Can the T2 Trainspotting soundtrack live up to its iconic predecessor?
The T2 Trainspotting soundtrack faces a Herculean task. The new collection will forever be compared to the original Trainspotting soundtrack; an album that became a cult classic, defined a generation and took on weight of our collective nostalgia. It almost goes without saying that this new album doesn’t capture the spirit of 2017 in the same way that the Britpop-stuffed original caught the spirit of 1996. Bloody hell though, it has a right good go.
Like the original, this one opens with Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life’, though it’s remixed by the Prodigy. Out with the freewheeling spirit out youth, in with claustrophobic, electronic buzz of the remix. You could argue that Trainspotting was a film about youth. Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlysle) got fucked-up, flogged smack and made all manner of mistakes, but at least they youth on their side. There was time to turn it around. Set 20 two decades later, the sequel explores the fall-out of all this. Fitting, then, that this soundtrack should open with the sound of the walls closing in.
The new bands featured, Wolf Alice and Young Fathers, slide into the Trainspotting world in different way. The former band’s guitar-driven track, ‘Silk’ (memorably featured in the T2 trailer), is a muted affair that, in the last third, blossoms with a heady, melodic flourish. It sounds joyous, defiant, even optimistic. The film explores the bleak side of life, but it’s also filled with vitality and moments of pure joy. Experimental hip-hop group Young Fathers, meanwhile, represent both Edinburgh and the film’s trippier moments. The swirling psychedelia of ‘Get Up’ conveys determination to have a good fucking time, no matter what. ‘Only God knows’, written especially for the film, featuring the Leith Congregational Choir, is more melancholic, with lyrics that explore the secret lives we all lead.
There are nods to the past – Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’ and The Clash’s ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’ – but it’s the newer music that really stands out. Fat White Family’s ‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’ flies the freak flag, proving we haven’t all turned into craft beer drinking bell-ends. Like the film it accompanies, the T2 Trainspotting is nostalgic but new, paying homage to its heritage while saluting brilliant new British music. In other words: choose T2.
Release date:: January 27, 2017
Record label:: Polydor