Black Panther hits theatres February 16 and the accompanying soundtrack drops February 9. The top dogs of Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick Lamar and SZA, joined forces for the lead single off the soundtrack, “All The Stars.”
Look, the song isn’t bad by any means, but for two artists as unfiltered, fearless, and intricate as Kendrick and SZA, the song feels oddly ordinary. Of course, both artists will have to finetune some sections of their artistry in service of a mass-released superhero film, but the song does feel devoid of any originality.
On a more positive note, SZA’s voice sounds glorious paired with the cinematic instrumental and Kendrick feels right at home on the track. Lyrically, the artists do a stellar job of making the message universal enough for a commercial single and specific enough to pertain to the Black Panther film. Kendrick rhymes just loosely enough about conflict and resolution that he could be talking about any conflict ever. SZA’s anthemic hook saves the song from complete suicide, it sounds incredible; you can hear her technical improvement vocal-wise on this track.
All in all, I think that this is the type of song that will truly make sense when paired with a visual. Given the respective discographies for DAMN. and Ctrl, I have no doubt that this will all come together because, at heart, Kendrick and SZA are audiovisual artists. It has been confirmed, however, that Kendrick will be curating and producing the soundtrack alongside Anthony Tiffith, so I expect nothing short of greatness. Following the lackluster nature of the Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and, Bright soundtracks and original songs, “All The Stars” shines even brighter considering its genre.