As details of the soundtrack for Trainspotting 2 are released, Getintothis’ Banjo wonders how it will compare to its illustrious predecessor.
In 1996 when Trainspotting exploded into our cinemas, the world was a very different place to the one we find ourselves in today. Britpop was taking over and Cool Britannia was just around the corner. Dance music had dominated the globe with superclubs in their heyday and a Labour government months away from sweeping into power with a huge majority,
Fast forward to 2017, and Trainspotting 2 finds us in a very different place, with a majority Tory government, Britain to leave the EU and one of the planet’s most annoying and possibly most dangerous people voted into the US President’s chair.
The perfect storm of cultural resonance the original Trainspotting rode has been replaced, but depending on the film’s themes and situations, it may well have chanced upon another appropriate social and political setting that will suit and bolster its impact. Whereas the first film rode on a wave of optimism and self belief, its successor looks set to land as our worst pessimistic fears become our waking reality.
One of the main striking features of Trainspotting was the way it used music as one if its core features. Whereas most films would use music to quietly to score a scene, Trainspotting featured songs loudly played and as an integral part of the action. It is hard to think of the scene where the film’s characters Renton and Spud are being chased down Edinburgh’s Princes Street without featuring the pumping sounds of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life accompanying the action.
The soundtrack and its songs enjoyed something of a symbiotic relationship, as Underworld’s Born Slippy re-entered the charts following the film’s release, giving the band their highest chart entry, with the song peaking at number 2. Lust for Life followed suit, gaining its first chart placing in the wake of the film’s success, reaching number 26.
So successful was the film’s use of music that the soundtrack regularly performs well in best of polls, such as in Vanity Fair where it was ranked 7th. This means that the soundtrack for Trainspotting 2 has a lot to live up to; the bar has been set worryingly high by its predecessor.
There are a couple of nods to the original soundtrack, in that Underworld rework Born Slippy into Slow Slippy and Lust for Life again features, this time remixed by The Prodigy. It is tempting to imagine a redone chase scene soundtracked by an Iggy/Prodigy track, playing loud and proud as the film’s opening act.
Other than that, Trainspotting 2 seems to mix tracks old and new as well as it’s now 20 year old parent by including tracks from The Clash and Frankie Goes to Hollywood and then moving forward to include Wolf Alice and High Contrast.
Young Fathers would appear to be the big winners here, with three songs on the soundtrack, although whether the Trainspotting effect will work its magic again with regards to chart positions and we will have to wait and see.
What situations the film’s main characters will find themselves in this time remains to be seen. We can see from the Tracklisting that Underworld team up with Ewan Bremner (who plays the character of Spud in the film) to record a track called Eventually But (Spud’s Letter to Gail), Gail being Spud’s girlfriend in the first film. So we can assume that we will also see what has happened to some of the old characters in the intervening years, although we can probably safely assume that it hasn’t all been good.
Whether the new soundtrack will achieve the status of its forerunner it is too early to say. Few would have predicted such a thing back in 1996, but the incredible success of both film and soundtrack can clearly not be denied.
The full tracklisting is:
2. High Contrast – Shotgun Mouthwash
3. Wolf Alice – Silk
4. Young Fathers – Get Up
5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
6. Underworld / Ewen Bremner – Eventually But (Spud’s Letter to Gail)
7. Young Fathers – Only God Knows
8. The Rubberbandits – Dad’s Best Friend
9. Blondie – Dreaming
10. Queen – Radio Ga Ga
11. Run D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevis – It’s Like That
12. The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’
13. Young Fathers – Rain or Shine
14. Fat White Family – Whitest Boy on the Beach
15. Underworld – Slow Slippy