Without you it's not as much fun to pick up the pieces
April 22, 2018 12:47 AM   Subscribe

In 1997, Trent Reznor put together a fever-dream of a soundtrack album for David Lynch's film Lost Highway. Over 20 years later, it still has the same power it had when first released. [If you can listen to this album as a single work rather than broken up, I recommend that.] Side A: I'm Deranged (Edit) (D. Bowie), Videodrones: Questions (T. Reznor), The Perfect Drug [video] (Nine Inch Nails), Red Bats With Teeth (A. Badalementi), Haunting & Heartbreaking (A. B.), Eye (The Smashing Pumpkins)

Side B: Dub Driving (A.B.), Mr. Eddy's Theme 1 (B. Anderson), This Magic Moment (L. Reed), Mr. Eddy's Theme 2 (B. A.), Fred & Renee Make Love (A. B.), Apple Of Sodom [images NSFW] [video] (M. Manson)

Side C: Insensatez (A. C. Jobim), Something Wicked This Way Comes (Edit) (B. A.), I Put A Spell On You (M. M.), Fats Revisited (A. B.), Fred's World (A. B.), Rammstein (Edit) (Rammstein)

Side D: Hollywood Sunset (B. A.), Heirate Mich (Edit) (Rammstein), Police (A. B.), Driver Down (T. R.), I'm Deranged (Reprise) (D. B.)
posted by hippybear (37 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
One of my fav Trent songs. And I should def give the whole soundtrack another listen. It’s been decades.
posted by greermahoney at 1:08 AM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

The conjunction of NIN Bowie and Lynch was an affirmation of my loves that made me feel like I did have a place in the world.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:27 AM on April 22, 2018 [15 favorites]

posted by From Bklyn at 3:03 AM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Great soundtrack! I always loved the story of David Lynch describing the sounds he wanted to Trent Reznor. I think it resulted in the 'Driver Down' song (at least that's what it sounds like to me):

Three minutes later, he's saying: "Well, let's go in the studio and get started." Then he'd describe a scene and say, "Here's what I want. Now, there's a police car chasing Fred down the highway, and I want you to picture this: There's a box, OK? And in this box there's snakes coming out; snakes whizzing past your face. So, what I want is the sound of that – the snakes whizzing out of the box – but it's got to be like impending doom." And he hadn't brought any footage with him. He says, "OK, OK, go ahead. Give me that sound."
posted by horopter at 3:13 AM on April 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

It would have been better had 4AD not refused to license This Mortal Coil’s “Song To The Siren”, necessitating its replacement with NIN’s “The Perfect Drug”, which does not actually appear in the film.
posted by acb at 3:28 AM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

driver down is one of my favorite reznor instrumentals, and as far as i know his only use of saxophone in a song until 2013.
posted by JimBennett at 5:55 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Such a solid soundtrack. Amazing. I bought the CD when it came out, though I can't remember why. Likely I was enamoured with The Perfect Drug. I lent the CD to one friend, and a different one returned it weeks or months later. It was passed around so much.
posted by chunking express at 7:05 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

David Lynch sucks, though.
posted by chunking express at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

David Lynch sucks, though.

What Lynch creates is definitely not to everyone's taste.
posted by hippybear at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

I believe the Song to the Siren refusal was in Blue Velvet, and that he worked with Julee Cruise for the first time as a result.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2018

Because “Song to the Siren” was not on this CD, I had to try and find it without buying It’ll End in Tears, because I was a poor freshman college student. I asked around on Usenet for availability, and someone pointed me to a newsgroup which had binaries of highly-compressed song files available.

And that’s how “Song to the Siren” became the first MP3 I illegally downloaded. (I did eventually buy the TMC CD during a freshman-year goth phase that included Sandman and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.)
posted by infinitewindow at 7:43 AM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

I wasn't that impressed with the film, but that soundtrack! Oh that soundtrack!

Listening to it in my Tulane dorm room as I smudged black eyeliner and tried to figure out what clothing would match the weather (because we weren't those East Coast Goths who wore piles of black velvet and then collapsed of heat stroke walking to the Crystal, because while all the bars and clubs were air-conditioned, the outside was not).

Biting my lip in delight as Trent Reznor swans around with absinthe and cravats in a Edward Gorey pastiche, even as QuickTime buffers.

Drinking handfuls of tap water from the disgusting ladies' room as Marilyn Manson plays because I only had $15 and most of it went to streetcar fare, getting into the club, and I'm saving $5 for coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde at 4am, getting powdered sugar on sweaty black t-shirts.

Man, I know what I'm listening to tomorrow at work, wearing all black and dark lipstick, remembering my old goth days.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:45 AM on April 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

The Barry Adamson stuff on this album got me to buy two more albums. Super sinister and jazzy. An intersection I don't think has been sufficiently explored. His recent stuff is good too.

I was also heavy into the drum n bass scene at this point, and loved Bowie's take on the subgenre (the title track is edited heavily for the soundtrack - here's an extended remix). Listening to Earthling after this was a disappointment. And while I could care less whether I hear the Marilyn Manson or Rammstein stuff again, this soundtrack convinced me their creative output held some value. Thanks hippybear!
posted by SoundInhabitant at 7:46 AM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Wow, I had forgotten about this. I bought this CD from one of those 8-CDs-for-a-penny-if-you-buy-3-at-regular-price scams because there was very little on the selection list I cared about, but I was in the most intense David Bowie obsession point as a teenager that happened to coincide with that period just before Earthling through just after Reality when all his old stuff was out of press, so literally anything available I would buy if I could. The vocal-forward version of I'm Deranged is arguably the superior version, though.

Still have not seen the movie.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:13 AM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

That was the first time I heard a Rammstein song and I had to buy Herzeleid next.
posted by sukeban at 8:27 AM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've always thought "I'm Deranged" was an underrated Bowie classic. When those first synths kick in at the 30 second mark, they alter the whole melody, recontextualizing the menacing opening bass line and suddenly making it emotionally expansive. Every time I hear it I appreciate it.
posted by Beardman at 8:47 AM on April 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

Never saw the movie, but listened to the soundtrack a ton.
posted by Foosnark at 8:58 AM on April 22, 2018

The conjunction of NIN Bowie and Lynch was an affirmation of my loves that made me feel like I did have a place in the world.

Then I hope you're aware of the NIN remix (which actually occurred in several versions) of Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans", one of my favorite latter-day Bowie songs. It's not directed by Lynch (the credits are to "Dom and Nick"), but it is quite good, and has Reznor in it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Then I hope you're aware of the NIN remix

Oh god the rabbit hole is much deeper than that. NIN opened for Bowie on his Outside tour and they did a set together as a transition (no break between opener and main act), and here is that transition. It's not the version I was searching for but there it is. It's literally Bowie and NIN performing together, as they did throughout 1995.
posted by hippybear at 10:01 AM on April 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Definitely a fine soundtrack.
posted by doctornemo at 10:01 AM on April 22, 2018

And honestly, Bowie singing harmony on Hurt may be the best version of reality that has ever existed.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2018 [8 favorites]

I was already a fan of Lynch's movies, NIN, and Bowie, and remember seeing Lost Highway when it came out, really enjoying the Reznor/Bowie collaboration in the soundtrack. It just made so much sense for those two to work together. I was initially annoyed by the movie, how arrogant it was to make this movie that didn't make any sense. I think my comment upon exiting the theater was "great style, but not much substance." But I couldn't stop talking about it for the next few days, and actually went to see it in the theater a second time, and grew to really appreciate it. Ever since then I've been "all in" when I watch Lynch's creations, even his more abstruse, eye-roll inducing stuff. Lost Highway has a fantastic soundtrack.

When Bowie passed, I was really moved by this article: Trent Reznor Reznor Recalls How David Bowie Helped Him Get Sober
posted by ethical_caligula at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Love this soundtrack. The other 'mixtape/sound collage' soundtrack by Reznor (that I know of, anyway) is the one for Natural Born Killers, also great. I know Reznor didn't invent this style of soundtrack, but I don't think anyone's done it better.
posted by Bron at 1:24 PM on April 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

as far as i know his only use of saxophone in a song until 2013.

I'd tell you to listen to Purest Feeling but I'm not sure you'd thank me.
posted by Candleman at 1:35 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: Trent has never had The Perfect Drug as part of a NIN setlist because he's afraid the drummer would die.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Even more fun fact: Ron Zertnert.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:36 PM on April 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd tell you to listen to Purest Feeling but I'm not sure you'd thank me.

i guess i meant officially released stuff. i believe he also busted out the sax for his sets with bowie on the Outside tour.

i actually really dig parts of Purest Feeling (the album) but yeah that song is dire. i think i’ll always prefer the demo version of Down In It with the horror movie samples and even whiter white boy rap.
posted by JimBennett at 3:47 PM on April 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I figured Trent wouldn’t play The Perfect Drug because it is an absolutely awful song, maybe the worst out of his entire discography. I still like to listen to it, but man, it’s really bad. And the video was even more hilarious. Trent as pre-professorial Severus Snape. In fact that song sounds like Snape wrote it immediately after Lily hooked up with James.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:21 PM on April 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yes, a fantastic record!
posted by turbid dahlia at 9:02 PM on April 22, 2018

the perfect drug is a parody of a NIN song, i mean the lyrics y'all. and then the beat is all "hey everybody, have you heard of this new drum n bass thing? It's cool!"

i still love it
posted by eustatic at 1:30 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

LMAO. YES, that is exactly it. It is a cliche from beginning to end.

I always felt like Starfuckers, Inc. was the song TPD originally tried to be, at least musically.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:12 AM on April 23, 2018

Trent as pre-professorial Severus Snape Since the movies came out years later, I thought it was the other way around.
posted by bdc34 at 6:09 AM on April 23, 2018

The first Harry Potter book and TPD were released within months of each other, with the book having been started years before, so I can’t see how that would be possible.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:57 AM on April 23, 2018

(I just watched the video for the first time in ages. So much why. Why is he halfway behind a curtain? Why is a guy in black knee socks lying underneath a giant pepper shaker? How’d you get the Vampire Armand to agree to be in a video?)
posted by Autumnheart at 10:03 AM on April 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Even more fun fact: Ron Zertnert.

It's hard to believe that his real name is a real name, to be honest.
posted by atoxyl at 12:50 PM on April 23, 2018

Lost Highway continues to be my favourite film, profoundly flawed as it is. The soundtrack is a big part of that. I remember walking out of the cinema and going pretty much directly to a record store to pick up the soundtrack.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:23 PM on April 23, 2018

It throws me off big time when I go inside a bar and there's an air conditioner that says REZNOR on it.
posted by gucci mane at 9:10 PM on April 29, 2018

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