Let me take you back. It’s 1997, and I’m smitten with the films of Danny Boyle.
Admittedly, at this point, there had only been two that he had directed (although he did crop up as Executive Producer on the massively under-rated “Twin Town” in 1997) – 1994’s “Shallow Grave” and, of course 1996’s “Trainspotting” – but if you’ve seen any of those – and if you haven’t, what are you doing here, go watch them immediately – then you’ll probably agree with me that they are great, great films.
And not just for the plots, or the ground-breaking artistic visionary style of the films, but also for the soundtracks. Those films came out at around the same time as Tarantino’s first couple of movies, “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”, two films where the soundtrack played such an important role, it was virtually an extra cast member.
Boyle’s movies are similarly blessed, and so it was that by the time of his third film, “A Life Less Ordinary”, acts were queuing up to contribute to the soundtrack: The Prodigy, Faithless, Sneaker Pimps, Alabama 3, some chap called Elvis Presley (although I suspect he may not have been queuing in person), The Cardigans, Underworld (of course) all appear.
It’s by far and away the best thing about the film which is not Boyle’s finest moments, but when the bar had been set so high by what has come before, you can forgive the odd blip.
And speaking of odd blips, here’s a song which first saw the light of day as part of that soundtrack, although it later got released as an edited single, and cropped up again on the deluxe reissue of “Odelay”. It’s also probably my favourite song in Beck’s marvellously varied back catalogue:
Beck – Deadweight
“Deadweight” was nominated for Best Song from a Movie at the 1998 MTV Movie Awards. It lost out to Will “Wicky Wicky Wild” Smith’s godawful “Men in Black”.
I know. Go figure, right?
There’s two other truly great tracks on there; firstly a different, more electronica version of R.E.M.’s “Leave” than that which appears on their 1996 album “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”, which hinted at the direction they’d be taking soon, when drummer Bill Berry quit the band (starting the sad decline of the band over the next few albums):
R.E.M. – Leave
…and not forgetting the wonderful title track performed by Ash, displaying the talents of new member Charlotte Hatherley for the first time:
Ash – A Life Less Ordinary