Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 is the debut soundtrack album by the cast of the musical drama television series Empire, which airs on Fox. The album includes songs that featured during the first season of the show, and performed by various artists. The album was released by Columbia Records. The soundtrack received positive critical reception and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. On September 11, 2015, another soundtrack titled Empire: The Complete Season 1 was released containing every song heard on the show that weren't included on the official soundtrack.

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Empire Cast - Official Soundtrack from Season One, Album Cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedMarch 10, 2015
Genre
Length
  • 37:01
  • 59:52 (Deluxe)
LabelColumbia
ProducerTimbaland, Jim Beanz, Justin Bostwick, Raphael Saadiq, Thomas "Da Hitman" Goodlett, Jazze Pha, Tricky Stewart, Sharif "Reefa" Slater, Johnny Black
Empire soundtrack chronology
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
(2015)
Empire: Original Soundtrack Season 2 Volume 1
(2015)

BackgroundEdit

Empire was set to debut on January 7, 2015 on Fox.[1] After finding his lead actors, the show's co-creator Lee Daniels was searching for a talented music producer. Since Daniels considered his music taste "outdated", he asked his children for advice. After being advised by his son and daughter to contact Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley, known for being responsible for many hits in the music industry, Daniels contacted Timbaland. Timbaland eventually agreed to join the Empire family and conducted a team of talented songwriters and music artists. Timbaland described his creative process as being based on "working close with the writers" to help him produce songs that are based on the character that's singing.[2] Eventually, 12 songs were produced for the pilot, alone.[3]

Following the show's success, Columbia Records announced that a soundtrack CD would be released on March 10, 2015.[4]

PromotionEdit

Following the album's release, Jussie Smollett performed "Good Enough" on The Ellen Degeneres Show.[5] Smollett was interviewed by Degeneres and used the opportunity to come out, receiving substantial media attention.[6][7] Yazz and Smollett also performed "You're So Beautiful" on Good Morning America. During the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, Yazz, Smollett and Estelle performed two songs from the album. The cast embarked on a signing tour throughout the nation, as well.[8]

Critical responseEdit

 
Timbaland (pictured) was met with critical acclaim.

Metacritic gave the album an average score of 61%, indicating "generally favorable reviews" based on five critics.[9] Critics praised Jussie Smollett's performance on the album, describing him as a "break out star".[10] Entertainment Weekly's Kyle Anderson praised the CD's variation of genres stating "[the album] is at its best when it eschews goofy gangsta-isms like “Drip Drop” in favor of chest-thumping ballads or stirring hip-hop soul revivals". Further, he applauded Timbaland for "hold[ing] everything together". Pitchfork's Craig Jenkins admired the writer's effort given the fact that they had "to turn Dire Straits’ "Money for Nothing" into swag rap and to feed Courtney Love a gospel choir" stating "there’s nothing they won’t try, and it’s exhilarating". However, he expressed his distaste of the album's "celebrity collaborators" describing them as a "mixed bag".

Justin Charity from Complex Magazine thought the album's rap songs were "goofy as hell" and stated that "not even Mary J. Blige could save the Empire soundtrack". However he admitted that the songs were "catchy" and that the album overall "keeps a few true R&B greats on call for the love of musicality".

Commercial performanceEdit

The album was a commercial success.[11] In the United States, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 130,000 album-equivalent units, surpassing Madonna's thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart in a hotly contested week. Although "Rebel Heart" was the best selling album of the week, Empire came ahead in streaming.[12] It sold 110,000 copies in its first week on sale.[12] In January 2016, the album was certified Gold in the United States.[13] The album also debuted at number 26 on the Canadian Albums Chart, with 1,300 copies.[14] As of early 2017, the album has sold nearly 2,000,000 equivalent copies, helped by a Grammy nomination, few TV performances and constant reuse of its songs on the further seasons. Although, the other soundtracks haven't received similar promotion, obtaining lower commercial impact.

Track listingEdit

Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."Good Enough"Timothy Mosley, James Washington, Daniel Jones, Dwayne "Showtim3" Dyke Jr.Jussie Smollett3:50
2."What Is Love"Mosley, Washington, JonesV. Bozeman2:53
3."No Apologies"Mosley, WashingtonJussie Smollett and Yazz2:52
4."Keep It Movin'"Mosley, WashingtonSerayah McNeill and Yazz3:24
5."Walk Out on Me"Aaron Wright, Sean Van VleetCourtney Love3:25
6."Conqueror"Jaramye Daniels, Kyle Henry, Angel Higgs, Claude Kelly, Akil C. King, Bailey Owens, Estelle SwarayEstelle and Jussie Smollett4:28
7."Remember the Music"Mosley, Washington, Justin Bostwick, Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson3:23
8."Shake Down"Phalon Alexander, Mary J. Blige, Terius Nash, Christopher "Tricky" StewartMary J. Blige and Terrence Howard3:26
9."Power of the Empire"Mosley, Washington, Dyke Jr.Yazz3:17
10."Nothing to Lose"Mosley, Washington, JonesJussie Smollett, Terrence Howard2:48
11."Whatever Makes You Happy"Mosley, Washington, Goodlett, Jones, Hudson, Jordan HoustonJennifer Hudson and Juicy J3:15
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 – Deluxe edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."Good Enough"Timothy Mosley, James Washington, Daniel JonesJussie Smollett3:50
2."What Is Love"Mosley, Washington, JonesV. Bozeman2:53
3."No Apologies"Mosley, WashingtonJussie Smollett and Yazz2:52
4."Keep It Movin'"Mosley, WashingtonSerayah McNeill and Yazz3:24
5."Keep Your Money"Mosley, WashingtonJussie Smollett2:29
6."Drip Drop"Washington, Justin Bostwick, Thomas "Da Hitman" GoodlettYazz and Serayah McNeill4:32
7."Can't Truss 'Em"Mansa Wakili, Colton Fisher, Jason Rabinowitz, Jaron Lamot, Bill MatrixYazz2:34
8."I Wanna Love You"Jussie Smollett, David Michael Ott Jr.Jussie Smollett3:06
9."Money for Nothing"Mark Knopfler, StingJussie Smollett and Yazz3:02
10."Walk Out on Me"Aaron Wright, Sean Van VleetCourtney Love3:25
11."You're So Beautiful"Washington, Bostwick, SmollettJussie Smollett and Yazz3:33
12."Conqueror"Jaramye Daniels, Kyle Henry, Angel Higgs, Claude Kelly, Akil C. King, Bailey Owens, Estelle SwarayEstelle and Jussie Smollett4:28
13."Remember the Music"Mosley, Washington, Bostwick, Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson3:23
14."Shake Down"Phalon Alexander, Mary J. Blige, Terius Nash, Christopher "Tricky" StewartMary J. Blige and Terrence Howard3:26
15."Power of the Empire"Mosley, WashingtonYazz3:17
16."Nothing to Lose"Mosley, Washington, JonesJussie Smollett2:48
17."Whatever Makes You Happy"Mosley, Washington, Goodlett, Jones, Hudson, Jordan HoustonJennifer Hudson and Juicy J3:15
18."New York Raining"Charles Hamilton, The Invisible Men, Laura WhiteCharles Hamilton and Rita Ora3:35
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1 – Super deluxe edition (bonus disc)[15]
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."Lola"Jussie Smollett3:26
2."What the DJ Says"Jussie Smollett and Yazz3:02
3."Nothing But the Number"Yazz and Naomi Campbell3:09
4."Come Away With Me"Jussie Smollett3:44
5."For My God"Jennifer Hudson2:49
6."Nothing to Lose"Terrance Howard & Jussie Smollet3:00
Empire: The Complete Season 1[16]
No.TitlePerformer(s)Length
1."What Is Love"V. Bozeman1:28
2."Live in the Moment"Jussie Smollett and Yazz2:20
3."Good Enough"Jussie Smollett3:50
4."Right There"Yazz2:14
5."Armani"Yazz1:44
6."What the DJ Spins"Terence Howard1:59
7."Adios"Serayah McNeill3:39
8."Tell the Truth"Jussie Smollett3:51
9."No Apologies"Jussie Smollett and Yazz2:53
10."Up All Night" (Jamal's 2015 Version)Jussie Smollett2:40
11."Bad Girl"Serayah McNeill and V. Bozeman3:30
12."Hustle Hard"Jim Beanz2:10
13."Keep It Movin'"Serayah McNeill and Yazz3:21
14."Keep Your Money"Jussie Smollett2:29
15."Take Me to the River"Courtney Love3:31
16."Can't Trust 'Em"Yazz2:34
17."I Wanna Love You"Jussie Smollett3:06
18."Walk Out on Me"Courtney Love3:25
19."Money for Nothing"Jussie Smollett and Yazz3:02
20."Live in the Moment" (107 Edit)Jussie Smollett and Yazz2:09
21."You're So Beautiful" (90s Version)Terrance Howard3:59
22."You're So Beautiful"Jussie Smollett and Yazz3:33
23."You're So Beautiful" (White Party Version)Jussie Smollett3:49
24."Jay Jazz Plus One" (Instrumental) 2:37
25."War of the Roses"Jim Beanz3:16
26."All of the Above"Jussie Smollett3:41
27."Black & Blue"V. Bozeman2:41
28."Conqueror"Estelle and Jussie Smollett4:29
29."You're So Beautiful" (Full Cast Version)Estelle, Terrence Howard, Jussie Smollett, Yazz and Serayah McNeill2:45
30."Lola"Jussie Smollett3:26
31."Shake Down"Mary J. Blige and Terrence Howard3:26
32."Nothing But a Number"Yazz and Naomi Campbell3:09
33."Remember the Music"Jennifer Hudson3:23
34."Power of the Empire"Yazz3:17
35."Nothing to Lose"Terrence Howard and Jussie Smollett3:00
36."For My God"Jennifer Hudson2:49
37."Come Away With Me"Jussie Smollett3:44
38."Nothing to Lose"Jussie Smollett2:48
39."What the DJ Says"Jussie Smollett and Yazz3:15
40."Whatever Makes You Happy"Jennifer Hudson and Juicy J3:15
41."New York Raining"Charles Hamilton and Rita Ora3:35

ChartsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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