Women in Music 2016

The Year in Soundtracks: From 'Furious 7' to 'Empire,' the Strongest Contenders for a Grammy Nod

Courtesy Photo
Wiz Khalifa's 'See You Again' music video, 2015.

In the playlist era, movie and TV soundtracks resonate deeply: They’re compilations with built-in narratives. That might be why four hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2015, the most in six years -- and all are strong contenders for a nomination in the 2016 Grammys’ best compilation soundtrack for visual media category. Furious 7’s album is a feat of cross-genre appeal: a state-of-the-art blend of hip-hop (T.I., Young Thug, Future), EDM (David Guetta) and Latin beats (Prince Royce), plus emotional heft, with Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth’s Paul Walker eulogy “See You Again.” The Timbaland-helmed Empire soundtrack scores points for cultural currency and novelty (Terrence Howard duetting with Mary J. Blige; a gospel choir backing Courtney Love), while the companion releases to Pitch Perfect 2 (which includes a Christmas medley from Anna Kendrick and Snoop Dogg) and Disney’s Descendants (highlight: Shawn Mendes’ “Believe”) offer family-friendly counterpoints. Other likely candidates include this summer’s True Detective soundtrack, supervised by T Bone Burnett (who has won this category three times), and Lorde’s blazingly hip The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I. Does this mean Jennifer Lawrence could perform “The Hanging Tree” at the Grammys?

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 24 issue of Billboard.

2016 Grammys