Welcome to The Glorious ’90s, in which I take a quick look at the music, movies, TV shows and pop culture that helped make the ’90s, well, glorious.
The Velvet Goldmine soundtrack delivers a booming dose of fey-pop sweetness ready to candy-coat your earholes. The audio companion to director Todd Haynes’ strange and glittery 1998 indie drama features a string of classic ’70s glam rock standards from heroes of the era like Brian Eno, T. Rex, and Lou Reed. Glam giant David Bowie’s name is missing from the track list, but it’s clear the Starman’s spirit and swagger influenced almost every song choice here, including original compositions and covers by Shudder to Think, Teenage Fanclub, Pulp, and Placebo. The album is a love letter to the ’70s glam era, but it’s full of ’90s artists sounding all breathy and dramatic.
The film is loosely based on Bowie’s rise to fame in the ‘70s and his influence on the UK’s gender-bending glam kids. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Bowie clone Maxwell Demon as a talented, ambitious waif, and Ewan McGregor plays Kurt Wilde – a rabid but sentimental punk rocker who sounds like Iggy Pop and looks like Kurt Cobain. (McGregor even recorded vocals for a solid version of The Stooges’ “TV Eye,” track number five on the soundtrack.) Bruce Wayne himself, Christian Bale, is stoic and subtle as a journalist who grew up worshipping at the altar of his guitar-licking, bisexual rock gods. The movie – an uncompromising, visually electrifying and challenging work of cinema — received mixed reactions (I’ve seen it about 10 times, so it’s probably safe to say I like it), but most critics agreed – the best thing about Velvet Goldmine is the music.
Standout tracks performed by ’90s artists include the gorgeous, melancholy ballad “2HB” by Venus in Furs (aka Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood with David Gray, Bernard Butler and Andy Mackay from Roxy Music) Grant Lee Buffalo’s rollicking “The Whole Shebang,” and “Hot One,” a slow-building, irresistible come-on from Shudder to Think. The newer tracks mix well with the old school, like Reed’s immortal “Satellite of Love,” T. Rex’s “Diamond Meadows,” and Eno’s “Needle in the Camel’s Eye.” Check out a few clips below.
[Click to continue and comment]