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Following the fairly unknown but hugely brilliant film Empire Records, (directed by Allan Moyle and released in 1995 when Liv Tyler was still a kid and Rennée Zellweger was unheard of), the essential soundtrack was a must have.
Being massively successful within the cult grunge and pre-indie scene of the day, the music that features so prominently within the film only serves to enhance it's popularity, so having the key tracks on one CD is perfect.
The CD, also released in 1995, has a great collection of music from the film, ranging from the moody 'Girl Like You' by Edwyn Collins (reminiscent of the AJ and Corey fight scene), to the happy, go lucky Ready, Steady, Go from Billy Idol. It takes you once more through the perils and strife, the teenage angst, the thrills and spills and ultimate 'sugar highs' of the film once again - each song bearing witness to one of many memorable scenes.
Songs that feature are:
1. Til I Hear It from You - Crenshaw, Marshall
2. Liar - Hogan, Noel
3. A Girl Like You - Collins, Edwyn
4. Free - Mallari-Santiago,
5. Crazy Life - Nichols, Todd
6. Bright as Yellow - Peris, Karen
7. Circle of Friends - Griffin, Kevin
8. I Don't Want to Live Today - Ape Hangers
9. Whole Lotta Trouble - Hickman, John
10. Ready, Steady, Go - Idol, Billy
11. What You Are - Cifarelli, Lucia
12. Nice Overalls - Clayton, Greg
13. Here It Comes Again - Casanova, Paul
14. The Ballad of El Goodo - Bell, Chris
15. Sugarhigh - Shivers, Coyote
However, despite being such a great film and hugely anticipated soundtrack for me personally, I was a little disappointed due to the collection of songs chosen for the CD. Not only do some of the selected songs only feature in the film for several seconds, but other classics from the film are not in there at all such as AC/DC's If you want blood. Furthermore the finale 'sugar high' a masterpiece of the film who's repetition was expected on the soundtrack was a disappointing version on CD. Could the rights to the songs not be afforded, or did someone do a rushed job to get the CD out in time? I'm not sure. But still a good listen and a must have for all ER fans!
I'm not in the habit of buying the soundtracks to films. In fact, I only have three in my vast CD collection but the three I own are in my possession for very good reason. Not only do they contain a fantastic selection of songs, but they take me back to the film and to different times in my life when memories were happier, working 9 to 5 wasn't on the agenda and money was a luxury rather than a worry.
I still remember the first time I saw the film Empire Records. As a music lover and a young teenager at the time, it was an idyllic setting with a cast of the young, cool and beautiful. It was The Breakfast Club for my generation and I still recall sitting in my best friend's den above the garage, eating Ben and Jerry's and wishing we could work in a record store like Empire Records when we grew up.
Being a film about a music shop, the soundtrack had a lot to live up to. It was all part and parcel of the film and the selection of songs still sound fresh and modern even today. The selection of artists and tracks oozes cool with a perfect blend of indie and rock and the combination of well-known and established artists with some lesser known but perhaps very much underappreciated ones makes the album work as a fantastic whole.
The collection of songs on this CD takes me back to the generation X era in an instant and without these songs, I would have seen the film in a completely different light. It was this album that introduced me to The Gin Blossoms, ignited my love of Coyote Shivers, and had me singing Ready, Steady, Go into my hairbrush at the top of my lungs. The stand out track for me has to be Sugar High by Coyote Shivers which might even feature in my top ten tracks of all time if I were to compile one. And despite the fact that this version doesn't include Renee Zellweger, it still takes me back to the final scene of the music and the excitement of watching the film for the first time.
This is a soundtrack that captures the essence of the film. Just as the film is undeniably a cult classic, so is this selection of songs. Admittedly, there are famous tracks from the film that are omitted from this recording and purist fans of the film may feel let down but this selection perfectly recreates the mood of an era and the impact of a cult classic. Don't worry if you haven't heard of half the artists, there isn't a bum track here and the whole compilation will take you on a roller coaster of emotions that will leave you begging for more.
1. Til I Hear It From You - Gin Blossoms
2. Liar - The Cranberries
3. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
4. Free - The Martinis
5. Crazy Life - Toad The Wet Sprocket
6. Bright As Yellow - The Innocence Mission
7. Circle Of Friends - Better Than Ezra
8. I Don't Want To Live Today - Ape Hangers
9. Whole Lotta Trouble - Cracker
10. Ready, Steady, Go - The Meices
11. What You Are - Drill
12. Nice Overalls - Lustre
13. Here It Comes Again - Please
14. The Ballad Of El Goodo - Evan Dando
15. Sugarhigh - Coyote Shivers
16. The Honeymoon Is Over - The Cruel Sea
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Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Til I Hear It From You - Gin Blossoms
2 Liar - The Cranberries
3 A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
4 Free - The Martinis
5 Crazy Life - Toad The Wet Sprocket
6 Bright As Yellow - The Innocence Mission
7 Circle Of Friends - Better Than Ezra
8 I Don't Want To Live Today - Ape Hangers
9 Whole Lotta Trouble - Cracker
10 Ready, Steady, Go - The Meices
11 What You Are - Drill
12 Nice Overalls - Lustre
13 Here It Comes Again - Please
14 The Ballad Of El Goodo - Evan Dando
15 Sugarhigh - Coyote Shivers
16 The Honeymoon Is Over - The Cruel Sea