Original Soundtrack

For Colored Girls

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The soundtrack to Tyler Perry's adaptation of Ntozake Shange's 1975 Tony-nominated play consists of new and previously unreleased material. Most of the artists -- an impressive mix of distinct personalities, much like the film’s cast -- contribute strong material that benefits from the context; each selection sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack for this particular film. Only Leona Lewis' “I Know Who I Am” sounds empty, as if it was performed for a talent competition. The central inclusion is “Four Women,” even though it’s placed near the end of the sequence. It begins with Nina Simone's 1966 recording; after a minute, it gives way (almost seamlessly) to a new version featuring the original verses delivered by Izibor, Ledisi, and Simone’s daughter (named Simone). It could have been a train wreck, but it is pulled off to startling effect, with each vocalist bringing a new emphasis to the stereotypes illustrated in Simone’s composition. The disc should be considered another valued outgrowth of Shange’s work: a deeply resonating cultural touchstone, whether first encountered via the play, book, television film, or Perry’s theatrical film. All due credit to Perry for not doing something like enlisting Michael Bublé to cover “Isn’t She Lovely.”

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