It is always difficult to go forth and give a review to a soundtrack that I haven’t seen the movie for. However, “Babel”’s soundtrack is masterful in having listeners understand what exactly is going on during that specific track. However, there is enough variation in the disc’s 37 tracks that individuals will be able to glean a great deal of detail from each of the compositions.
The movie has a considerable length to it (142 minutes), but the compositions laid down by Santaolalla do not show any weaknesses or ruts that ey falls into. There are not the type of tracks present on this disc that could conceivably make it onto popular radio or even NPR, but they are intended to be mulled over like a fine wine. Few soundtracks make it into the two CD range, but “Babel” is expansive and works confidently through this expansiveness. Without seeing either of the previous two movies that Inarritu did in this trilogy (Amores Perros and 21 Grams), one has to wonder how the music present in these first two movies evolved to create the music that is present throughout the movie. The music may age, but this is not so specifically rooted in the styles and approaches in the current period that individuals will not be able to listen to this album objectively come 2026 or so. The purchase of this album along with the actual DVD of Babel when the latter comes out will be quite a decent present for anyone that liked the film or the music in the film. The box office receipts for the movie may be a slight bit on the low side, but this is in no way tied to the output of Santaolalla.
“Babel” is the perfect album to stick into a changer and just zone out to for a decent length of time, either doing other things or focusing in to understand the nuanced creations of Santaolalla. Keep your eyes open for more soundtracks from this musician, as the compositions present here are enough to keep individuals interested even if they have not seen any segment of the movie in which the composition originally was located. “Babel” is one of those movie soundtracks like “Home of the Brave” that could be taken as its own album. Hopefully these two discs will urge composers onward, so that all albums will be this way in the future.
Top Tracks: Hiding It, Masterpiece
OST: Babel / 2006 Concord / 36 Tracks / http://www.paramountvantage.com/babel / http://www.concordmusicgroup.com / Reviewed 03 January 2006