Trainspotting 2: Why We Love A Good Soundtrack

Alex Slater /
Jan 19, 2017 / Film & TV

Trainspotting is one of the most greatest films of all time. It’s truly a masterpiece – as is its soundtrack.

When it comes to great soundtracks, every film that has one needs that staple song. In Inception people only remember the great ‘bwawwwwwww’ moments, because it’s the staple ‘song’ – if you can call it that.

Born Slippy is Trainspotting’s staple.

After watching the film for the first time, I added the song to my playlist expecting it to be a song I obsessed over for weeks and weeks. It wasn’t. It didn’t feel the same without Sick Boy, Renton or Begbie on screen. That’s what makes Danny Boyle’s selection of this song so good, it works, pure and simple, within the film.

The distortion in the core of the song makes for a reflective feel; whilst the rest of the song is upbeat and pacey. This mix between fast pace and moment’s of reflection perfectly matches the plot, and traces the highs and lows of Renton as he views the world through his drugged-up philisophy.

Ultimately, the film ends on reflection, with Renton walking away, deciding this was his new start. We know this, not because we are told directly, but because of the sound.

Of course, this song is now synonymous with Trainspotting, you hear those notes strung together in their distorted fashion and bingo, you’re thinking of Trainspotting. But obviously, it’s not just Danny Boyle who’s been able to produce this response to a simple song.

Meet Pulp Fiction, another film that rises above the rest of the multi-million dollar generic world, but is known all over it. The film’s title isn’t even needed; just the first chords of a song named Misirlou should do it.

Those distinct rapid fire chords will make anyone think of suitcases, foot rubs and narcotics – okay that just sounds like a Banker’s day off.

Pulp Fiction is one of many films that do this of course; more and more franchises are using it to make their mark around the world. Most successfully, Guardians to the Galaxy, who enjoyed a wealth of praise for their 70’s soundtrack featuring classics like Come and Get Your Love and Hooked on a Feeling. It was magical, how a whole generation of marvel fans who hadn’t even considered 70’s music before, became engrossed with the songs featured in the Marvel franchises latest addition, this sound track went truly global.

There is of course, Drive’s sound track, which offers great company to the mood of the film with Real Human Being, the definite staple for the film, bringing in the electronic vibe of the song as a recurring theme.

Fun fact: Drive’s soundtrack legitimately set my old schools speakers on fire.

It’s magical, how a sound track can truly make a film memorable, and make it the kind of film people talk about more than just the once after they’ve watched it. I’ve been in shops before and Born Slippy has come on over the speakers, sparking conversations about how bloody great Trainspotting is.

But more recently, those conversations haven’t revolved around the film of the past, but rather the one on the horizon. Trainspotting 2, Danny Boyle’s daring attempt to reinvigorate a classic 20 years later, whilst hoping to avoid second movie syndrome.

However, from what we know so far, Boyle is going about things in the right way, and the one thing that makes us sure of that, is the soundtrack.

Over the past few months, a flurry of trailers and snippets of one of the most anticipated releases of 2017 have come out. Showing the world a sample of what is to be revealed on the 27th of January, as well as a song to rival Born Slippy in the world of Trainspotting.

Silk by Wolf Alice makes the cut for every single trailer I’ve seen of T2, this, is the new staple song for the franchise and my god does it work. In the longest of the trailers, Born Slippy serves the emotional parts, the old faces returning, the re-integration of Renton, but then, as we’re given a glimpse of them all returning to drugs and possibly the absurd life they used to live all those years ago, we hear something new.

Silk kicks in to add a new momentum we haven’t seen before in the film’s universe. All of a sudden, action comes in, and the reality of the life these boys choose to live becomes obviously to us again like it was in the first film. However, this time, the song changes our perspective, the beautiful pacing of this song with the trailer, the addition of drums half way through, and the echoed voice generates a feeling of awe, not sympathy.

Awesome, in the purest sense of the word – that is the direction of Trainspotting, that is what its second iteration will add, more than just a dodgy deal in a hotel bed room. This film will offer, rather than a sense of impending doom, a reason, to ‘choose life’.

All this, from a bloody great song over a bloody great trailer.

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Words by Alex Slater

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