Judy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Judy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

If Renée Zellweger had any apprehension about stepping into Judy Garland’s slippers for the biopic Judy, it’s hard to tell by listening to her performance on the film’s soundtrack. Zellweger channels the smoky, quavering vocals of late-period Judy—years after the MGM musicals, amid the ups and downs of multiple marriages, hospital visits, financial ruin, and the prescription drug abuse that would be her undoing. Garland may not have been in top form for one of her final engagements, at London’s Talk of the Town nightclub, but Zellweger is at her strongest here inhabiting the diva and taking on her best-known numbers: “Over the Rainbow,” “The Trolley Song,” and “Zing Went the Strings.” Featuring guest appearances from Sam Smith and Rufus Wainwright (the latter of whom is a lifelong Judy devotee and recorded a full-album tribute to her 1961 Carnegie Hall comeback), this bittersweet recording illuminates some of the brightest spots of Garland’s career, viewed through the lens of one of her darkest moments.

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