“Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is nothing if not a thrilling ride. Newly single after The Joker dumped her, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) sets out on her own to find a new identity, rather than forever be seen as someone’s girlfriend.
The story is, as the title suggests, one of emancipation. Not just for Harley Quinn, but for the other females in the story.
Like the film, the “Birds of Prey” soundtrack is one incredible needle drop after incredible needle drop, bursting with the energy, freedom and sometimes chaotic sounds reflected in what’s on screen. The soundtrack, released on Atlantic Records as part of the label’s partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures, is a blend of colorful covers and original songs.
Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch” leads the album with the declaratory “I’m a bitch and a boss and I shine like gloss” — the contagious hook demonstrating her bad-ass determination.
“Diamonds” is the hotly anticipated Megan Thee Stallion and Normani collaboration that samples Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” With lyrics like, “And I ain’t never need him so it’s so easy to leave him / And I be doing me I ain’t never tryin’ to please him,” the singers riff off each other.
The girl power theme continues with the Saweetie and Galaxara’s “Sway With Me” collaboration, which takes Dean Martin’s 1950s classic and updates it for 2020 turning it into a track punched with ravenous energy.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell performs “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (with Black Canary) in the movie and shows off her incredible vocal skills. In the film, Smollett-Bell plays a singer at Roman Sionis club and our first introduction to the character is her soulful and stirring rendition of the James Brown classic. Indeed, Jussie Smollett’s sister exercises the sort of vocal range that could shatter a martini glass.
Adona’s cover of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” closes out the soundtrack with a killer haunting electric tone. The rhythm is smooth, angelic and ultimately sublime. The chaos and energy toned down as Harley Quinn faces her nemesis once and for all in the movie’s finale.
The album also features contributions from Halsey (“Experiment on Me”) and Charlotte Lawrence (“Joke’s on You”), the latter referencing Harley Quinn taking control of her life as the protagonist sings: “Drag me to death, like a lit cigarette / Took my last breath, like the smoke from my lips / I’ve lied for you and I liked it too.” It’s another anthemic moment of trailblazing independence and individuality.
In the film, the songs as cues pack a mighty punch with hypnotic beats. Independently, the collection is even fiercer.
“Birds of Prey” Tracklist
1. Doja Cat – Boss Bitch
2. WHIPPED CREAM (feat. Baby Goth) – So Thick
3. Megan Thee Stallion & Normani – Diamonds
4. Saweetie & GALXARA – Sway With Me
5. Charlotte Lawrence – Joke’s On You
6. Maisie Peters – Smile
7. CYN – Lonely Gun
8. Halsey – Experiment On Me
9. Jucee Froot – Danger
10. K.Flay – Bad Memory
11. Sofi Tukker – Feeling Good
12. Lauren Jauregui – Invisible Chains
13. Jurnee Smollett-Bell – It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
14. Summer Walker – I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby
15. ADONA – Hit Me With Your Best Shot