts Pretend It's a Video Game and You're Friends Ain't Gonna Leave With You) would make for great college studying music — which we see none of during the flick.

As for college partying music, well, the 19-track album has plenty of that too. The slamtastic opener is Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, Skrillex's slurred EDM banger that accompanies a lurid beach scene — what MTV would look like if program-directed by Larry Flynt. (To his credit, Skrillex also delivers a somber beauty called Ride Home, in which a highly distorted vocal offers otherwordly charms.)

Seeing as how the film's second half is more of a hardcore rap fantasy than a randy, beachy one, hardcore hip-hop dots the soundtrack, siren wails by Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross and Gucci Mane, the latter of whom plays the flick's menacing heavy.

And then, of course, there's the utterly ridiculous and just as irresistible Hangin' With da Dopeboys, a chanty duet 'tween local MC Dangeruss and actor James Franco, who plays rapper-dealer antihero Alien. Much like the movie, the song crassly celebrates sinister comforts. And yet there's something to be enjoyed here, especially if you hail from the 727 and can't help but feel — despite all the vice, vixens — a lil' hometown pride kicking in.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.