Hit musical drama Empire is currently airing its second season across the globe and it’s safe to say that expectations are high following the huge ratings for the first season. Whilst the show hasn’t managed to maintain the impressive ratings it enjoyed over its debut season, it’s still one of the biggest shows on TV and certainly one of the most talked about. As the show prepares to take its mid-season break, the first volume of the second season soundtrack has been released.
Empire: Original Soundtrack Season 2 Volume 1 features 11 tracks from the first half of the second season (19 tracks if you pick up the Deluxe Edition) with production from heavyweights in the industry; Timbaland, Ne-Yo, J.R. Rotem and Swizz Beatz. As with the release of the season 1 soundtrack, the music on here is diverse showing all different sides of R&B, soul and hip-hop. The soundtrack opens with Jussie Smollett’s Born to Love U and continues to be the highlight of the show’s musical output.
Season 1 soundtrack stealer V. Bozeman returns with another powerful track, Hourglass. The piano ballad showcases the singer’s incredible vocal ability. I really wish they would give her a bigger role in the show as she’s easily the best female singer it has.
Elsewhere on the soundtrack Terrence Howard features of two tracks – Snitch Bitch with Petey Pablo and Boom Boom Boom Boom with Bre-Z. He’s not the most convincingly rapper in the world but it’s good to hear him contributing to the music on this release. Serayah brings her sensual tones to the reggae lite Get No Better (2.0), Yazz delivers the hip-hop side of the soundtrack with Bout 2 Blow featuring Timbaland, and Pitbulle stops by on the uptempo No Doubt About It with Jussie Smollett.
The Deluxe Edition frustratingly contains the best tracks on the release. Piano ballad Powerful is a collaboration between Jussie Smollett and Alicia Keys and it’s one of the most emotive songs to come from the show. It could easily be a Top 10 record and is such a great song. There’s also another gem from Serayah with the Rihanna-esque Do Something With It and there are several additional tracks with Smollett including the gorgeous You Broke Love.
If this review was based solely on the Standard Edition release then it wouldn’t fare quite as well. The Deluxe Edition is the version of the release you won’t to get as the additional 8 bonus tracks are the best on the record. It’s baffling why they weren’t on the Standard Edition to be honest. If you love the show, you’ll love this latest soundtrack but if you don’t then you’ll still find plenty to enjoy as the music stands on its own two feet.