Various Artists - Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

by D R Pautsch Rating:9 Release Date:2017-05-19

You probably have a favourite music centred film.  One where the soundtrack is a work of genius and the music is the whole essence of the film.  If you loved grunge, Singles is that film, that soundtrack is your soundtrack. Cameron Crowe’s story of singledom in Chicago is so intertwined with grunge that many of its key players are in the film not just as musicians but as actors.  The fact that’s it's 25 years since this film was released, it is being celebrated in a new, enhanced soundtrack with a second disk of extra tracks and live versions.  This includes the Poncier EP (named after Matt Dillon’s lead character from the film) by Chris Cornell.

The soundtrack itself contained some touchstone moments from grunge acts that weren’t Nirvana.  Front and centre was Paul Westerberg with his first solo efforts since The Replacements. However, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney and Pearl Jam also bring their A game.  State of Love and Trust is a Pearl Jam staple that was left off their debut album and this soundtrack might have the best recorded version.  Mudhoney’s Overblown is one of the greatest self aware moments of the grunge era. Soundgarden also contribute their offcut Birth Ritual which is one of Cornell’s strongest vocal performances.

The extra disk has a solo version of Spoon Man, live versions of many of the songs from the first disk and alternate versions of the Westerberg numbers.  It’s interesting to hear all of those versions but by far the best addition is the Poncier EP.  Cornell did this as a joke but it’s a moment of brilliance from one of rock’s most original voices.  That the re-release comes at the same time that Cornell’s voice was silenced is even sadder. His passing shows that when you have some demons, no matter what your status they cannot be silenced.  Cornell was an artist who tried throughout his career to innovate and whilst it wasn’t always welcomed or successful, the voice he had was so instantly recognisable you could forgive him.  Seattle has a habit of leading front men who die too young and on an album with Jimi Hendrix and Mother Love Bone, Cornell has joined that group.

Singles is a bittersweet film which has one of the best original rock soundtracks that has been released.  Its re-release is a welcome one with enough here to warrant the reinvestment.  The irony of its timing though will weigh heavily upon it and the resurfaced Cornell material.  A great album but a greater artist we have lost. 

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
  • James Gerard

    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Awesome review! I agree with your comment on the poignancy of this release; hands down one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard.