Song of the Day: “Who Did That To You?”

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Today, with the release of “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” still in our rear view, we’ll once again be looking at a song and scene pairing from Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. Our song of the day today, “Who Did That To You?” by John Legend, who wrote the song for Tarantino’s 2012 western, “Django Unchained”.

So far this week, we’ve already looked at a few songs from some of Tarantino’s other films, and the iconic scenes they find themselves in. On Monday, we looked at “Reservoir Dogs” and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You”. Tuesday, we moved on to “Kill Bill: Vol: 1” and its use of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood/Esmeralda Suite” by Santa Esmeralda. Finally, yesterday we looked at David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”, from “Inglourious Basterds”.

Before we get into the song itself, we’ll first take a look at the use of music in “Django Unchained”. Then, we’ll move on to the scene in which our song of the day is used.

Django Unchained

For the soundtrack to “Django Unchained”, Tarantino commissioned several tracks from popular artists, including Rick Ross, Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton, and of course, John Legend.

Overall, the soundtrack consists of a variety of different genres, but is firmly rooted and influenced by soundtracks of the spaghetti western films from the ’60s and ’70s. Some of these include “Django”, from the original 1966 film, “His Name Was King”, from “Lo Chiamavano King” and “Sister Sara’s Theme”, from “Two Mules for Sister Sara”. Also, since this is a Tarantino film, there are more than a few dialogue tracks taken directly from the film. But that should be expected.

Tarantino also uses a few old spaghetti western tracks from Ennio Morricone, whose music has appeared in several of his other films. While most of Morricone’s contributions came from past compositions, he did produce one new original track for the film, “Ancora Qui” with Elisa.

Again, there are a lot of great musical moments throughout “Django Unchained”. Too many to list all of them here. So let’s move on to our song of the day.

Who Did That To You?

“Who Did That To You?” was written by John Legend for “Django Unchained”, and comes in toward the end of the film. After Django’s fiasco at Candie Land, he smooth talks his way into a deal with the Australian slavers, killing them all as soon as one of them hands over his gun (one of them being Tarantino himself, who gets blown sky high when Django shoots the dynamite he’s holding). When the smoke and dust clears, and the other slaves are looking at Django in amazement, John Legend’s “Who Did That To You?” kicks in.

While the music only lasts for about a minute or so, it pulls a lot of weight in terms of capturing Django’s thoughts and emotions. He’s only got one thing on his mind, and that’s getting his revenge. To get a better picture of that, let’s move on to the lyrics.

Lyrics

Unlike a lot of the songs we’ve covered, the lyrics to “Who Did That To You?” are unique, in the sense that they were written explicitly for the character of Django. Even so, John Legend writes them so that they’re general enough for anyone to relate to the message.

“Now I’m not afraid to do the Lord’s work,
You say vengeance is his, but I’mma do it first.
I’m gonna handle my business in the name of the law.”
The sort of ‘take-charge’ attitude expressed here is exactly what we see Django demonstrating in this scene. He’s calm, sure, and deliberate with all of his actions, bent toward a single purpose.
“Now if he made you cry, oh, I gotta know,
If he’s not ready to die, he best prepare for it.
My judgement’s divine, I’ll tell you who you can call”
Here, we can see the connection between Django and his love, Hildi, where his motivation comes from, and just how unstoppable he is.

Final Thoughts

“Who Did That To You?” manages to walk the line between pop hit and spaghetti western so well, that the only surprising thing about its use in the film is that it was so short-lived. That being said, maybe that’s the mark of a good director, one who knows when to pull in the reins, and leave their audience wanting more every time.

That about wraps up our discussion of John Legend’s “Who Did That To You?” from the “Django Unchained” soundtrack. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with one last song from Quentin Tarantino’s filmography, and then we’ll move on, I swear.

 

 

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