Review Summary: "At least you're not boring"Trainspotting
was and still is a cultural behemoth, expertly tapping into the zeitgeist and perfectly encapsulating the cynical and yet cautiously optimistic mindset of the late 90s. The same could very well be said for its eclectic and highly memorable soundtrack. From the audacious, energetic “Lust For Life” to the sombre “Perfect Day” (of course the song is about heroin you muppet) to the cathartic and, at this point, iconic “Born Slippy”. These are songs that have been ingrained into the public consciousness and the world of pop culture as a whole, and Trainspotting
played a huge part in cementing their status and in the case of Iggy, giving them a new lease of life. So with all of that said, how on earth could you possibly follow that up 20 years later?
Upon inspection of the tracklist, it is clear that the soundtrack for T2: Trainspotting
wants to create a blend of the familiar and the new, staying true to the ethos and spirit of the original by having old favourites and established in with new up and coming acts. It’s a shame then that the album kicks off with the obnoxious and unnecessary Prodigy remix of “Lust For Life”, completely butchering the original in a homogenous mess of processed breathing sounds and overbearing snares. It’s easy to see what they were going for here, attempting to establish that “nothing has changed and yet everything has changed” by giving arguably the most memorable song from the original a ‘modern’ sprucing up but as a song it just doesn’t work and it leaves you longing for the original, not to mention the electronics still manage to sound dated. It’s a shame the album kicks off this way because from the barn-raising “Shotgun Mouthwash” onwards, T2
is a solid soundtrack filled to the brim with great songs old and new, even if some feel slightly out of place. It can be jarring when you go from listening to the modern rave-inspired hip-hop of “Get Up” to “Radio Ga Ga”, and it could be said that it is ultimately the older songs that stifle the pace of the album and stand out like a sore thumb. As fun as it is to hear “Relax”, it renders the tone set by the previous songs obsolete when it seemed like the album was heading in a much darker and more downbeat direction.
It really is the darker and more reflective moments on T2
that steal the show. “Silk” is quite possibly the best song contained in the collection and deserves to be remembered just as much as any of the songs from the original film. Its reflective lyrics compliment the underlying melancholy of both films perfectly and the unforgettable climax reflects the catharsis of the final moments both the 1996 classic and its 2017 counterpart. Wolf Alice have been making a name for themselves ever since they released My Love Is Cool
and if the intent of this soundtrack is to shine the spotlight on the best up and coming talent the mainstream music scene has to offer, it has succeeded with flying colours. An unexpected highlight is “Eventually But (Spud’s Letter to Gail)”, featuring Ewen Bremner in character as Spud reading out a letter to his wife from whom he is slowly drifting away from, underpinned by a heart-wrenching soundscape provided by veterans Underworld. It is highly reminiscent of Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day” from the original soundtrack and yet it manages to be fresh enough to keep it from ever sounding like a retread.
As far as film soundtracks go, T2
is a perfectly fine collection of songs to compliment the film. The mix of old and new can be jarring at times and it was never going to be able to live up to the original, which is iconic in every sense of the word, but it tried its best and did the best possible job it could. It may not present a portrait of the musical world in its current state like the original did but it does give us a handful of songs to enjoy and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. T2
is worth hearing just for “Silk”, “Eventually But” and the cutting gospel and hip-hop hybrid "Only God Knows" alone, but if you do decide to give the full album your attention you may just stumble across some hidden gems and some (admittedly cheesy) classics to put a smile on your face.
“Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fuckin problem. As Harry Launder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road."