“Eye of The Tiger” is one of the most iconic movie songs of all time. It’s one of the reasons Rocky III is my favourite Rocky movie. I feel like the heavyweight champion of the world just listening to it. Find me in the gym (lol) listening to this song and I’m throwing jab crosses in the air like a fool. It still slaps, hard. The music is integral to a good Rocky movie training montage and as I wrote in my review, a good training montage is necessary – it’s a Rocky franchise staple.
There has been some debate about whether the Creed II training montage holds up to its predecessors. I think it’s solid. It’s not the Siberian snowy, beardy ridiculousness of Rocky IV but the score made up for that. Some of the pacing problems of Creed II were couched in great music. In fact, I liked Creed II a lot of more in general because of its soundtrack. Bianca’s music alone deserves its own recognition. I’m obsessed with Tessa Thompson as a Janelle Monae meets H.E.R meets FKA twigs music superstar. I won’t be shutting up about her in this role any time soon.
Tessa’s voice graces the official Creed II soundtrack but not on "Time Tick" or "I Will Go To War," the two songs she sings in the film. Instead, she’s on "Midnight” with Gunna. It’s one of the standouts of the soundtrack, curated by Mike Will Made-It. Here’s what he said about the soundtrack in a press release:
"There was a time where movie soundtracks had people just as excited as an artist’s album, and that’s the feeling I was going for… After people hear the music, I want them to say movie soundtracks are back.”
Unfortunately for Mike, if anyone is saying “soundtracks are back” in relation to this year in music, they’re probably talking about A Star Is Born. Or Black Panther. No disrespect to the bevy of great artists on Creed II like Bon Iver, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, A$AP Rocky, Nas (oh so we’re done talking about this?), Vince Staples, Rick Ross, Rae Sremmurd, Ella Mai, and Ari Lennox, the return of DMX and more. That’s a stacked track list and everyone shows up on their game. The only problem? There’s no “Shallow” or “All The Stars”. “All The Stars” is probably going to get snubbed for an Oscar nomination while “Shallow” is basically a lock at this point, thanks to Bradley Cooper’s performance thirst trap he set for the Academy. I’m pre-emptively upset on behalf of “I’ll Never Love Again.”
My point: there are no songs on the Creed II soundtrack that will compete for Oscar. That doesn’t make it a bad soundtrack. It’s a GREAT soundtrack full of hip-hop stars… and Bon Iver. The Bon Iver track “Do You Need Power” is actually really f-cking good. There are some lows, like “F.I.G.H.T” but the highs, like “Runnin” and “The Mantra” are worth a spot on your workout playlist. Next time you’re in the gym (lol) pretending you’re in a Rocky training montage, follow up “Eye of The Tiger” with some Creed II motivation. A movie that gave us SO MUCH shirtless Michael Bae Jordan didn’t also have to deliver such a good soundtrack, but it did. It did that for us.