Like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights before it, American Hustle's music celebrates the epic feel of '70s pop, rock, and disco and uses it to give its story extra heft. David O. Russell's tale of con men, Feds, and the mob has a lighter touch than either of those two movies, however, and this is reflected in the soundtrack's song choices. More than a few of these tracks are by Electric Light Orchestra as well as Jeff Lynne on his own, and the whimsical yet driving sound of "10538 Overture," "Long Black Road," and "Stream of Stars" lends a tongue-in-cheek tone supported by Tom Jones' "Delilah" and Chris Stills' "Live to Live." The album touches on some of the decade's definitive songs (Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Wings' "Live and Let Die," Donna Summer's "I Feel Love") but never sounds like a prepackaged hits-of-the-'70s collection, due in large part to unique choices like Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' gritty version of "Don't Leave Me This Way" and Mayssa Karaa's otherworldly Arabic interpretation of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," which is so striking that it's one of the finest songs on an album packed with big names. A nuanced and playful soundtrack, American Hustle works well as a companion piece to the movie that spawned it and on its own.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares