I constantly rave about this 1996 hit film about Scottish heroin addicts to anyone who will listen. This was the first time most of us laid eyes on the unbelievably talented cast, including Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle. Trainspotting has spawned two amazingly popular soundtracks, and you’ll get to hear more about them in the next two editions of Movie Tunes!
Combining predominantly UK-based acts, as well as some punk, New Wave, and dance music, these soundtracks serve as the perfect compliment to this highly innovative story, peppered by the words of Irvine Welsh and shown through the eyes of director Danny Boyle.
The opening track, Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” is the song that is definitely the most memorable. With the chaotic opening sequence of the gang running away from the police after they’ve committed theft, the introduction to all of the characters and Renton’s monologue on his personal choices, it definitely triggers one’s memory whenever it’s heard. However, since this song blatantly refers to the procurement and using of illegal substances, was it appropriate to use it years later in commercials for cruises? I never quite understood that. Iggy, some answers please?
The second track is Brian Eno’s truly beautiful and ethereal “Deep Blue Day.” It’s kind of ironic, considering this song is in the background of the infamous “toilet diving” scene. Go next to #4, Sleeper’s cover of Blondie’s “Atomic.” This is one of the very few covers that have remained faithful to the original. Debbie Harry must be proud. New Order’s “Temptation” is up next. This is a nice, peppy New Wave song that I’ve really grown to love. While the song itself is never played in the film, Diane sings it to Renton during the big withdrawal scene (which will be discussed further in the review of the second soundtrack).
Aside from “Lust for Life,” I have two other favorites on this particular soundtrack. “For What You Dream Of” by Bedrock featuring KYO and Underworld’s “Born Slippy” are electronic dance tracks showcased during two peak moments in the film, where much of the storyline unravels and then re-ravels itself. The former is in the big club scene, where each character is trying to have a little fun; the latter in the climactic ending showing how much some people have changed. For those of you that enjoy this genre as much as I do, they are just pure enjoyment.
The final track, Damon Albarn’s “Closet Romantic” always reminds me of three things: those old Busby Berkeley musicals, where everything is perfectly synchronized; a Calliope inside a carousel; the organ music piped through an ice skating rink. Strange, I know. Well, this song is a bit unusual, since it name drops several of Sean Connery’s James Bond films. If you’ve seen this flick, you’ll get the connection!
This film and the music are definitely amongst my favorites, so I can’t help but gush over them. I hope that you will take the time to check them out, and find out just what you may have been missing! But, I haven’t forgotten about the second soundtrack to this film. You’ll hear all about that next week!