Album Reviews

Wonderland OST

( UK release date: 12 April 2004

Sometimes, just sometimes, a soundtrack comes along that leaves its accompanying feature far behind. Cringe-worthy teen-scream flick I Know What You Did Last Summer, for instance, was a poor excuse of a movie, but boasted an eclectic and exciting soundtrack. I’m not too sure where I’m going with this, given that I haven’t even seen Wonderland yet, but I do know that its soundtrack is all kinds of great.

Wonderland is a forthcoming Boogie Nights sound-a-like about the life and times of John Holmes, a legendary figure in the porn industry. Val Kilmer portrays him, so we may just expect something special from the film. If we’re lucky, it will live up to its soundtrack, which is fun and filthy in equal measures.

A great mix-tape apparently starts off with a real attention-grabber and then takes the tone down a notch. The Wonderland OST doesn’t strictly adhere to this, but the opening pairing of Korn‘s Jonathan Davis‘ sinister interpretation of Neil Diamond‘s classic Love On The Rocks and T-Rex‘s infinitely euphemistic 20th Century Boy is an inspired one. Davis’ predatory voice seems to have picked up a irresistible charm, reminiscent of Marilyn Manson, but, somehow, far sexier. 20th Century Boy, of course, needs no explaining.

As early as track three, then, you are hooked. The tracks are reeled off, consistently dark and seedy, and as a cohesive element they conjure a strange sense of sweet shame, as if you are doing something you shouldn’t. The Cars‘ Good Times Roll remains the best version of the song, despite many bands trying their hand at a cover (Powerman 5000, Stephen Malkmus), whilst Duran Duran‘s Girls On Film has never sounded so filthy thanks to a saucy sandwiching between Iggy And The Stooges and Roxy Music. Bob Dylan‘s custom blues make an appearance, as does the poignant Patti Smith.

Not all the tracks are widely-known, some aren’t even particularly credible (see Billy Joel), but everything here, if listened to in order, is fresh. The soundtrack is period yet eclectic, dipping back into pools of music rarely cited today.

I can think of no better way to ease yourself into the likes of Terry Reid, Dobie Gray and Gordon Lightfoot. Moreover, it’s a remarkable hour of music, and the lyrical references alone promise a lot of the forthcoming movie.

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