More than most Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, Inglourious Basterds is about the movie, not the album, standing as a companion to the film instead of as its own entity. Ever the iconoclast, Tarantino hardly feels beholden to his film's WWII setting, threading in Billy Preston's blaxploitation funk "Slaughter" and David Bowie's new wave "Cat People" between Jacques Loussier, Lalo Schifrin, and a heavy dose of Ennio Morricone, who contributes four of the album's 14 tracks. Of course, Schifrin and Morricone aren't exactly period-correct to WWII either, but one of the major thrusts of Tarantino's film is that it's a movie about World War II movies, so blurring the lines is logical and consistent with his body of work. This also applies to the soundtrack, which has the same kind of genre-bending eclecticism as any of his other films (all it lacks is excerpts of the film's dialogue), but even if it is in the same spirit, it doesn't have the feel because these selections, as a whole, require familiarity with the film in order to sound cohesive (a problem also shared with the soundtrack to Kill Bill, Vol. 2). That said, every cut here is interesting, sometimes wonderful -- the Morricone is vivid, as are the obscure soundtrack selections from Charles Bernstein and the Film Studio Orchestra -- and once you've dialed into QT's wavelength, this soundtrack does provide plenty of pleasure.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine