Trainspotting 2: A New Soundtrack

Published On 10/11/2016 | Editorial

Danny Boyle’s movies are well known for their heavy reliance on soundtrack. In interviews on the subject he has referred to the songs he uses as though they themselves were characters in his films. Many of his greatest cinematic moments hinge around an iconic piece of music. Whether it be taking something familiar and subverting it’s context (see Bill Withers’ Lovely Day in 127 Hours) or hitting the audience with something relatively recent and securing it as a classic. Boyle is not afraid of making bold choices and that’s why his soundtracks are so popular in an age when most movie scores get overlooked.

The original Trainspotting is perhaps the most iconic soundtrack of them all (and certainly the most iconic of Boyle’s movies). So whilst everyone is asking themselves what the movie sequel will be like, we sat and wondered what would a modern electronic equivalent to the soundtrack would be. Who is the modern answer to Blur or Primal Scream? Where the fuck are Underworld? Who the hell are Wolf Alice? So many questions…

Track One – Opening Scene

Lust For Life

You may have realised by this stage that this article is based entirely on conjecture. There’s nothing wrong with conjecture. However, occasionally it’s nice to throw in some logic. Looking at the trailer for T2: Trainspotting it seems pretty clear that Boyle will be sticking with Iggy Pop’s classic track for his opening scene. Not only does it tie together the two films thematically but this track was also already a classic in ’96 and remains one to this day. We’re gonna leave this one as is.

Track Two – Toilet Scene

Operation Costs

Brian Eno is, by all accounts, a bit of a hero. Any self respecting muso, whether indie-pop, avante-garde electronic or pretty much anything in between is probably a little bit in awe of Eno. These are hard boots to fill. The particular track used in the original toilet scene (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRjskbf87hw) has a particularly soothing, laid back atmosphere. Lusine’s 2009 track “Operation Costs” has more of a groove obviously but retains that feeling of diving head first into a toilet. Of course whether or not Renton will be diving into a toilet in the sequel remains to be seen.

Track Three – Club Scene

Vision of Love

The club scene where Renton first meets Diane opens wth New Order’s futuristic new wave track “Temptation” and then switches to Blondie’s classic “Atomic”. Both of which work perfectly against the darkly lit, seedy backdrop. But what would Renton be likely to hear walking into a similar club in 2016? Certainly something with the same high energy but also a romantic theme. Maybe this banger from the Bicep boys.

Track Four – “Sing”

Drone Logic

Blur’s “Sing” doesn’t feature too heavily in the original score but just enough to drive some energy into the narrative. Daniel Avery’s music is a much more intense in your face experience but builds momentum and tension in a similar sense. The single Drone Logic with it’s swells of arpeggios certainly evokes more scenes of our main protagonists being chased around the streets of Edinburgh.

Track Five – Overdose Scene

Let It Happen

Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” is the perfect accompaniment to the overdose scene. The song was of course written about heroin use by Reed who had a long history with the drug. It’s impossible to find a modern day equivalent with quite the depth of back story or quite the iconic voice of a generation. This recent single by Australian psych-rock outfit Tame Impala does maintain the bitter sweet melancholy of the original scene whilst upping the tempo a couple of notches for the ADHD generation.

Track Six – London Club Scene

Au Seve

This scene features the classic quote “1,000 years from now there’ll be no guys and no girls, just wankers”. Renton arrives in London which is depicted with a deliberately abrasive montage of the mundane, juxtaposed with overly enthusiastic 90s house music from Bedrock featuring KYO. So the modern equivalent needs to also be loud, brash and just a little bit over the top. Queue Julio Bashmore with his infectious and pumping single “Au Seve” released back in 2012. Much like Bedrock’s original this track forces you to pay attention and doesn’t relent on the pumping bass laden with vocal samples.

Track Seven – “A Final Hit”

Departure

Towards the end of the original album is where you’ll find the real heavy hitters. UK duo Leftfield’s dubbed out techno track “A Final Hit” offered the perfect soundtrack to Renton’s blissful disorientation. Moody and ominous and at the same time somehow inviting, a modern track of this calibre doesn’t come along every day. If any recent artist where to come close it would have to be Deadbeat. His combination of dubbed out effects and driving 4/4 grooves with a healthy basic channel influence thrown in creates a mood about as close as we can find to the original.

Track Eight – Recurring Theme

I Exhale

If each track in Trainspotting is indeed a character of it’s own, then “Born Slippy” is the star of the show. Recasting the main actor is by no means easy. This recurring piece of music is synonymous with the movie itself. Much like Moby’s “Porcelain” featured in The Beach or MIA’s “Paper Planes” from Slumdog Millionaire, this track was already a hit beforehand but undoubtedly wouldn’t have become such a classic without being put on the big screen. Danny Boyle regularly includes Underworld in his films so it stands to reason he would go back to them for T2 and it just so happens the duo released a new record more recently than you may have thought. This year in fact. Whether this new single stands up next to the biggest of their career is debatable but it’s certainly true that no one else can emulate what these guys do.

So that’s how we’d score it if we were in Danny Boyle’s shoes. A modern interpretation for a whole new generation. What tracks would you put in? Let us know below.

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