Now this was an absolute blast! For the Lakeshore Records podcast, On Cue With…, I interviewed Kris Bowers about his fantastic genre-defying soundtrack for Justin Simien’s just-released Hulu horror satire Bad Hair, which stars the likes of Elle Lorraine, Laverne Cox, Lena Waithe, and Vanessa Williams, among others. You might recognize Bowers from his work on Simien’s Dear White People series, Ava DuVernay’s mini-series When They See Us, and Peter Farrelly’s Green Book. He’s also an accomplished jazz musician and has worked with artists such as Jay-Z, Moses Sumney, and A Tribe Called Quest.
The Grammy-nominated, Emmy Award-winning, and Juilliard-educated Bowers has created for Bad Hair a compelling array of New Jack Swing songs, straight out of the late 1980s and early 1990s, balanced with a nuanced and richly textured score laced with such elements as ambient synth foreboding, jazz-infused ruminations, cacophonous histrionics, and Penderecki-infused conversations, among other things.
In the podcast Bowers and I dive into his work with Simien, Kelly Rowland, and Braxton Cook on the Teddy Riley-esque songs and also the inspiration for, and creative approach surrounding, his brilliantly nuanced score. (The Shining comes up a few times.) Additionally, we touch on some takeaways and themes from the film itself. Oh, there’s more, but those alone should be enough to compel you to listen.
Additionally, you can stream the Bad Hair soundtrack right now via the usual platforms.
About Bad Hair
Bad Hair, written and directed by Justin Simien, is set in 1989 and follows an ambitious young woman (Elle Lorraine) who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career comes at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own. The film’s cast list is a treasure trove: In addition to Lorraine, there’s Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Jay Pharoah, Kelly Rowland, Blair Underwood, James Van Der Beek and Usher Raymond IV. The film is produced by Sight Unseen in association with Culture Machine.
Again, you can stream the Bad Hair soundtrack right now via the usual platforms. It is released by Lakeshore Records, which has also released soundtracks to Drive, Mr. Robot, Stranger Things, The Old Guard, I Am Not Your Negro, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Halt and Catch Fire, and Greyhound, among so many others.