Trainspotting, the soundtrack.

I first watched Trainspotting (1996) in my last year of school. We were studying it in our media class and it’s fair to say I absolutely fell in love with it.

Trainspotting was the highest-grossing British film of 1996 and 10 years on it’s still as good as ever. 

After its release, it became the fourth highest-grossing British film in history.

Many people will have come across this ‘franchise’ through an array of formats whether it was the novel, film, or soundtrack, and even though it was the film that introduced me to this heroin-filled, Scottish world, it was the soundtrack that I clung to.

Both soundtracks from Trainspotting and Trainspotting: T2 are best-selling albums, and in their own right I must add, but it is the original that this post is centered upon.

The soundtrack for Trainspotting has become a massive pop culture phenomenon and its songs are divided into 3 groups that represent different styles and eras throughout music history:

  1. Pop music from the 70s. Artist in this category are those who are closely linked with heroin and drug abuse – Iggy Pop, 
  2. The Britpop era of the 90s – Blur and Pulp.
  3. Techno-dance music of the 90s – Bedrock and Ice MC.

This soundtrack has gone on to receive some very well deserved recognition. In 2007, Vanity Fair ranked the Trainspotting original soundtrack at #7 for best motion picture soundtrack in history, 11 years after the film was originally released. It was also ranked #11 /100 by Entertainment Weekly on their best movie soundtrack list and #17 /25 by Rolling Stones in their best soundtracks of ALL TIME article in 2013.

All of these credentials show us how well thought out this soundtrack was and how it worked perfectly for and with the movie itself.

Around the time Trainspotting was being filmed and released (1995/96), there was a major change happening in the British music industry. This time saw the rise of Britpop, even though old fashioned pop was still rooted in the British culture. The Spice Girls were gaining popularity and Oasis were still dominating but there was a shift happening where music was changing from live sounding guitars to a more digitalised and electronic beat.

The aim for the Trainspotting soundtrack was to do something in a way that had never been done before, to champion the alternative music legacy of 1996 Britain with a focus on presenting electronic music on equal footing with rock music.

The film marketing campaign was extremely different to any low budget British film of its time. In the UK alone, they spent £850,000 – half as much as the film’s production costs. This made the film look like a Hollywood blockbuster rather than a small British production. 

The success of this film and soundtrack, you could say then, rests on this massive marketing gamble that took place, and I am so very thankful that it did for this soundtrack is one of the best, and a favourite, to which I have ever listened too.

If you have never watched Trainspotting or listened to it’s soundtrack, I would seriously recommend that you do and I hope that you enjoy both just as much as I do.

Song of the Day: Lust for Life – Iggy Pop

Why? It’s the backing music for the infamous ‘Choose Life’ opening scene from the original Trainspotting.  

Gigspiration: Bastille

Gigspiration will be a blog series where I let you know how I enjoyed different bands and their live shows.

I don’t want to write reviews as such but it’ll be my reaction to the night from a music lover and fans point of view.

I’ll start with a few gigs from last year and make my way through to my most recent.

Who: Wild Wild World Tour – Bastille

When: 31.10.16

Where: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Rating: 4.5 / 5.o

I was persuaded to buy these tickets when I told my brother I had my first pay day from my summer job and he said that he had already bought his tickets so I should go too. And I did.

I do not regret buying them for a second.

This gig was probably one of the best I’ve been too since I attended my first one with my Mum back when I was 14.

I’ve been to concerts at the Motorpoint arena before and sometimes the crowd seems so big compared to the stage and it’s hard to get into the music properly.

Fortunately, Bastille decided to have a mini island stage at the back of the crowd so it felt a hell of a lot more intimate which I think the entire crowd seemed to enjoy.

Dan (Bastille’s frontman) and the others on stage really interacted with us and during ‘Rhythm of the Night’ even got us all down and bouncing waiting for the drop so we could all jump and dance together. It’s not much, but it makes you feel like they really appreciate us all there.

As a build up to this song, which Dan performed on the mini island, he danced his way through the crowd, singing along with us all, being a part of the experience with us, just to get to the tiny stage. He was at one end of the crowd with the rest of the band on stage and all of us in the middle singing our heart out to one of the best showmen about.

The set list as a whole was immense. All of their top songs from this album and their debut made an appearance, making sure that we all knew at least one song.

And the graphics on display on the massive rectangular screens that hung above them were just as impressive.

I think the thought that got me was how much they had put into this whole tour, not just our Cardiff show. It’s obvious that this is what that band loves doing and they definitely do not disappoint at all.

The only reason I deducted a 0.5 from the score was only down to me not really have listened to their second album as much as I should have so whenever they were playing more recent tunes, I couldn’t enjoy them as much as the hits from the first album.

I will not forget this night in a hurry. All I remember is shouting-singing the songs with a smile on my face while jumping up and down with all my friends.

I seriously suggest going to see Bastille live if it’s a headline tour or at a festival of some sort. Do not miss the experience of watching them.

Song of the day: Rhythm of the Night – Bastille

Why? When I was watching them play this in the arena it was one of them moments where you had to be there to really understand the experience. I could never fully explain how good this song was live. It was insane and one of my favorite moments of my life so far.

Different Creatures – Circa Waves

‘Different Creatures’ has been the anticipated second album for Circa Waves since the success of their debut album, ‘Young Chasers’ was released in 2015.

Growing from an up and coming indie band, known for their summer loving hits, to a solid brit band has been an impressive turnaround for the 4 Liverpudlian lads.

This new album has gone and absolutely changed the way I see Circa Waves as a band. Last year I’d put them on to give my summer days a soundtrack but their newly released songs are filled with meaning and depth, which is something I would never have thought I’d say about them.

Having obviously grown, musically and lyrically, as a band over the past two years, Circa Waves have matured and given us an album to really think about.

With themes of their songs ranging from alcoholism to the refugee crisis hitting the UK, the album is a real hard hitter, cementing this album in the British industry.

Being a fan since before their debut album release, this album came as a real surprise to me. I didn’t know what to expect really but these thought provoking songs was not it. I’m saying all of this in a positive light and I actually prefer what they’ve done. By showing their maturity and confidence in standing up and taking these subjects to the public eye shows their passion for other aspects of life as well as just their music.

Even though this album is darker than the first and a lot more guitar forward, Circa Waves are showing that they’re ready to really progress as a band and to eventually become a headlining act to be reckoned with.

Song of the day: Fire that Burns – Circa Waves

Why? I love it and it’s super catchy.

My love of vinyl.

I have been obsessed with getting my own record player ever since I saw my parents’ record collection coming down from our attic a few years ago.

A year ago last Christmas this dream of mine came true, along with the start of my very own record collection.

To me, a record is one of the most precious forms of music we have. They had me hooked from the first time I heard the wonderfully satisfying crackling noise coming from the speakers, that anticipation before the tracks begin.

The fact that records have returned to the public eye and are actually selling is probably one of my favourite things to have happened over the recent years. Seeing current artists releasing records is super cool because it gets younger generations involved in the vinyl world too.

I mean, people are actually going out and buying records now. Supermarkets stock them again for the first time in ages. We’re seeing soundtracks as records, the classics making a comeback, and just people’s love of music coming out to play once again.

My record player is a luxury to me, an object that I miss dearly when being in university. Not bringing it with me was a choice I made to make sure it wouldn’t get ruined. But the weekends I am home are ones where I wake up on a Saturday morning pick out 2 or 3 of the records that I’ve missed a little bit more than the others – it varies weekly – and either lay in bed hypnotised by the music playing over me or dance around my room in an oversized pyjama top.

But I suppose the only downside to this is when you dance a little too hard and make the vinyl jump. Both Oasis albums of mine have ended up coming to this fate. A little scratch never hurt anyone though and I know exactly when to expect it now.

It’s when you get more than one scratch that the issue properly arrises but it wouldn’t be a record if you didn’t get the odd jump here and there. It’s what makes a vinyl so unique I suppose, having to care for it and look after it more than you would a CD or any other modern music format.

I’d like to think that others are starting to dust off their records and playing them again because I feel as though a record means so much more than if you were to listen to it online.

Like I mentioned, a record isn’t just a form of music that you can get at a touch of a button and you have to look after it to get the best result out of it. It may cost a little more than a CD but you’re paying for the artwork involved on the sleeve, the actual vinyl itself and the experience of placing the needle on the edge and watching it spin as the first track begins. To me, all of that is worth the extra couple of pennies.

Song of the day: Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Why? ‘Rumours’ was one of the first records that I had listened too and even though all the songs are wonderfully amazing, ‘Go Your Own Way’ is a classic in its self.

The Wombats: 10 Years On

One of my all time favourite albums turns 10 this year (!!!), and I still can’t quite believe it, so today I’ve decided to reminisce.

The Wombats’ debut album ‘A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation’  was released in 2007.

Although I didn’t discover the band until I was 15, 5 years after the initial release, this album helped me a lot through my latter teen years and it quickly became one of my most listened to.

I’m not sure why it had such an impact on me, maybe it was the fact it was completely different to the music I was listening to at the time. There was something about it that made me constantly listen to it.

The super catchy tracks – Kill the Director, Let’s dance to Joy Division, Moving to New York being my favourites – remind me of a time when I used to (and still do) dance around in my room, singing my heart out and not really caring about who was listening.

The escape these songs gave me was important at that stage in my life too. I would question and doubt things about myself, my body, my grades at school and get myself down for no reason (like every teenage girl would), and knowing I had a kind of happy place where I could go and take a step back just made things easier.
The lyrics in the songs were the most relatable I had ever heard. They were fun, different and totally real, and still put a smile on my face when I go and listen to them now. I think that for the first time, I understood the songs I was listening too.

The fact the album consists of songs about love, loss and desperation related to what I was going through. I was still growing up, still learning about how different emotions made me feel and this album gave me everything I needed in that period. The stories and concepts put my experiences into context and also gave me different perspectives on puberty, romances (etc.) and how it would affect me. Adolescence was difficult and this album was my kind of safe haven.

Whenever I go and listen to the album now, it’s almost like an old friend that I haven’t seen in years and as soon as ‘Tales of Girls, Boys and Marsupials’ starts playing I just know how good the next hour or so is going to be.

Song of the day: Kill the Director – The Wombats

Why? It was the Wombats’ first full single. Plus, it was the first track I learnt all the words to.

My Blog: Music

Why did I choose music for my blog?

Music is probably the one topic I feel most comfortable writing about. I have been a musician all my life and when it comes to it I just understand it and  know what’s going on.

With Mum being Irish and Dad being Welsh,  and both coming from a traditional musical background,  I have been fortunate enough to grow up to appreciate a whole range of different music genres from traditional music to the absolute classics.

Everyone in the house plays at least one instrument and I’m pretty confident in saying that there’s probably one kind of instrument in every room in our house.

That being said we’re all into different music genres, my favourite being a more indie rock/pop kind of thing. But that’s not to say I only like and listen to that genre, it’s just the one I listen to the most, my go-to genre as such.

The idea for my blog is to just chat about music, the gigs I’ve been to over the last and next couple of months, opinion pieces on albums/singles, any anticipation that’s been building around a band/album, festivals, and any newsworthy stories that have come about that fancy talking about.

Hopefully I’ll publish one or two more posts in the next couple days just to get the blog up and running.

See you soon.

Song of the day: Young chasers – Circa Waves

Why? Well because it’s the inspiration behind my blog name of course. Plus it’s one of my favourite tracks on Circa Waves’ debut album, Young Chasers (2015)