Like the film Spring Breakers, there's something uncomfortable and disorienting about how easy it is to just sit back and enjoy the hallucinatory depravity of its soundtrack. Teaming up EDM superstar Skrillex with soundtrack veteran Cliff Martinez and mixing in a bunch of grimy drug-dealer rap makes sense in the context of the film, but the fact that it works so well as a stand-alone piece of music is bewildering. You barely notice that James Franco is in there somewhere rapping with Dangeruss, supposedly the real-life inspiration for his film character.
The secret lies in the way the minimalist ambient electronic pieces provide a bed for Skrillex's big-room fist-pumpers and a means for the woozy trap rap thumpers to float in and out of your consciousness. The contrast between the adrenaline rushes and nihilistic machismo and the score's cold serenity is strangely intoxicating. It perfectly captures the grim darkness that descends on an after-party just after the sun comes up but before the drugs run out. As easy as it is to hate Skrillex for all he represents about mainstream electronic music, the kid deserves some credit for his contributions here.
Top track: Ride Home (Skrillex)