Saturday, July 6, 2013

Various Artists-Trainspotting OST

Originally Written and Posted at on 12/23/08.

The soundtrack to the 1996 film Trainspotting compiled by the film's director Danny Boyle is considered to be one of the best films soundtracks ever made. Released at the time Brit-pop was becoming the big thing in Britain. The soundtrack contained several Brit-pop luminaries like Blur, Pulp, Elastica, and Sleeper along with the British art-rock band Primal Scream. Electronic music is also explored with contributions from Bedrock, New Order, Leftfield, and Underworld while legends like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and Brian Eno also contribute to the film's soundtrack. The result is one of the best film soundtracks ever created.

The album opener is the Iggy Pop classic Lust For Life from the 1977 album of the same name. With its hard-hitting, loud-pounding drums, shaky rhythms and melodies, and Pop's nasally yet cool baritone vocals. Filled with lyrics about substances and an upbeat lifestyle, it's a great opener to the song and film despite its dark tone. Brian Eno's ambient piece Deep Blue Day from his 1983 Apollo: Atmosphere and Soundtracks album with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno is a dreamy, swooning track led by Brian Eno's synthesizer arrangements and Lanois' pedal-slide work that flourishes throughout the track. Played during Mark Renton's swim to retrieve suppositories, it's one of the most beautiful cuts on the album. The ten-and-a-half minute instrumental title track by Primal Scream is another amazing track with a smooth rhythm, warbling beats, swirling synthesizers, and a guitar track. Produced by Andrew Weatherhall, the track marks a return to the band's experimental sound as it plays to the hazy conversation between Renton and Sick Boy.

Next is a cover of Blondie's Atomic by Sleeper. Led by Louise Werner's smooth, low-sounding vocals, the song is definitely faithful to Blondie's original version with its famed guitar melody, swift rhythms, and hypnotic electronic arrangements. The track plays up to the moment Renton meets Diane. New Order's electro-pop song Temptation with its chugging rhythms, flourishing synthesizer, Peter Hook's melodic bass lines, and Bernard Sumner's vocals is another famed track on the album. Mostly heard in the background and later sung by Diane in a weird dream sequence, it's one of the most endearing songs on the album. Nightclubbing is another Iggy Pop song that's from his 1977 solo debut album The Idiot produced by David Bowie. With its heartbeat-like rhythm, fuzzy synthesizers, droning guitars, Bowie's piano track and Pop's eerie vocals, it's easily one of the darkest tracks on the album. Played during Renton and his gang's rising addiction towards heroin, it's a track that works in its dark tone.

Sing by Blur is an early song from the band with its droning guitars, haunting piano track, and Damon Albarn's vocals. The song refers to a tragic aftermath and famed chase scene as it plays up to the song's dramatic tone. Next is Lou Reed's ballad Perfect Day from 1972's Transformer album with Reed's somber vocals and a flourishing chorus led by Mick Ronson's string arrangements and Reed's poignant, melancholic lyrics. The song plays to Renton's overdose as he goes into a haze and near-death. Mile End by Pulp is a kooky song with smooth, swinging melodies, Jarvis Cocker's dark lyrics, and Candida Doyle's swooning keyboards. The song plays to Begbie being a nuisance to Renton's new lifestyle. For What You Dream Of by Bedrock featuring KYO is a techno number that plays up to the new, modern world of London that Renton seems to enjoy. With its shimmering synthesizers, breaking beats, and KYO's soulful vocals, it's another standout to reveal the world of electronic music in Britain.

Elastica's 2:1 from their 1995 landmark debut album is a minimalist rocker with mid-tempo, tapping beats, groove-laden guitars, and sturdy melodies with Justine Frischmann's smooth vocals. Played during Sick Boy's arrival to London and causing Renton more trouble, it's a fun, dark track that has a sense of humor. A Final Hit by Leftfield is an instrumental piece with eerie electronic arrangements and haunting bass line to play up to the drug deal meeting with Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie with a sense of foreboding. Born Slippy (NUXX) by Underworld is a wonderful nine-minute, forty-five second electronic track with flourishing pianos, eerie synthesizers, and loud, pounding break-beats. The track plays up to the drama where Renton makes a fateful decision. The album closer Closet Romantic by Blur's Damon Albarn is a smooth, electro-beat track with harmoniums and keyboards as Albarn sings and speaks about the James Bond films that starred Sean Connery that's played in the final credits.

When it was released shortly after the film came out, it became a major hit that a year later. A second soundtrack was released featuring songs that were in the film but didn't make it into the soundtrack along with music that inspired the film. Yet, the soundtrack was a major hit in the days of Brit-pop while often considered to be an essential record of that period. While the soundtrack also introduced American audiences to the burgeoning electronica music scene that would come a year later to little fanfare. Yet, the soundtrack remains one of the best of all-time as it's often put in lists for all-time great film soundtracks.

The soundtrack to Trainspotting is easily one of the best films soundtracks ever created. Thanks to its mix of Brit-pop, 70s art-rock, and electronic music, it's an album that is truly perfect from start to finish. Like many great film soundtracks before and since, it works because it put all the right songs from the film and into a record that is enjoyable to hear. In the end, the soundtrack to Trainspotting is a great companion to the film as well as for Brit-pop enthusiasts.

Related: Trainspotting - Favorite Films #10: Trainspotting

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