Monday, June 8, 2009

(Various) - "Until the End of the World" (LP Review)

Julee Cruise covering an Elvis Presley song. Elvis Costello covering a Kinks song. Duets with Kate Pierson & Michael Stipe, and Jane Siberry & k. d. lang. Artists like Neneh Cherry, U2, Depeche Mode, Can, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads recording with the same "sound." If these things sound intriguing to you, then you should love the "Until the End of the World" soundtrack. I saw the film once at the Naro Cinema (probably in 1992) after I already had fallen in love with the LP. I can't honestly say I understood the film (I suppose I should give it another try), but fortunately the soundtrack does not depend on the film.

This is the LP that really turned me on to soundtracks as a genre; this is the LP that I measure all other soundtracks against. The most amazing part of this LP is that all of the songs (except for U2's eponymous song) were unreleased and new for this LP, yet it sounds like they were recorded specifically for this LP (many of the songs were subsequently released on later LPs). Despite the range of artists, the songs are united by a hazy, desolate other-worldly feel. Taking the track listing from wikipedia:
  1. Graeme Revell: "Opening Theme" (Revell) (Solo cello performed by David Darling) – 1:59
  2. Talking Heads: "Sax and Violins" (David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth) – 5:18
  3. Julee Cruise: "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears" (Jack Lloyd, Ben Weisman, Fred Wise) – 2:37
  4. Neneh Cherry: "Move With Me (Dub)" (Cherry, Cameron McVey) – 2:58
  5. Crime and the City Solution, "The Adversary" (Bronwyn Adams, Simon Bonney, Chris Haas, Alexander Hacke, Mick Harvey, Thomas Stern) – 5:32
  6. Lou Reed: "What's Good" (Reed) – 5:07
  7. Can: "Last Night Sleep" (Malcolm Mooney, Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, Irmin Schmidt) – 3:35
  8. R.E.M.: "Fretless" (Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe and featuring Kate Pierson) – 4:49
  9. Elvis Costello: "Days" (Ray Davies) – 4:49
  10. Graeme Revell: "Claire's Theme" (Revell) (Solo cello performed by David Darling) – 0:51
  11. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: "(I'll Love You) Till the End of the World" (Nick Cave) – 4:38
  12. Patti Smith and Fred "Sonic" Smith: "It Takes Time" (Smith, Smith) – 5:00
  13. Depeche Mode: "Death's Door" (Martin Gore) – 3:53
  14. Graeme Revell: "Love Theme" (Revell) (Solo cello performed by David Darling) – 0:45
  15. Jane Siberry and k.d. lang: "Calling All Angels" (Siberry) – 5:11
  16. T-Bone Burnett: "Humans from Earth" (Burnett) – 3:07
  17. Daniel Lanois: "Sleeping in the Devil's Bed" (Lanois) – 3:50
  18. U2: "Until the End of the World" (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.) – 4:33
  19. Graeme Revell: "Finale" (Revell) (Solo cello performed by David Darling) – 0:58
Only Lou Reed's song, "What's Good", sounds out of place. I'm a Lou Reed fan, and its not necessarily a bad song, but the start to finish enjoyment of the LP is enhanced if you skip this song.

The strength of "The Adversary", probably my favorite song on the entire LP, caused me to spend a good bit of time hunting up copies of two other Crime and the City solution LPs: "Shine" and "The Bride Ship". I remember being disappointed that they were not as good as the song "The Adversary", but I should probably give them another try (I can't seem to find them right now).

This LP also turned me on to artists like Jane Siberry, whose 1993 LP "When I was a Boy" I'll review in the future.

After I had this LP, I purchased a copy of another Wim Wenders soundtrack: 1988's "Wings of Desire". Despite some of the same artists (like Crime and the City Solution), it is not nearly as good.

Standout Tracks: "Sax and Violins", "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears", "Move With Me (Dub)", "The Adversary", "Fretless", "Days", "(I'll Love You) Till the End of the World", "Death's Door", "Calling All Angels", "Humans from Earth" (a slightly different version), "Sleeping in the Devil's Bed", "Until the End of the World" (also a slightly different version). I'm not kidding, they're all that good.

Skip 'em Tracks: "What's Good".

Final Score: 10/10

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