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Frank Beddor
Frank Beddor
March 15, 2024

The Wicked Soundtrack is Everything You Want

Cliff Martinez is a luminary in the realm of film composition, renowned for his distinctive and evocative soundscapes that have graced many critically acclaimed films. His work epitomizes innovation and creativity, continually pushing the boundaries of cinematic music. His compositions seamlessly blend electronic elements with traditional orchestration, creating atmospheric and immersive scores that leave an indelible mark on audiences.

Martinez’s collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh has been particularly noteworthy, yielding iconic scores for films such as Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Traffic, Solaris, and Contagion, among others. His ability to capture the essence of a film’s narrative and enhance its emotional impact with music has earned him widespread acclaim and numerous accolades, including several awards and nominations.

"Wicked" composer Cliff Martinez in his studio, working with a guitar, keyboard, and software interface.

His work on Wicked, the twisted psycho thriller starring Julia Stiles in her first lead role, stands as a testament to his ability to craft a score that elevates the atmosphere and intensity of a film. Martinez’s haunting and evocative compositions perfectly complement the dark and twisted narrative, immersing viewers in a world of moral ambiguity and psychological tension. With his trademark blend of electronic and orchestral elements, Martinez creates a sonic landscape that mirrors the inner turmoil and moral decay of the characters, enhancing the film’s suspense and intrigue. His score for Wicked not only heightens the emotional impact of key moments in the movie but also serves as a driving force behind the film’s eerie and foreboding atmosphere, leaving a lasting impression on audiences long after the credits roll.

The soundtrack for Wicked features a wide variety of enthralling and angsty songs from a collection of talented musicians:

“Bad Day” by Juliana Hatfield is a compelling and introspective track that showcases the artist’s ability to blend raw emotion with catchy melodies. The song captivates the audience with its poignant lyrics and infectious guitar hooks. Hatfield’s distinctive vocals convey a sense of vulnerability and frustration as Julia Stiles’ character Ellie grapples with feelings of disillusionment and disappointment. The driving rhythm and dynamic instrumentation underscore the song’s themes of inner turmoil and self-reflection, culminating in a cathartic and memorable musical experience.

“Trippin” by Kittie is a powerful and assertive song that embodies the band’s signature blend of heavy metal and alternative rock. Released on their debut album, Spit, the song immediately grabs listeners’ attention with its intense guitar riffs, thunderous drums, and visceral vocals. Frontwoman Morgan Lander’s commanding delivery adds an extra layer of aggression as she confronts themes of frustration, anger, and defiance. With its blistering energy and uncompromising attitude, “Trippin” serves as an anthem for empowerment and resilience.

“Casualty” by Snake River Conspiracy is a riveting and electrifying track that captivates listeners with its fusion of industrial rock and electronic elements. Released on their debut album, Sonic Jihad, in 2000, the song immediately establishes a dark and intense atmosphere with its pulsating beats, distorted guitars, and haunting synthesizers. Frontwoman Tobey Torres delivers a mesmerizing vocal performance, effortlessly transitioning between sultry whispers and powerful screams, adding depth and emotion to lyrics of disillusionment and defiance. With its infectious energy and thought-provoking lyrics, “Casualty” is a standout in Snake River Conspiracy’s repertoire, showcasing their ability to craft provocative and unforgettable music that pushes the boundaries of conventional rock.

The Cranes, a British alternative rock band, deliver a mesmerizing and ethereal experience with their song “Adoration.” The first single off their 1991 debut album Wings of Joy envelops listeners in a dreamlike soundscape characterized by shimmering guitars, haunting vocals, and atmospheric synths. Alison Shaw’s enchanting voice floats effortlessly over the lush instrumentation, conveying a sense of longing and introspection. With its hypnotic melodies and poetic lyrics, “Adoration” invites listeners into a world of soul-searching emotional depth, leaving a lasting impression with its evocative beauty.

“In the Night,” another standout track by the Cranes, showcases the band’s ability to blend elements of shoegaze and dream pop to create a haunting and immersive sonic experience. Featured on their 1994 album Loved, the song captivates from the opening notes with its swirling guitars and pulsating rhythms. Alison Shaw’s evocative vocals convey a sense of yearning and melancholy, perfectly complementing the track’s reflective lyrics. “In the Night” builds to a crescendo of intensity, pulling listeners deeper into its atmospheric embrace and transfixing them with its emotional resonance.

“Underwater,” the third Cranes’ entry in the Wicked soundtrack, further highlights the band’s talent for crafting atmospheric and emotionally resonant music. With its lush instrumentation and haunting melodies, the song creates a sense of immersion reminiscent of being submerged in a vast and mysterious ocean. “Underwater” transports listeners to a world of introspection and emotional exploration.

“Clown” by Switchblade Symphony is a haunting and evocative track that showcases the band’s unique blend of darkwave, gothic rock, and ethereal wave. Released on their 1995 debut album Serpentine Gallery, the song immediately captivates with its atmospheric synthesizers, driving percussion, and eerie melodies. Lead vocalist Tina Root’s mesmerizing vocals add an extra layer of intensity, as she delivers the song’s enigmatic lyrics with beauty and depth. “Clown” transports listeners to a world of darkness and mystery, where themes of love, loss, and longing intertwine to create a captivating and immersive experience.

“When I Am Queen” and “Rabbiteen” are signature tracks from Jack Off Jill‘s repertoire, known for their provocative lyrics and distinctive blend of punk, industrial, and gothic rock. “When I Am Queen,” featured on their 2000 album Clear Hearts Grey Flowers, unleashes a torrent of raw emotion and biting commentary. Lead vocalist Jessicka delivers powerful and defiant vocals, channeling themes of empowerment and rebellion against societal norms. The song’s dynamic instrumentation, including driving guitars and pounding drums, creates a sense of urgency and intensity, driving home its message of defiance and independence.

In contrast, “Rabbiteen,” delves into darker and more introspective territory. The track surrounds listeners in a brooding atmosphere, characterized by eerie melodies and haunting vocals. Jessicka’s haunting whispers and soaring cries add to the song’s haunting allure, as it explores themes of identity, isolation, and the struggle for self-acceptance. With its mesmerizing blend of gothic aesthetics and punk energy, “Rabbiteen” stands as a testament to Jack Off Jill’s ability to create music that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant.

Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love” epitomizes timeless elegance and sophistication. Originally written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale, Springfield’s rendition is nothing short of iconic. With her sultry and emotive vocals, she effortlessly captures the essence of longing and desire expressed in David’s poignant lyrics. Backed by Bacharach’s lush orchestration, Springfield’s cover exudes an irresistible charm and allure. Through her interpretation, Springfield transforms the song into a timeless classic that serves as a testament to her unparalleled talent and enduring legacy in the world of music.

“Busy as a Bee,” as performed by Frenchy, is a lively and infectious track that embodies joy and exuberance. Released as part of Frenchy’s repertoire, the song captivates listeners with its upbeat rhythm, catchy melodies, and playful lyrics. Frenchy’s charismatic vocals shine as they deliver the song’s whimsical verses, painting a vivid picture of a bustling and vibrant world. With its irresistible energy and feel-good vibe, “Busy as a Bee” inspires listeners to embrace life’s challenges with a sense of optimism and determination. Whether it’s the driving beat or the infectious chorus, this track is guaranteed to leave a smile on the faces of all who hear it.

“So Com Voce,” by Rob Garza and Eric Hilton (also known as Thievery Corporation), offers a mesmerizing blend of electronic and world music influences that transport listeners to a tranquil and exotic realm. The song captivates with its dreamy atmosphere, lush instrumentation, and hypnotic rhythms. Sung in Portuguese, the vocals add an extra layer of mystique, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in the song’s rich tapestry of sound. Whether it’s the sultry melodies or the intricate production, “So Com Voce” enchants, showcasing the duo’s talent for crafting genre-defying music that transcends boundaries and captivates the imagination.

“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by Thomas A. Dorsey is a timeless gospel classic, offering solace and comfort in times of trouble. Composed following the death of his wife and infant son after childbirth, Dorsey’s heartfelt lyrics and soul-stirring melody resonate with a profound sense of faith and resilience. First recorded by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in 1956, the song has since become an anthem of hope and consolation. With its simple yet powerful message of surrendering to divine guidance and finding strength in faith, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” continues to inspire and uplift generations, cementing its place as one of the most beloved hymns of all time.

“I Honestly Love You,” performed in the film by the brilliant Linda Hart, is a soulful rendition of Olivia Newton-John‘s classic ballad. Released in 1974, the song quickly became an anthem of unrequited love and longing. Pocket Songs’ interpretation retains the emotional depth of the original, with stirring vocals that tug at the heartstrings. Backed by a tender arrangement of piano and strings, the performance captures the bittersweet essence of the lyrics, evoking a sense of vulnerability and yearning. With its timeless melody and heartfelt delivery, “I Honestly Love You” stands as a poignant reminder of the universal experience of love and loss.

Image of The Blue Hawaiians' 1999 album, "Savage Night," featuring a woman's face superimposed on the exterior of a nightclub against the backdrop of a city.

“Second Time Around,” performed by The Blue Hawaiians, is a heartfelt ballad that resonates with themes of redemption and resilience. With its poignant lyrics and emotive melody, the song tells a story of overcoming adversity and embracing the opportunity for a fresh start. Fontana’s soulful vocals convey a sense of vulnerability and hope, drawing listeners into the emotional journey of self-discovery and growth. Whether it’s the gentle strumming of the acoustic guitar or the soaring strings in the background, “Second Time Around” captivates with sincerity and authenticity.

The songs “Bad Day,” “Adoration,” “In the Night,” “Underwater,” “Clown,” “Rabbiteen,” and “When I Am Queen” explore and share the movie’s themes of introspection and emotional turmoil, perfectly embodied by Julia Stiles’ performance. Whether it’s grappling with feelings of frustration and disillusionment (“Bad Day”), expressing devotion and longing (“Adoration”), delving into darker and more introspective territory (“In the Night,” “Underwater”), or confronting societal norms and personal identity (“Clown,” “Rabbiteen,” “When I Am Queen”), each track dives deep into the complexities of the human experience.

These songs vary in musical style and composition, but they share certain sonic elements that contribute to their artistic impact, such as the use of lush instrumentation. Moreover, the lyrical themes explored in these songs, such as introspection, rebellion, and personal identity, resonate with the angst and disillusionment that characterized much of the 90’s alt music scene. Many of these tracks capture that spirit of the 90s with their emotionally charged lyrics and raw, unfiltered sound.

There is an overall sense of intensity, moodiness, and atmosphere in the songs and score used in Wicked. From haunting melodies and brooding instrumentation to evocative vocals and atmospheric soundscapes, each track creates a distinct mood and vibe that draws the audience into the film’s emotional landscape. Whether it’s the ethereal and dreamlike quality of “Adoration,” the raw and gritty energy of “Bad Day,” or the haunting and introspective nature of “Rabbiteen,” these songs exude a sense of depth, complexity, and emotional authenticity that resonates with audiences on a visceral level.

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