Ever since Jay-Z sampled Annie for his hit "Hard Knock Life," an updated, hip-hop-influenced version of the classic musical seemed inevitable. The soundtrack for 2014's film adaptation dusts off the musical's 1976 songbook -- which was itself inspired by the sounds of Great Depression-era pop as a nod to its comic strip origins -- in a few ways. Several of Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin's songs get a 21st century makeover, such as the drumlines that pump up "It's a Hard-Knock Life" and the upbeat R&B spin on "I Don't Need Anything But You." Elsewhere, Sia and collaborators including Greg Kurstin and Will Gluck contribute new songs that provide new perspectives on the struggles Annie and the rest of the characters endure to find happiness. "Opportunity" is a showcase for Quvenzhané Wallis, who charmed in Beasts of the Southern Wild and gives us a winning Annie who sounds like a real little girl instead of a Broadway belter; "Who Am I?" allows Jamie Foxx to show off his singing chops as a soul-searching Daddy Warbucks. Cameron Diaz gets a star turn as the shady Miss Hannigan on "Little Girls." While nobody can compare to Carol Burnett's orphanage matron in the 1982 film, the performances by Diaz, Wallis, and Foxx prove that a 21st century Annie can have plenty of its own charms.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares