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Ocean's 8 Soundtrack

Music Review: Daniel Pemberton – ‘Ocean’s 8’ (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Ocean’s 8 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is an eclectic, high energy score by British composer Daniel Pemberton (Molly’s Game, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Steve Jobs) that matches the high style and high stakes in this heist film. This digital version of the soundtrack contains 24 quality tracks that match other songs from the film, including “Gold on the Ceiling” by The Black Keys.

Ocean’s 8 continues the quality film series thanks to expert filmmaking and a stellar cast. Sandra Bullock headlines as Debbie Ocean, expert con artist and estranged sister of Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh’s previous Ocean’s film trilogy, which was inspired by the 1960 Ocean’s 11 movie starring the “Brat Pack.” Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rihanna, James Corden, and Dakota Fanning also star in this satisfying film.

(Note: I saw the movie before reviewing this score. Also, some of the track titles noted below might act as spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it soon.)

Pemberton’s instrumentation lessens the electronic tones, though they are still there along with swing, big band and jazz. He creates a nice grand event atmosphere with the epic arrangements and various interludes.

The first substantial track (second overall) is “NYC Larceny.” It has a great nostalgic feel with powerful strings, horns, and percussion. This enjoyable music is vital part of every scene and is not regulated to a background-only role. It sets the tone for specific scenes and gives characters a unique attitude or approach. It’s an incredibly memorable track and a lot of fun to listen to.

The fast-paced fun continues with “We Are Going to Rob It,” where the horns combine well with synthesized instrumentation. “Taking Out the Trash” has a lot of class and attitude with steady movements, and then “Nine-Ball” begins the character-specific themes with almost four minutes of fun keyboards. ”Deborah Ocean” equals her character’s talent and confident attitude. It has a bold, proud beat as the keyboards work back and forth with the percussion to create satisfying syncopation as well as driving beats.

“Okell Bongos ‘63” obviously feature percussion as the focused keyboards carry this quick track into the guitar-driven “Seven Van Plan,” which features complex keyboard parts and intermittent percussion. Strings and woodwinds take over on “Hacking the Met,” which contains impressive nostalgic touches.

The 10th track “Fugue in D Minor” is a definite highlight and even gets a reprise later in the soundtrack. This highly enjoyable work is based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous organ music. It’s not as dramatic (or scary) as the original but still satisfies on a high level, as the organ and percussion provide the baseline instrumentation.

“Brooklyn Necklace” features some impressive sustained horns, and the syncopation on “Diamonds and Magnets” adds some variety. Another character themed set follows with “The Investigator” and “The Spy.” These simple concept tracks match perfectly and are great examples of Pemberton’s impressive versatility.

This soundtrack winds down strong with “Sloppy Soup Samba,” which features fun percussion, keyboards, and horns. Then listeners get four final tracks, three of which are over four minutes long. “Game On!” features a great drum solo and is one of the most fun tracks. “The Actual Heist” features ’50s/’60s keyboards and infectious percussion.

The last song, “Moog Necklace,” is another definite highlight and showcases Pemberton’s deft use of electronic instrumentation that blends and enhances the orchestral instruments. Great jazz overtones, stress-easing bass and even chime percussion pleasantly surprise.

Recorded and mixed in New York City (where the film is set), Daniel Pemberton’s Oceans 8 soundtrack (out now on the WaterTower Music label) comes highly recommended (3.5 stars out of four). It is also available in iTunes.

Track List:

1. “5 Years, 8 Months and 12 Days”
2. “NYC Larceny”
3. “We are Going to Rob It”
4. “Taking Out the Trash”
5. “Nine-Ball”
6. “Deborah Ocean”
7. “Okell Bongos ’63”
8. “Seven Van Plan”
9. “Hacking the Met”
10. “Fugue in D Minor”
11. “Brooklyn Necklace”
12. “The Gala Plan”
13. “Diamonds and Magnets”
14. “The Investigator”
15. “The Spy”
16. “In Vogue”
17. “CCTV Blindspot”
18. “Sealing the Exits”
19. “Four Old Ladies”
20. “Sloppy Soup Samba”
21. “Game On!”
22. “Fugue in D Minor (Reprise)”
23. “The Actual Heist”
24. “Moog Necklace”

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