Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Yesterday [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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A high-concept musical film that dares to insert itself in the legacy of the Beatles, Yesterday concerns struggling singer/songwriter Jack Malik, who awakens from a paranormal event to a world where the Beatles never existed -- except in his own memory. He stumbles into fame, fortune, and ethical and romantic dilemmas by performing their songs. (A good portion of the Yesterday's budget was spent securing rights to no less than 17 Fab Four tunes.) The film's screenplay comes courtesy of Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Love Actually), and Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) directed. Best known prior to Yesterday for his nine years on the English soap EastEnders, lead actor Himesh Patel earned the role with an acoustic cover of a Coldplay song of his choosing ("We Never Change"). Without being told the subject matter at stake, he won over the filmmakers with his balance of simplicity, directness, and making it seem like his song instead of a cover. Patel sang and played all of his tracks live in the studio. The soundtrack recording consists of seven instrumentals by scorer Daniel Pemberton and 20 performances by Patel. One of those songs, "Summer Song," was written by Curtis, Pemberton, and Adem Ilhan as a Jack Malik original, but the rest is all Beatles. With that in mind, the soundtrack unfolds according to reasonable expectation, with warm, competent covers of Beatles classics ranging from their early days ("I Saw Her Standing There") to late-career material ("The Long and Winding Road"), with the pleasant-voiced Patel better suited to the more intimate songs. Where it may deviate from expectation is in heavily reworked arrangements that retain the most memorable song components while (realistically?) forgetting the rest or making due with impressionistic filler as needed -- they don't try too hard to replicate George Martin, or George Harrison's guitar playing, or Ringo's drumming, and The White Album is represented by "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." Standouts include a percussive take on "Here Comes the Sun" and a punk "Help!" A duet version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" features Lily James as romantic interest Ellie. For the most part, Patel and the music department accomplish what they set out to do here, but in a world where the Beatles recordings do exist, nearly an hour of middle-of-the-road Beatles covers is the domain of die-hard Patel fans.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 01:32
2 00:22
3 01:48
4 00:51
5 01:45
6 02:48
7 03:58
8 00:41
9 01:48
10 02:49
11 01:38
12 00:34
13 02:38
14 02:11
15 01:37
16 02:43
17 01:02
18 02:48
19 00:14
20 01:53
21 02:39
22 03:10
23 01:02
24 03:37
25 06:08
26 03:23
27 00:39
blue highlight denotes track pick