Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Crow (1994)

The idea of the leading gothic, industrial and punk/metal bands contributing new tracks for a cool film based on a comic book hero come back from the dead looks great on paper—especially if that piece of paper had the Billboard charts printed on it, where this soundtrack soared to #1. In hindsight, The Crow simply arrived at the right time, as albums by The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails and Pantera had themselves recently occupied the #1 and #2 positions. There are a handful of good original songs on here, including an honest-to-goodness hit with Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty,” but mostly this is the sort of stuff that showed up as bonus tracks on EPs and CD singles: covers (“Dead Souls,” “Ghostrider,” “The Badge”), alternate versions (“Milktoast,” “Darkness”) and songs that might have missed the original album cut (“Burn,” “Golgotha Tenement Blues,” “After The Flesh”). It’s an interesting mix, but I would recommend buying almost any single album from one of these artists over this sampler. I found myself skipping ahead to some tracks (“Darkness,” “After The Flesh,” “Time Baby III”) and ignoring the rest of it. For example, the opening “Burn” is the same smoldering stuff that appears in spades on Cure albums, and covers by NIN and Pantera add nothing to what they’ve already accomplished with Downward Spiral and Vulgar Display. The soundtrack to The Crow remains an interesting collectible as a crystallized portrait of alternative 90s rock in its ascension, only it’s no diamond in the rough. As a soundtrack, it’s a crowning success, but as an album of original goth/industrial/metal music it’s nothing to crow about.

The Songs
1. THE CURE: Burn (Robert Smith/Simon Gallup/Boris Williams/Perry Bamonte) (6:39)
2. MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE: Golgotha Tenement Blues (Scott Benzel/Mike Fisher/Stuart Kupers/Thomas Melchionda) (3:58)
3. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS: Big Empty (Dean Deleo/Scott Weiland)     (4:55)
4. NINE INCH NAILS: Dead Souls (Ian Curtis/Peter Hook/Bernard Sumner/Stephen Morris)  (4:52)
5. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: Darkness (Rage Against The Machine/Zack de la Rocha)   (3:41)
6. VIOLENT FEMMES: Color Me Once (Gordon Gano/Brian Ritchie)     (4:10)
7. ROLLINS BAND: Ghostrider (Martin Rev/Alan Vega)     (5:44)
8. HELMET: Milktoast (Page Nye Hamilton)     (3:59)
9. PANTERA: The Badge (Tom Roberts/Jerry Long)     (3:53)
10. FOR LOVE NOT LISA: Slip Slide Melting (For Love Not Lisa)     (5:45)
11. MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT: After The Flesh (Buzz McCoy/Groovie Mann)     (2:58)
12. THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Snakedriver (William Reid/Jim Reid)     (3:39)
13. MEDICINE: Time Baby III (Jim Goodall/Brad Laner/Jim Putnam/Ed Ruscha/Beth Thompson)  (3:50)
14. JANE SIBERRY: It Can’t Rain All The Time (Graeme Revell/Jane Siberry)     (5:34)

The Players
THE CURE: Perry Bamonte (guitar, keyboards), Simon Gallup (bass), Robert Smith (vocals, guitar), Boris Williams (drums); produced by Robert Smith, engineered & mixed by Bryan “Chuck” New. HELMET: Henry Bogdan (bass), Rob Echeverria (guitars), Page Hamilton (guitar, vocals), John Stanier (drums); produced by Helmet and Butch Vig, engineered by John Siket, mixed by T-Ray. FOR LOVE NOT LISA: Produced & engineered by Doug Carrion and Matt Hyde,, additional engineering by John Flannery, mixed by Matt Hyde. THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Produced by Jim Reid and William Reid, engineered by Dick Meaney. MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE: Scott Benzel (voice), Mike Fisher (keyboards), Brad Kemp (drums), Stuart Kupers (guitar, bass); produced by Machines of Loving Grace, mixed by Roli Mosimann. MEDICINE: Jim Goodall (drums), Brad Laner (guitar, vocals); Jim Putnam (guitar, banjo), Ed Ruscha (bass), Beth Thompson (vocals) with Elizabeth Fraser (additional vocals); produced by Brad Laner, engineered by Chris Apthorp and Richard Hasal, mixed by Robin Guthrie. MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT: Produced, engineered & mixed by Buzz McCoy. NINE INCH NAILS: Trent Reznor (performer); produced & engineered by Trent Reznor. PANTERA: Produced by Pantera, engineered & mixed by Vinnie Paul. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: Timmy C. (bass), Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), Brad Wilk (drums); produced by Rage Against The Machine, engineered by Finn Halle and Rog Patterson, mixed by Brendan O’Brien. ROLLINS BAND: Sim Cain (drums), Cris Haskett (guitars), Henry Rollins (vocals), Theo Van Rock (sound), Andrew Weiss (bass); produced, engineered & mixed by Theo Van Rock. JANE SIBERRY (vocals), Matthew Cooker (cello), Mark Gasbarro (piano), Graeme Revell (rhythm programming, keyboards), Carl Verheyen (guitar); produced by Graeme Revell, engineered by Dan Wallin. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS: Dean Deleo (guitars), Robert Deleo (bass), Eric Kretz (drums), Scott Weiland (vocals); produced by Brendan O’Brien, engineered by Nick DiDia, mixed by Brendan O’Brien. VIOLENT FEMMES: Michael Blair (drums, vocal), Victor Delorenzo (drums, vocal), Gordon Gano (vocal, guitar, violin), Michael Ramos (keyboards), Brian Ritchie (bass, vocal); produced by Violent Femmes, engineered by Jim Bartz. Executive producers: Tom Carolan, Jolene Cherry and Jeff Most. Soundtrack supervision, compilation & sequencing by Jolene Cherry and Leslie Reid.

The Plastic
Released on March 29, 1994 on CD and cassette in the US (Atlantic, 82519-2/4); reached #1 on the US charts (RIAA certified 3X platinum record). Album art direction & design by Darren Crawforth/Geezer. Photography by Robert Zuckerman.

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