Monday, June 8, 2020

Do the Right Thing (Soundtrack): Tipstor® Pick

Summary: The soundtrack for director Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a veritable window into the hip-hop/contemporary R&B scene circa 1989. Peppered with “new jack” era slabs of wax from the likes of Public Enemy (the iconic “Fight the Power”), summer party staples from E.U. (“Party Hearty”) and Teddy Riley (“My Fantasy”), and deep slow jams from Perri and Al Jarreau, it’s the perfect background for a hot night in the city, and like the film itself, it’s both frivolous and foreboding.

Album: Do The Right Thing

Artist: Lori Perry And Gerald Alston

Label: Motown


Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” blasts from Radio Raheem’s boombox a whopping 15 times throughout Do the Right Thing. Written for the film, the song is so thoroughly enmeshed in its sweat-drenched fabric that Motown Records could’ve gotten away with looping it for 80 minutes on the soundtrack. But sweltering Brooklyn summers contain multitudes, and Do the Right Thing’s album mirrors the agony and ecstasy streaked across Spike Lee’s masterpiece. Accompanying a montage of Bed-Stuy locals attempting to beat the heatwave that hovers hazily around them, the British reggae group Steel Pulse’s languid “Can’t Stand It” mirrors the humidity; the elastic strains of new jack swing pioneers Teddy Riley and Guy’s “My Fantasy” snap faintly as Do the Right Thing’s aspiring community organizer, Buggin’ Out, schemes to boycott Sal’s Pizzeria. Alongside a gorgeous jazz score conducted and composed by Bill Lee, Spike’s father, the radiant ballads and punchy summer jams on Do the Right Thing’s soundtrack are perfect evocations of city life in the summertime. 


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