The soundtrack to Spring Breakers was compiled largely by Cliff Martinez, famed for his work for the Drive soundtrack, and Skrillex himself, the hooded horseman of the dance music apocalypse. As evident in the unlikely pairing of the two, the album, like the film itself, is about extremes, hopping from meditative ambience to the garish and abrasive. It opens with Skrillex’s distinctive anthem, ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’, a song that sounds like the aural equivalent of a Jägerbomb and sets the scene for the rest of the record – that is, a fantastic pastiche of a particular brand of American teen culture.
This ebb and flow of original incidental music interspersed with pre-existing dance and hip-hop songs continues throughout the record, with a Skrillex remix of Birdy Nam Nam’s ‘Goin’ In’ filling in for the EDM whilst Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane provide the hip-hop. A rare occurrence in Flocka’s ‘Fuck This Industry’ sees the rapper sound less like a snare drum than usual, as he trades in his yelling for a softer, more restrained whisper. It goes beyond a novel inclusion of signature party music but shows considered compilation, as Waka Flocka Flame of all people begins to sound introspective.
The penultimate track, which had me guffawing in the cinema as I recognized Martinez’s strings carving out the melody to Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ in the aptly titled ‘Scary Monsters on Strings’. Yet as much as I enjoyed the music whilst watching the film or think that the songs are tastefully chosen, the record on its own isn’t all that enjoyable.
Conceptually, it works. In tandem with the film, it works. Divorced of its context, however, the album loses its humour and its novelty, and the combination of “ambience and abrasive” begins to turn into mere boredom and annoyance.
Download: ‘Fuck This Industry’