October 15, 2002

Various Artists "24-Hour Party People"

Soundtracks are often unsatisfactory creations, especially if the movie has a lot of music in it. Take Goodfellas, for example. Tons of great music in it, but the sountrack? Barely lasted 30 minutes and it hardly scratched the surface of what was on the film. Sure, if you do it right, a soundtrack can be a classic album all by itself (witness such records as Hairspray, Pump Up the Volume and Valley Girl, to name but three), but most soundtracks aren't perfect.

I have mixed feelings about the soundtrack to the music-related movie 24 Hour Party People. Sure, the film's about Tony Wilson and his fabulous Factory Records, but the soundtrack...seems like it was put together rather tenuously, because there are some things that just seem wrong. Number one: too much Joy Division! Lord, do we really need to hear Ian Curtis four times (not to mention the three other appearances of New Order) with Moby filling in for the guy on a fifth song?. No, we don't. While I can understand the importance of the Sex Pistols, The Clash seem a bit incongruous. And where are A Certain Ratio, Stockholm Monsters, Ludus, or Section 25? Why the neglection of Durutti Column? Sure, he has one track on the album (a later recording, not quite as magical as those early ones), but if this is the guy for whom the label was started, why is he so..overlooked? And how come the brilliant Shaun Ryder's Happy Mondays only get three tracks? There should be MORE Ryder...the man's a genius. I really wonder about the people who compiled this record. Do they know of the label's storied past, or were they simply looking to make a commercial, "let's not scare people with new sounds and ideas that they might not like because we don't like them" type of record?

Aside from the Joy Division overkill, despite the weaknesses of such a limited selection of artists, 24 Hour Party People is a great, fun record. Sure, it's top-heavy in places, but that doesn't take away from the fact that songs like "Temptation," "24-Hour Party People," "Loose Fit" and hell, even "Blue Monday" are totally brilliant, fun to listen to, and are some of the most intelligent songs ever produced from those mythical days called the 1980s. I put this on my car radio and I loved every moment of it. It's great music to listen to..if you program out all those Joy Division songs!

--Joseph Kyle

No comments: