Danny Elfman's score for the blockbuster sci-fi comedy Men in Black ranks among his best work, capturing the ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek thrills of the film with ease. It has the same oversized, cartoonish appeal of Elfman's work for Tim Burton, but with a less whimsical flair, which suits the action film. And even though the music perfectly suits the film, it also works as an individual entity on its own, which is what makes the record a satisfying listen.
The Fugees translated an intriguing blend of jazz-rap, R&B, and reggae into huge success during the mid-'90s, when the trio's sophomore album The Score hit number one on the pop charts and sold over five million copies. The trio formed in the late '80s in the New Jersey area, where Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Michel ("Pras") attended a local high school and began working together. Michel's cousin Wyclef Jean ("Clef") joined the group (then called the Tranzlator Crew), and the trio signed to Ruffhouse/Columbia in 1993. After renaming themselves the Fugees (a term of derision, short for refugees, which was usually used to describe Haitian immigrants). Though the group's debut album, Blunted on Reality, was quite solid, it reflected a prevailing gangsta stance that may have been forced by the record label. Presents the Carnival No matter how pigeonholed the Fugees may have sounded on their debut, the group had obviously asserted their control by the time of their second album, The Score. With just as much intelligence as their jazz-rap forebears, the trio also worked with surprisingly straight-ahead R&B on the soulful "Killing Me Softly With His Song," sung by Lauryn Hill. Elsewhere, Clef and Pras sampled doo wop and covered Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," giving the record familiarity for the commercial mainstream, but keeping it real with insightful commentary on their urban surroundings. The Score became one of the surprise hits of 1996, reaching number one on the pop charts and making the Fugees one of the most visible rap groups around the world.