Various artists, “Promising Young Woman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (Capitol Records)
The “Promising Young Woman” soundtrack will not play with your emotions. Instead, it will straight up kick you in the gut with a dark playlist to let you know this is not a comfortable ride. The protagonist’s secret life and inner torment are laid bare either in the gothic, grunge sounds or in the disturbing lyrics about male violence.
The 16 tracks split into four categories: two previously unreleased songs, six released, four covers and four written with the film in mind. New artist Cyn’s two songs fall in the latter category: “Drinks” is a casual electropop tune that was released in April when the film was first supposed to come out and “Uh-Oh” is a horror grunge track that is part-playful, part-warning. FLETCHER’s “Last Laugh” rides high on a buzzy R&B tune mixed with party pop, while DeathbyRomy’s “Come and Play with Me” delivers industrial, danger zone-level rock. Previously unreleased tracks “Nihilist” by MUNA and “Ur Eyes” by BLESSUS come as two sides of the same dreamy coin — the former in ambient warm pop and the latter a colder, mechanical iteration.
Charli XCX makes an appearance with the DROELOE remix of her playful bop “Boys” and Sky Ferreira commands the airwaves with her trip-pop sound and sinister lyrics in “Downhill Lullaby.”
But the most impactful tracks are — surprise of surprises — Paris Hilton’s 2006 attempt at music stardom with “Stars Are Blind,” which lightens the mood with its reggae, easygoing flow, and Anthony Willis’ reworking of Britney Spears’ Grammy-winning hit “Toxic,” in his hands a foreboding violin-heavy arrangement that will send shivers down spines.
The “Promising Young Woman” soundtrack’s impactful aura exceeds its promise all the way to accomplished.