Various Artists – Boogie Nights: Music From the Original Motion Picture: #601 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Various Artists - Boogie Nights - Music From the Original Motion Picture

So why is the Boogie Nights soundtrack on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

As it so happens, I recently listened to a marathon two-part podcast (on the outstanding The Rewatchables) about Boogie Nights, and was reminded what a remarkable achievement it is.

The music of course is a big part of the movie’s success. And from the purely myopic standpoint of this here best 1,000 albums ever project, the Boogie Nights soundtrack is kind of a goldmine in terms of aggregating a number of fantastic and eclectic musical gems spanning a unique period of pop cultural history across the late 1970s and early 1980s.

And one of those gems happens to be the comically amazing song, “The Touch,” which Mark Wahlberg’s iconic character, Dirk Diggler, sings in the midst of a cocaine-hazed montage spanning some dark years during the early ‘80s. You can hear “The Touch” in the second half of a two-part track that’s packaged with “The Big Top (Theme From ‘Boogie Nights’)” on the soundtrack.

You got the touch… you got the pow-err!

Another incredible thing that I did not realize until very recently is that “Brand New Key” by Melanie is on the soundtrack. It’s a perfectly pretty and ultra-earnest little ditty that was a folk/country hit back in 1971.

There’s something kind of… let’s say catchy about “Brand New Key,” which the ingenious sketch comedy troupe, The Kids in the Hall, latched onto when they rebooted their own iconic series on Amazon Prime in the spring of 2022.

Michael Stipe from R.E.M. exultantly sings, “I’m gonna DJ at the end of the world!” on “I’m Gonna DJ,” off of Accelerate. Well, in The Kids of the Hall’s third episode of the new season, Dave Foley plays a post-apocalyptic disc jockey performing to an audience of zero from a bunker. And he has precisely one song in his record collection to delight the (lack of) masses with which, you guessed it, is Melanie’s “Brand New Key.”

As we hear the song over and over again throughout the episode while we watch an exquisitely morose Dave Foley, the entire bit just gets weirder and funnier.

There are so many rabbit holes to go down when it comes to Boogie Nights, suffice-th to say. When it comes to the music, it’s the hippie jam that is “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon and War, the ebullient disco of “Machine Gun” by the Commodores and “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead, and the epic cheese rock of “Livin’ Thing” by Electric Light Orchestra and “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger that work incredibly well as part of one of the great movies of the past quarter century or as a standalone listen.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with the Boogie Nights soundtrack

As you can tell by the above, I’m a huge fan of Boogie Nights. I think it’s a masterpiece, and by far Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film to date.

I have very mixed feelings about the rest of the movies of his that I’ve seen*. Magnolia, released in 1999, is outstanding, but I haven’t really loved any movie that PTA has directed since. This will equate to fighting words for PTA fans, and I get it. I’ve only seen There Will Be Blood once, and I thought elements of it worked well but for me it didn’t build to a greater whole. I need to revisit it eventually for sure.

* As you might be able to tell from my Best 100 TV Shows Ever, I’m more of a TV person than a movie person, though I try to see as much as I can of everything.

And I simply didn’t care for The Master or Phantom Thread at all. Found them alienating and uninteresting. Honestly, I may just be more middlebrow than highbrow in my artistic tastes. Who knows?

I did greatly enjoy about the first 30-40 minutes of Licorice Pizza and felt some of the old Boogie Nights magic in its tale of another young man’s coming of age journey in 1970s SoCal. However, I felt the rest of the movie meandered more than journeyed in terms of getting the audience from one place to another.  

Some stats & info about the Boogie Nights soundtrack

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Movie Soundtracks, Disco, Dance Music, Pop Music, Rock Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was the Boogie Nights soundtrack released? 1997
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #601 out of 1,000

The Boogie Nights soundtrack on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from the Boogie Nights soundtrack that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

You got the touch, you got the power. When all hell’s breaking loose, you’ll be riding the eye of the storm.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.