The music from the Trouble Man soundtrack, by Marvin Gaye, is presented differently on the album when compared with how it’s used in the film. The iTunes version that I have is the remastered version. The music from the soundtrack is polished and keeps a smoother pace than the grittier version used in the film.
#1- Main Theme From Trouble Man: This is an instrumental version of the main song from the album, Trouble Man. It uses different instruments and moves at a slower pace with more guitar, but it still has the same beat. It’s a nice little intro to the soundtrack.
#2 – “T” Plays it Cool: There is no way to not play it cool when this song is playing. It’s got a nice drum beat throughout, complemented by some sweet keyboard tones. Primarily, the song is used when Mr. T is walking around and being cool. It’s background music and it never overshadows T’s actions.
#3- Poor Abbey Walsh: Quite the solemn song for a character only known by reputation. This song starts off very passionate with lots of wailing horns, but it calms down into background music later on. It ends on a classic trope of blaxploitation music by having Marvin Gaye sing a plot point for viewer/listener.
#4- The Break In: It’s break in music, plain and simple. It does its job for the scene it plays in. The images and music match up perfectly and keep the scene tense. The song on its own is alright, but not as compelling as when it’s used underneath the scene. It would be the perfect music for a heist sequence.
#5 – Cleo’s Apartment: The song starts off sinister, like something is about to go down… and then it does. The song transitions into an easy going groove with Marvin Gaye singing in the background. This is really good sex scene music, though I feel they missed the boat because it wasn’t used for a sex scene. This is definitely one of the best songs on the album.
#6 – Trouble Man: The song is much cleaner in the album than in the film. The film version is used in the opening and Marvin Gaye sings in a lower register. It doesn’t sound as good, and leaves little impression. Trouble Man from the album, on the other hand, is one of Marvin Gaye’s greatest songs. The funny thing is that the song Trouble Man (album version) works better in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I always think of that scene in Captain America when I hear this song.
#7 – Theme From Trouble Man: This is very different from the opening song on the album and does not share the same beat as Trouble Man (for the most part). It’s a very sad song with a great horn section that delivers huge emotional value in the song, possibly even as much as Marvin Gaye’s voice.
#8 – “T” Stands For Trouble: This is another song that would work perfectly in a heist sequence. It’s got that sneaky smooth bongo beat going on. I don’t remember exactly when this song played in the film, but it was definitely when T was doing something badass.
#9 – Main Theme From Trouble Man: There are two main themes: the one from the beginning and this one. Both of the songs are remixed instrumental versions of Trouble Man. This version sticks closer to the original song, but with a prominent horn and string section.
#10 – Life is a Gamble: This is another smooth, remorseful song. It’s slow and takes its time before the lyrics kick in. The song then slowly fades away into a smooth transition for the next song.
#11 – Deep In It: This song is a long keyboard solo that leads into the opening notes of Trouble Man and then transitions into another tense and lowdown heist rhythm. For a movie with one legitimate heist, it sure has a lot of top notch heist music.
#12- Don’t Mess With Mr. T: This is my favorite song from the album. It’s just so damn cool. I want this song to play for me during every awkward situation. I want this song on ten as people lower me down my coffin. I want this song to play while I walk down to the corner store. This is the official music of the badass. Mr. T is a badass and, of course, he gets a song that lets people know not to mess with him. This song only plays during the end credits of the film and it’s a damn shame. The dirtier sound quality, and abrupt ending take away the majority of the coolness from the song. Listen to it on its own, and bask in its smooth rhythm.
#13- There Goes Mr “T”: A nice resolution song. It starts off slow and very noirish before it builds into the opening notes of Trouble Man. Its purpose is to let the listener know the album is about to end, and it does so in style.
Marvin Gaye is my favorite musician. There are so many songs of his that I constantly listen to, and songs I continue to discover. Trouble Man is not one of his best albums. It’s a damn good one, but it’s second tier in comparison to Let’s Get it On, What’s Going On, and I Want You. The album falls in closer with Sexual Healing, and Here, My Dear. It’s a hot and cold collection of songs with some great ones, but is still lacking at some points. The album works better on its own and the versions on the recordings would have better complimented the film. The soundtrack is solid and the music in it is fine, but it’s not as memorable.
Coming in March: I love Martial Arts Flicks, and Asian Crime Dramas. Next month I will look at six films that are a bit of both. I will look at three different regions, with two films per region starting with The Raid films from Indonesia.
Written By Tyler Ducheneaux
Image From the Trouble Man Soundtrack