Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 116: Soundtrack

After two straight nineties concept albums I found myself in a strange place - actually craving a few pop singles. This was decidedly not like me.

Fortunately, while the next selection is the fourth straight album in the Odyssey that was put out in the early nineties, this one was loaded with pop hits from the seventies. Sweet, sweet variety!

Disc 116 is...Reservoir Dogs
Artist: Various

Year of Release: 1992

How I Came To Know It: I can't really remember. I can't even remember if I saw "Reservoir Dogs" before "Pulp Fiction" or after. I remember playing this album a lot when I got it though, goofy dialogue sections and all.

How It Stacks Up: As I've said many times (having rolled many soundtracks) I have over twenty soundtracks. I'd put "Reservoir Dogs" somewhere in the middle of those 20, but the weakest sister of the three Tarantino records reviewed so far.

Rating: 3 stars.

Something about a Tarantino soundtrack that always hits the spot. I've already reviewed Jackie Brown at Disc 30, and Pulp Fiction at Disc 102, so this is the last of them (I don't own the Kill Bill soundtracks...yet).

As with those others, Tarantino once again shows his great ear for music that has been forgotten for too long.

"Reservoir Dogs" is a tight little film about a bank job gone wrong. Music is entertwined throughout the film, appearing in the form of a fictitious AM radio station known as "K-BILLY's Super Sounds of the Seventies", with comedian Steven Wright playing the part of the unseen DJ.

I've heard this album a lot, and of all the songs, "Little Green Bag" and "Hooked On a Feeling" best stand the test of time.

Of course, I would be remiss to not mention one of the great music/movie pairings of all time - we listen to the "Dylanesque pop bubble-gum favourite" "Stuck in the Middle With You". The song comes on the radio in the film, at the same time as we watch Mr. White (played disturbingly well by a then-unknown Michael Madsen) cut a man's ear off with a straight razor, before dousing him in gasoline.

For years afterward, you would see people dancing around imitating Michael Madsen when this song came on. It was a little bit creepy.

On this listen, I enjoyed hearing the fake DJ describing all the tracks that had "just been on" but aren't in the movie or on the soundtrack. Kind of an honourable mention of songs that didn't make the cut, but caught Tarantino's attention enough to put in the screenplay. Here they are:

"Turn the Beat Around" - Vicky Sue Robinson
"Heaven on the Seventh Floor" - (artist not cited)
"Le Freak" - Chic
"Fly Robin Fly" - The Silver Connection
"The World is A Ghetto" - War
"Billy Don't Be a Hero" - Bill Donaldson and the Haywoods
"Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted" - The Partridge Family
"Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes" - Edison Lighthouse

Put together, they could have made a second volume of movie tracks. You could call it "Reservoir Lost Dogs". Get it? Get it?

Anyway, while this album came at a good time, and has some quality tracks, it is styled around seventies AM radio. Consequently, it is a little too...AM radio...to rank higher than a three in the Odyssey.

Best tracks: Little Green Bag, Hooked On a Feeling

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