Various Artists – Trainspotting: Music From the Motion Picture: #470 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Various Artists - Trainspotting - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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

The Trainspotting soundtrack does an exceptional job at conjuring a hyper-specific mood from various musical genres that would not seem to ordinarily fit very well together. Godfathers of punk Iggy Pop and Lou Reed meets Britpoppers Blur and Pulp meets dreamy trip hop and electronica in Primal Scream and Underworld?

Oh yes. It’s no wonder that this became the soundtrack that everyone seemed to be listening to on CD (on repeat mode) by the late ‘90s, replacing the likes of Pulp Fiction and Swingers.

And speaking of repeat mode, “Born Slippy (Nuxx)” by Underworld was part of the soundtrack of my days living in the UK (more on this below), which seemingly could be heard at every pub I would frequent. The Trainspotting soundtrack features two Underworld songs, and I far prefer “Dark and Long – Dark Train,” a nearly 11 minute-long track that is trance-y and exciting and clubby and chill all at once, somehow.

There are also two Iggy Pop tracks – and it should be noted that this soundtrack did much to turn on a new generation to Mr. Pop’s musical output. “Lust for Life” is almost a cliché these days (though still great, of course), so I’ll call out the wonderfully bleary “Nightclubbing.”

That song maps well to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” which haunts and delights me in equal measure just a tiny bit more every single time I listen to it. It’s kind of a masterpiece for my money.

Blur’s “Sing,” off of Leisure (#609 of best 1,000 albums ever), is a slightly trippy, ethereal gem of a pop number.

Finally, I’m a massive fan of Elastica’s debut album, and we get the great “2:1” here.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with the Trainspotting soundtrack

Trainspotting is one of those movies for me that I hold in high regard, but don’t really feel the need to revisit these days. It’s probably mostly to do with the depictions of addiction and heroin use, which gets rather harrowing at times.

The film’s director, Danny Boyle, is one of the best in the business. He’s also directed well known, critically acclaimed movies such as Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later. I’m also a massive fan of an early film of his called Shallow Grave, which is a taut, nasty little thriller. Also, bonus that a young Ewan McGregor is in it*.

* And for yet another really good and fun collaboration involving Boyle and McGregor, check out A Life Less Ordinary, which among other treasures features a Top 10 Beck song, called “Tropicalia.”

Boyle has also directed a bunch of things for television. I’ll specifically call out that he directed the first three episodes of Trust, which is way up there for me in terms of great TV shows that hardly anyone has seen (and in fact, Trust made my “Best 100 TV Shows Ever” list, coming in at #95).  

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to the Trainspotting soundtrack

In late 1996, I moved to England. I had managed to get a job over there both through a connection at a summer job I had in the U.S.* and as part of a Work in Britain program that I was at the tail end of eligibility for after graduating from college.

* The office job, on Long Island, New York reminds me of the drab, bleak, soulless office culture depicted in the iconic 1999 movie, Office Space, to an extent that I still find astonishing (and mildly horrifying).

Living and working in England was a grand adventure, though I was a bit lonely and homesick in the beginning – it would help of course that my pal Nirav joined me after about six weeks or so, followed by Adam heading over from New York a few months later.

During one of my first weekends of working outside of London in Kent, I went to Maidstone to pass some time, and it was a picturesque autumn day in a beautiful, small English city. I wound up seeing the movie Brassed Off, which featured a… you guessed it, young Ewan McGregor. It was likely in part because I was feeling lonely, but I recall feeling greatly moved by its depiction of blue collar English life.

Okay fine, one more Ewan McGregor anecdote for you.

I started blogging in 2004, and shortly after joined a blogging community called Blogcritics, which would end up having a substantial impact on my life and career (super short version: I wound up helping to run it, which helped lead to a career in digital content and product management).

One of the very first things that I blogged about – though these days I would simply say that I “wrote about” – is a really fun docuseries called Long Way Round. It’s about McGregor and his friend and fellow actor Charlie Boorman motorcycling their way around the globe. I highly recommend it if that kind of thing turns you on.

Some stats & info about the Trainspotting soundtrack

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Movie Soundtracks, Compilations, Electronica, Britpop, Rock Music, Alternative Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was the Trainspotting soundtrack released? 1996
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #470 out of 1,000

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

Just a perfect day, you made me forget myself. I thought I was someone else, someone good.

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.