Thursday, July 12, 2018
Various Artists-Natural Born Killers OST
Released on August 23, 1994 from nothing records and Interscope Records, the soundtrack to Natural Born Killers is an audio companion piece to the Oliver Stone film of the same name. Produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails with music direction from Stone and supervision by Budd Carr, the album is a mixture of songs that appear on the album as well as musical pieces that is mixed in with audio from the film. The result is one of the most intense and mesmerizing film soundtracks of the 1990s.
The album’s opener and penultimate track both come from Leonard Cohen as the former in an edited version of Waiting for the Miracle is a haunting ballad while the latter in the more upbeat The Future play into the chaos and joy of Mickey and Mallory Knox as they’re top-notch songs from Cohen with the former seguing through dialogue of a man trying to flirt with Mallory as it kicks in towards the song Shitlist by L7 that is this intense, hard-rocking song. The song appears to introduce Mickey and Mallory in their element as killers as it would segue into Dan Zane’s instrumental Moon Over Greene County as it is this country music piece with dreamy guitars and harmonicas as Mickey and Mallory threaten the diner’s sole survivor. A remixed version of Patti Smith’s Rock N’ Roll N***er by Mark “Flood” Ellis appears in the film’s opening credits and in a scene at a super pharmacy as it is this blazing punk rock song that is fierce and abrasive.
Nine Inch Nails: Burn (1994) from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.
A shortened version of the Cowboy Junkies’ cover of Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane is presented in a somber ballad to express the love between Mickey and Mallory which is a standout track as is another ballad in a cover of the 1950s pop ballad You Belong to Me by Bob Dylan as it’s this simple acoustic ballad from Dylan that is one of his finest recordings. An edited version of Duane Eddy’s instrumental The Trembler with its electric guitar twangs and riffs is a standout as it play into Mickey’s escape from prison. One of the new tracks made specifically for the film’s soundtrack is Burn by Nine Inch Nails that feature these intense trash-can sounding beats, layers of melodic and droning synthesizers, Reznor’s angry vocals, and an odd structure that includes a fast-paced bridge with swirling guitars and keyboards that live drum tracks from NIN cohort Chris Vrenna. The track is one of three tracks Reznor contributes to the album that include an edited/expanded version of Something I Can Never Have that expands on the instrumental for a stark scene with Mickey and Mallory while the other contribution is the ambient-based instrumental A Warm Place that play into a confrontation between Mickey and Jack Scagnetti.
Route 666 that is mainly a score piece by one of the film’s editors in Brian Berdan that features dialogue spoken by the character Wayne Gale who talks about a highway that is considered deadly as it segues into another audio collage piece in Totally Hot that features an edited excerpt of Kipenda Roho by Remmy Ongala and Orchestra Super Matimila as it is this vibrant Latin-jazz piece mixed in with dialogue of the film as it relates to the media coverage of Mickey and Mallory Knox. Patsy Cline’s Back in Baby’s Arms is a standout track as it is this upbeat country song that is a rich song that play into the love life of Mickey and Mallory. An edited version of Taboo by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Peter Gabriel is this eerie song filled with Ali Khan’s chants and Gabriel’s ambient background as it play into the dark world of Mallory as it would lead into another audio collage track Sex is Violent that features excerpts of Jane’s Addiction’s Ted, Just Admit It and Diamanda Galas’ cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You that play into Mallory’s sexual desire and a bad encounter with a young man.
The edited version of History (Repeats Itself) by A.O.S. is a haunting ballad that play into the dark journey of Mickey and Mallory that would segue into the edited/extended version of Something I Can Never Have and a score piece entitled I Will Take You Home by Russel Means that is essentially an audio version of a scene with Mickey, Mallory, and Means’ character as this Navajo doing a chant that would unfortunately give Mickey nightmares. An edited version of Drums A Go-Go by Hollywood Persuaders is a percussion-based piece with bombastic horns and percussions that play into the terror that Mickey and Mallory is dealing with. Hungry Ants is a music piece that features excerpts of two instrumentals by Barry Adamson in Checkpoint Charlie and Violation of Expectation as it play into Scagnetti’s meeting with Warden Dwight McClusky with the first part being this smooth yet pulsating piece and the second half being this ambient-like piece.
Dr. Dre’s The Day the Niggaz Took Over is this throbbing yet sonically-intense song with its broad production of beats and electronics as the song feature lyrics about the 1992 L.A. riots with Dre, Snoop Dogg, RBX, and Dat Nigga Daz rapping about the riots as it plays into a scene in prison. A cover of Cissie Cobb’s Born Bad is a scene that has Mallory singing the song with Scagnetti entranced by her singing as it’s a great piece for the scene. Fall of the Rebel Angels by Sergio Cervetti is this dark ambient music piece that play into Mickey’s meeting with Wayne Gale as it would segue into the fast-paced industrial song Forkboy by Lard as it is this intense and aggressive song that features blazing vocals from Jello Biafra in a side-project from Al Jourgensen of Ministry. Batonga in Batongaville is an audio collage piece that features excerpts of A Night on Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky that is performed by the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra as it is this intense track of Wayne Gale reporting a prison riot as it would lead into the NIN instrumental A Warm Place.
Allah, Mohammed, Char, Yaar by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party that features except of Diamanda Galas’ Judgement Day is a music piece that play into the prison riot as it this vibrant chant piece with traditional instruments that layered vocals from Ali Khan and Galas. Appearing at the end of Leonard Cohen’s The Future is a comedic dialogue that relates to Wayne Gale and his fate which would lead to the album closer in Tha Dogg Pound’s What Would U Do? as it is this song with its upbeat yet bopping beats, swooning synthesizers, and fast-paced raps from Dat Nigga Daz and Kurupt that features contributions from Snoop Dogg and Jewell which is this upbeat gangsta rap song that is really a bonus track on the album since the song doesn’t appear in the film.
Among the material that isn’t on the soundtrack but appeared in the film are excerpts of Rage Against the Machine’s Bombtrack and Take the Power Back, Marilyn Manson’s Cyclops, Leonard Cohen’s Anthem, the Shangri-Las’ Leader of the Pack, the Specials’ Ghost Town, two cuts by Peter Gabriel in The Rhythm of the Heat and In Doubt, and the Cowboy Junkies’ If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man as they appear in brief moments in the film whether it’s in darkly-humorous pieces or something violent.
The soundtrack to Natural Born Killers is a tremendous film soundtrack thanks in part to the work of Trent Reznor. Not only does it serve as this great audio companion piece to the film but it also play into the idea of what a music soundtrack should be rather than just a compilation of songs from a movie. In the end, the Natural Born Killers soundtrack is a sensational soundtrack album from Trent Reznor and Oliver Stone.
Related: Natural Born Killers
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