Music is absolutely central to Soul – Pixar’s excellent new feature about a jazz lover and music teacher who falls down a sinkhole while crossing the road and finds himself mentoring an unborn soul in ‘The Great Before’.
It’s no surprise, then, that the beloved animated studio drafted in some top-name talent to score and soundtrack the film, with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross scoring the scenes set in The Great Before and Jon Batiste writing jazz songs for the New York-based sections.
Batiste, who is an acclaimed bandleader, spoke to RadioTimes.com about what he hoped to bring to the film with his music and explained how he hoped his compositions would complement the score provided by Reznor and Ross.
“I wanted to make something that had a really optimistic and melodic sort of feeling so people could hum the songs and sing the songs, and also have these chords that felt like the joy of life and joy of living encapsulated in these harmonies,” he explained.
“And on top of that all that I was thinking of Trent and Atticus and their style of scoring for The Great Before and the Great Beyond and all of the different celestial aspects of the film, and trying to infuse these compositions with that on a subconscious level that kind of continued to evolve and grow.
“Then when the celestial aspect comes across even further, like when Joe gets into a flow state which we call ‘in the zone’ in the film, he’s tapping into that celestial plane so then the music has to shift a little bit more, leaning to that side of things. So that was a spectrum that I created for myself.”
Batiste also revealed that the age range of the band playing his music stretched from 18-year-old to 95-years-old, something which he hopes comes across in the film.
“We had the great Roy Hanks who’s 95 years old,” he said. “He played with Louis Armstrong, he played with Charlie Parker, Charles Menzies, Thelonious Monk. This is one of the last creators of the music left on the planet and his vibration and his energy is on the score.
“And there are so many musicians like that, like Harvey Mason. I mean there’s a list of musicians from aged 95 to 18 and I think that that is something that will be felt as well.”
In addition to his compositions and the score provided by Reznor and Ross, Batiste also arranged a new version of The Impressions’ “It’s All Right”, while R&B artist Cody Chesnutt wrote, produced, and performed an original song for the film, titled Parting Ways.
You can check out the full tracklisting below:
Overture – AJR
Brand New – Ben Rector
The Great Beyond – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Falling – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Great Before/U Seminar – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Jump to Earth – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Terry Time – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Joe’s Life – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Portal – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Run/Astral Plane – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Lost Soul – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Meditation/Return to Earth – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Terry Time Too – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
22 is Ready – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Pursuit/Terry’s World – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Betrayal – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Lost – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Ephiphany – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Ship Chase – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Escape/Inside 22 – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Flashback – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Earthbound – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Thank You – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Enjoy Every Minute – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Just Us – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Born to Play – Jon Batiste
Bigger Than Us – Jon Batiste
Collard Greens and Cornboard Strut – Jon Batiste
Joe’s Lowdown Blues – Jon Batiste
22’s Getaway – Jon Batiste
Apex Wedge – Jon Batiste
Let Your Soul Glow – Jon Batiste
Feel Soul Good – Jon Batiste
Looking at Life – Jon Batiste
Fruit of the Vine – Jon Batiste
The Epic Conversationalist/Born to Play – Jon Batiste
Celestial Spaces in Blue – Jon Batiste
Spiritual Connection – Jon Batiste
The Initial Pursuit – Jon Batiste
It’s All Right – Jon Batiste
Space Maker – Jon Batiste
Cristo Redenetor – Jon Batiste
Danceland – Jon Batiste
Epistrophy – Jon Batiste
I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart – Jon Batiste
Blue Rondo a la Turk – Jon Batiste
The soundtrack is released in full on Friday 18th December ahead of the film’s Christmas Day launch, on two separate albums: one with Reznor and Ross’s score and the other with Batiste’s compositions.
Soul arrives on Disney+ on Christmas Day 2020. You can sign up to Disney+ with an annual subscription for £59.99 or £5.99 a month.