Pink Flamingos OST
John Waters 1972 film "Pink Flamingos" is perhaps one of the most eye-raising and provocative cult movies of all time, though it has slipped under the radar for many it is the type of celluloid atrocity which provokes unique responses for anyone that watches it. For the uninitiated the entire premise of the movie was described from the start as "an exercise in bad taste", this tag not to be taken lightly as a family of obnoxious trailer trash rednecks compete with a perverted suburban couple who impregnate women in their basement for their baby selling ring to hold the title of filthiest people alive. Much has been said about this film, though released in the early 70's it is still up there with the most revolting, disturbing, and just plain ugly films ever made. Somehow though, these qualities make for a most captivating and hilarious cinematic ride (which has enjoyed a similar kind of cult fanbase to The Rocky Horror Picture Show) owing no small debt to a solid soundtrack.
Featuring mostly obscure late 50s/early 60's pop tracks with a bit of rockabilly, jazz, surf music and swing thrown in for good measure, there is an intoxicating mix of upbeat tunes here along with some minor key moments and abstract oddities. Songs such as La Verne Baker's Jim Dandy
, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent
, Little Richards The Girl Can't Help It
& Bill Hayley's Ooh! Look-a There Ain't She Pretty
are the kind of infectious jazz styled 60's pop your grandmother would happily sing along to and wouldn't be out of place on The Wanderers
soundtrack. Though a nice slice of well written early pop some would consider this style of music cringe-worthy and camp to the extreme, the context of the film in which they are used to bring these qualities out certainly doing these songs no justice. In all intentional purpose though, it is more then successful. Pink Champagne
by The Tyrones is a notable track out of this upbeat selection, featuring some playful trumpets and a fast, walking bassline it is an immersive song with a debauched swing that is played for full effect in the film. After viewing it's corresponding scene it will never be seen in the same light again.
The few instrumental tracks are stellar. Moving along with a mid-tempo rockabilly stagger, Link Wray & The Ray Men's The Swag
is quite unlike anything else on here and is the perfect opener to both the movie and the album. Intoxica
by The Centurions features some fantastic surf guitar and thunderous drums, appropriately drowning in reverb it is atmospheric and timeless. Chicken Grabber
by The Nite Hawks has a slight junkyard percussion jazz feel that brings to mind the abstract musical style of Tom Waits, some chicken noises and a man's voice sample of "Here chick, chick, chick, chick, chick...." constantly interweaving with some dark basslines and trumpet stabs makes a song that is as dark and sinful sounding as it is ridiculous. Other notable moments on here are Surfin' Bird
by The Trashmen, an obnoxious vocal over some fast surf-rock which is the bizarre soundtrack to an equally strange scene where a man sings with a gesticulating anus, and Riot In Cell Block #9
by The Robins which is a nice blues number about prison which recalls the slow burning swagger of BB King & the soul of Ray Charles.
The soundtrack to Pink Flamingos is one of the driving forces behind it's appeal, the film itself is an acquired taste with some of the most revolting scenes ever committed to film dripping in camp cheese (director John Water's is a flamboyant homosexual and his tastes come out strong, if you are homophobic this is not for you). The music is suitably appropriate, it features some upbeat obscure late 50s/early 60's jazzy pop numbers amongst a few great instrumentals from the era of varying genre all of which take on a new, unshakably disturbing veneer after you watch the film. There are a couple of songs that are more or less filler, but the songs that stand out more then make up for it.