23 Feb 2016

Trainspotting - the iconic soundtrack's 5 best cuts

Trainspotting; a soundtrack that people just won't stop banging on about. When Danny Boyle's almost lighthearted cinematic take on Irvine Welsh's debut novel of the same name hit cinemas 20 years ago (to the day) I'm not quite so sure that the personnel involved were wary that we'd still be banging on about the soundtrack all these years later. You've probably read 20 articles on Trainspotting today, so I won't bore you by regurgitating what a masterpiece of literature slash cinema it is, and you've probably read a good 3 articles on its soundtrack also. But this particular article is the one you should read all the way through for lots of fun and interesting reasons like, ummm, you've lost interest already, haven't you?

Anyway, for those of you still with me; here's the best 5 cuts from the Trainspotting soundtrack and why they're just the most essential pieces of marriage between pop music and cinema you'll ever come into contact with.

Mile End - Pulp
Right, so this basically redefines just how relevant soundtrack music can be with general narrative, yeah? The point in which Rents moves to London, living in a divey East London flat, the soundtrack kicks in with a bouncy Pulp number about living in a divey East London flat. In a moment of beautiful synchronicity, you can hear lyrics about a "a fifth floor landing (that) smells of fish/not just on Friday, every single other day" whilst such pictorial events are almost acted out. In a kinda beautifully tacky way, it gives so much depth to the cinema in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

Born Slippy - Underworld
Is this the most iconic moment on the soundtrack? Triumphant, pounding club track that went on to be the crown jewels in UK electronica outfit Underworld's crown for the rest of their career. A transcendent ending, it's the perfect accompaniment to the euphoric ending as the ravenous mega-mega white thing that is Ewan McGregor mugs Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlisle off good and proper.

Temptation - New Order
Basically, this is the catchiest song on the soundtrack; can you beat the chorus for a singalong? No, no you can't, not even if you involve the Talking Heads. This goes hand in hand with the scene in which Rents wakes up at Diane's, and kind of gives it a melodic backdrop almost as great as that goal that Archie Gemmill scored against Holland. Goal of the century that.

Nightclubbing - Iggy Pop
Prancing, stomping, Nightclubbing is basically the coolest song ever written by anyone, ever. Songs that have a real strut to them are cool as fuck anyway, but with Ig on vocals you can't quite fault it. Twinned with the scene of Sick Boy giving the big one about Sean Connery (he does know a lot about Sean Connery that boy), I feel like I can blame this scene for the whole heroin chic thing, probably, maybe.

Perfect Day - Lou Reed
The single most perfect moment in history of the complex soundtrack-cinematography relationship? This scene is as close to a heroin overdose as anyone ever wants to get, Renton seeping into the floor in a way that looks almost beautiful. The marriage of the overdose and the forlorn opium-sodden jukebox classic is really quite inspired, and even though Perfect Day epitomises what is classic, it'll be forever associated with this absolutely fucking iconic scene, aye? Classic, perfect, iconic, unbeatable.

By the way you can listen to the whole thing regardless of film context here


this is the bit where i say that i've been feeling bad about leaving deep blue day by brian eno out since i first drafted this article. farewell, and enjoy the rest of yr Trainspotting Day.

(written by calum cashin)