Various Artists - This Is England '90 Soundtrack - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Various Artists - This Is England '90 Soundtrack

by Jeff Penczak Rating:6 Release Date:2015-10-08

Shane Meadows’ award-winning series sunsets with a look at the gang as Margaret Thatcher resigns and the Madchester rave scene envelops the country. As with previous entries in the series, the soundtrack is peppered with contemporary tracks and snippets of dialogue, although these sound like they were recorded in a studio, not lifted straight out of the episode. The four episodes correspond to the seasons, and thankfully the producers seem to have avoided the anachronisms that occasionally plagued Mad Men by not playing a track during a season when it wasn’t actually released yet! [Excluding the puzzling preponderance of tracks by 21st century duo Toydrum.] And fans will always argue over the final tracklist, which often is limited to tracks the producers can get permission to use. Which would probably explain the omission of favourites from those office pools like The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, The Sundays, New Order, Sinead O’Connor, Ride, MBV, et. al. But soundtracks are supposed to make you nostalgic for the film/TV show and possibly encourage you to watch it again. So they’re not going to include everything that appeared, but rather a representative cross sampling.

As such, some of the more popular tunes on the radio in 1990 are here, with Manchester heavily represented by Mad ravers Happy Mondays (‘Step On’), Britpoppers The Stone Roses (the single version of ‘Fool’s Gold’; apparently Meadows’ favourite band, their reunion led to this final series’ delay while Meadow’s documented the band’s comeback in his Made Of Stone rock doc), James (‘Come Home’), and 808 State (‘Cubik’). Adamski (‘Killer’) and Beats International (‘Dub Be Good To Me’) have the electronic scene covered.

As with previous’ series’ soundtracks, reggae is omnipresent, represented by another unnecessary version of ’54-46 Was My Number’ (by head-scratching newcomer Kiko Bun), the puzzling 10cc ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, and The Scientist’s ‘The Bee’. Toss in a ringer like Billy Idol to move product (‘Eyes Without A Face’) and more boring “incidental music” from Ludovico Einaudi (frankly, filler that takes up slots that could've been better served by actual period "hits"), and you will either fondly recall what you were doing in 1990 or hastily assemble your own soundtrack of the songs they should’ve used! Not quite Now!That's What I Call Music: 1990, but it could have been a lot better.

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