With one week until the release of Black Panther, the soundtrack for the movie is now out and one of the songs that features prominently on it is All The Stars, a surprisingly eighties-tinged hip-hop track that speaks to the desire to to try, succeed or fail, and find your own path through the world and make a name for yourself.
A few people may have the feeling that the beginning of the track actually feels like the middle, especially after Lamar’s verse comes in the section that starts the track reappears as the bridge and chorus. To those people…you’re right. Technically the track starts in the intro (Black Panther) of the album with the two distinct movements being separated by a melody and overlay switch. Because of that, this track has the feeling of being short and incomplete, but it also makes it more marketable to a mass audience because the intro is off-kilter and can take a couple of listens to wrap your ears around.
Lamar and SZA sound good here, especailly SZA, who comes with a lot of melody and emotion, bringing out the truth in her vocals in a way that some of her own songs from her album didn’t manage to do. The brighter melody is a good fit for Lamar’s more upper register tenor tone and the upbeat nature of the track overall serves to lift them both out of a easily depressed place had the beat been darker.
The visual for the track is beautiful. It is a good fit for the sound of the song and has some beautiful African imagery that has elements of both Afro-Futurism and Afro-Mysticism along with solid images of realism to keep things grounded. We were expecting a lot more of clips from the movie in this and there are none, but it manages to be enchanting nonetheless.
As for the Black Panther Soundtrack itself, how you feel about this track is going to be indicative of how you feel about the the album as a whole. The sound of the bulk of the project is very experimental, hip-hop mixed with primal and African sounds to make tracks that have a certain amount of thump to them no matter what the pace, but many still come off as somewhat mid-tempo and mellow in places. You can tell that this is as much concept album as it is non-diegetic atmosphere as there are some songs that just feel like they would work better with imagery behind them and some that have no problems standing alone. But as a single unit, the project comes across well and should be heard at least once to say you have experienced it. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but just about everyone will find one song that the like here.
You can purchase or stream the Black Panther Soundtrack from your favorite digital outlet.