1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 406

The Crow OST, by Various Artists
Suggested by Stuart Legg

Sarah, my wife, loves The Crow.

It’s one of her favourite films, or at least it was when we met some seventeen years ago. Time changes all things, of course. When I was eleven, my favourite film was The Last Dragon, a martial arts comedy about a black Kung Fu prodigy from Harlem called Bruce Leeroy, so I know all about the development of taste.  I’m unsure where she stands on The Crow’s artistic merit these days, but as a lot of her love for the film was down to the particular talents of Michael Wincott aka Top Dollar, I presume her opinion is unblemished.

I quite like The Crow. The film is a supernatural gothic masterclass, full of overblown and ludicrous performances, along with frenetic and fun action sequences, and a legitimately harrowing on-set incident that resulted in the death of the star. The Crow has Cult Classic written all over it, on every metric you’d care to mention.

Bizarrely, the soundtrack doesn’t have the same weight.

It’s a fine collection of songs. And I can’t fault the flow, as the songs feel as if they organically grow from each other to present a coherent story. It sweetly slinks from Goth into Industrial Rock into Punk into Heavy Metal and Thrash, before deconstructing back to Goth and eventually ending with a ballad. Nothing feels odd or out of touch, and it’s a complement when I say that the songs all sound the same. By that I mean that it’s a cohesive sound, a curated and considered collection, and in that aspect this soundtrack is flawless.But aside from the last track, Jane Sibery’s haunting ballad It Can’t Rain All The Time, I feel there’s very little that hangs this particular music onto this particular film.

This springs from an unfamiliarity with the source. I’ve seen the film a handful of times, but it’s not burned bone-deep into my life. Sarah placed that I was listening to the soundtrack as she sashayed past my desk during track one. That knowledge comes from multiple watches, and discussions with other fans, and devouring media on the film’s storied history. My knowledge is “I like when he squirts the lighter fluid in the shape of a crow,” or “Brandon Lee died in this bit, right?” So I hear the fine songs by decent bands like The Cure or Nine Inch Nails of Rage Against The Machine or Pantera, but I can’t staple them to the cinematic images or sequences they undoubtedly underscore.

Looking dispassionately, some songs are more misses than hits. The obscure covers do nothing for me, with the bankable Rollins Band delivering the uninspiring Ghostrider. Oddly, the marquee bands that I’d expect to excite are far behind the two tracks that I’d say stand straighter than the rest: Machines of Loving Grace’s Golgotha Tenement Blues and After the Flesh by My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult, with the latter winning the coveted standout spot.

Will I re-watch the film? Definitely. The soundtrack will heighten my enjoyment here, but it’s a stretch to say that the songs successfully inform the visuals. It gets a passable 6/10, but it’ll be a while before I fire it up, fire it up, fire it up again.

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