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So-so soundtrack to either brilliant or terrible film...
on 1 April 2002
Pity they didn't go for a double cd- an 'American Graffiti' for 1976-1990ish. S'pose we'll have the obligatory sequel albums a la 'Trainspotting'. The joys of banal marketing. For such a great, classy label as Factory this seems like a severely average compilation- the 'Palatial', 'Hacienda' & 'Here are the Young Men' compilations are much better. This is closer to the mass-market nostalgia of Oliver Stone's duff 'The Doors'. I s'pose Tony Wilson has been trying to turn Joy Division into the Doors for decades...
This opens with 'Anarchy in the UK'- yes, very important & very overfamiliar- something that influenced Joy Division such as Black Sabbath, the Ig or Can would have been better (though the latters 'Halleluwah' is not included for fear we may notice that Happy Mondays were startingly unoriginal). We then get a remix of the fine John Cale produced '24 Hour Party People'- either brilliant or excerable- I still can't decide!- so a bit of a blur of periods...Next up is the divine 'Transmission'- that bass, those drums, that voice, that guitar- as with the other Joy Div tracks- there is never enough, get 'Heart & Soul'. The obvious ones are here: 'Atmosphere', 'She's Lost Control' & 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. The Moby 'New Dawn Fades' is w**k- stick with the timeless original...We get Buzzcocks#2 doing 'Ever Fallen in Love'- again too obvious, couldn't we have had something from 'Spiral Scratch' or 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays'? The obviousness of this compilation is irritating- I take it that this is aimed at the film's demograph- let the cross-fertilising promotion begin?...The Clash's 'Janie Jones' made more sense in 'Bringing Out the Dead'- perhaps it would have been better to have something more local: Slaughter & Dogs for eg- The Clash are a LONDON band & don't fit with the Man/Madchester concept. They're also screamingly overrated & sloganeering...We get 'Otis' by Durutti Column, kind of typical- though 'The Missing Boy', dedicated to Ian Curtis would have been more relevant...Next up is one of the greatest tracks of all time, A Guy Called Gerald's 'Voodoo Ray'- not only one of the best Acid House tunes, but one of the best dance tunes ever & a Hacienda classic...Confusingly we go back to 1982 for 'Temptation'- which is one of New Order's finest moments, Barney sounding a bit like Ian Curtis with electronica finding its way in. 'Blue Monday' is a very obvious inclusion- tracks like 'Lonesome Tonight', 'Thieves Like Us' & 'Fine Time' would have been better choices. The turgid Chemical Bros. help out on 'Here to Stay'- which is as average as the 'Get Ready' album...Along with a remix of 'Hallelujah' we get 'Loose Fit' by the Mondays-doh!- where is their anthem 'WFL'?.We do get a great 808 State moment- 'Pacific State'..Marshall Jefferson's 'Move Yr Body' is fine- but as with 'Voodoo Ray' it's too little- check out the channel 4 dance compilation released last year regarding history of dance music.
So, a missed opportunity- the idea of encapsulating Joy Division/New Order to a single cd is idiotic in itself. Plus we could have had great tracks like 'Mickey Way' by ACR, 'Smile in the Crowd' by Durutti Column or something by Magazine ('Shot by both Sides', 'Model Worker'). Or even bands from 'Electric Circus'- such as The Fall?...Finally let's not forget that a lot of music around Madchester was either cack or The Stone Roses (the Hooky-produced 'Elephant Stone' or Sumner's Mike Pickering collaboration would have been relevant!)...Better off hunting out the original Factory compilations (the Hacienda one came out in 1997) and getting tips on what to buy from that time from books such as 'Head On' (Julian Cope), 'Nothing' (Paul Morley), 'Time Travel' (Jon Savage) & Wilson's must-buy novelisation.
Hope the film is better than the soundtrack.