Various Artists - 1998 Velvet Goldmine


ARTIST: Various Artists
ALBUM: Velvet Goldmine
LABEL: London Records
SERIAL: 314-556-035-2
YEAR: 1998


LINEUP: See Track Listing

TRACK LISTING: 01 Needle In The Camel's Eye (Brian Eno) * 02 Hot One (Shudder To Think) * 03 20th Century Boy (Placebo) * 04 2HB (Venus In Furs) * 05 T.V. Eye (Wylde Ratttz) * 06 Ballad Of Maxwell Demon (Shudder To Think) * 07 The Whole Shebang (Grant Lee Buffalo) * 08 Ladytron (Venus In Furs) * 09 We Are The Boyz (Pulp) * 10 Virginia Plain (Roxy Music) * 11 Personality Crisis (Teenage Fan Club & Donna Matthews) * 12 Satellite Of Love (Lou Reed) * 13 Diamond Meadows (T. Rex) * 14 Bitter's End (Paul Kimble & Andy Mackay) * 15 Baby's On Fire (Venus In Furs) * 16 Bitter-Sweet (Venus In Furs) * 17 Velvet Space time (Carter Burwell) * 18 Tumbling Down (Venus In Furs) * 19 Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel)

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Rock films are, by and large a difficult beast, and a film based around the quintessentially British Glam rock movement of the early 70's must have seemed to director Todd Haynes like quite a challenge.

Velvet Goldmine (a title taken from a fairly obscure early 70's David Bowie song) is a film that essentially takes the Bowie story of that period and runs with it big time, of course taking considerable artistic licence to not only suspend belief but also to piss off Mr Bowie sufficiently as to him refusing the film studio use of his music.

Velvet Goldmine is a story told through the eyes of fan/journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) who follows rock superstar Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers)... that'll do for now, no spoilers here. Go watch the movie it's well worth it.

The Songs

The soundtrack is a compelling mixture of originals as well as songs from the era covered by the cast members and assorted rock luminaries.

In terms of originals we have Brian Eno's album opener and his long lost forgotten glam anthem and Roxy Music with, of course their classic 'Virginia Plain' as well as Lou Reed's beautiful 'Satellite Of Love' which just adds to the mystique and glamour of that golden period.

Cast members Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers equip themselves very well in covering the likes of Iggy Pop and The Stooges and Cockney Rebel respectively.

We also have the likes of Grant Lee Buffalo who come up with their original 'The Whole Shebang' which could easily have been something that Bowie himself would be happy to put on his 'Ziggy Stardust' opus.

The smouldering Ballad Of Maxwell Demon from Shudder To Think is the albums highlight, for me a wonderful tribute to that glorious, flamboyant period.

The fictional band 'Venus In Furs' which includes Radiohead's Thom Yorke also deliver on 'Baby's On Fire' and 'Tumbling Down'.

All in all 'Velvet Goldmine' is a cracking overview of the Glam movement from both artists that were there at the time and also those that understood the lasting cultural importance of the genre.

In Summary

One of my favourite music based films alongside 'That Thing You Do!', 'That'll Be The Day' and 'Almost Famous', Velvet Goldmine takes me back to a time when I was discovering not only music but also asking questions about my own identity, which coincidentally was one of the films subplots.

This soundtrack album is a perfect companion to the film and does bizarrely benefit from the absence of Bowie's music.

At its time of release this was seen as essentially an 'Art House' film, it subsequently only received luke warm reviews, but has over time gained a cult following.. Yes, I'm one of them!

Without doubt an interesting curio and well worth investigation not only for the music but also to see the likes of Christian Bale and Ewan McGregor taking tentative steps in their acting careers.

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