Trainspotting's Five Greatest Musical Moments
Trainspotting became a vital part of '90s pop culture after the Danny Boyle-directed film, based on the book by Irvine Welsh, was released to critical acclaim 20 years ago.
One of the many great things about the film was its soundtrack, which largely showcased the quality of British indie and dance music of the time. Acts like Pulp, Blur, Elastica, Leftfield and Primal Scream featured, but it was the following five tracks that we felt were most striking in the context of the film.
Iggy Pop – 'Lust For Life'
Trainspotting's opening scene features Renton's (Ewen McGregor) brilliantly bitter "Choose Life" monologue underpinned by the slamming post-punk of Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life'. The anxious energy of the song and Iggy's own bitter rambling sits perfectly with the scene that's being set and has gone on to become one of the most iconic things about the film.
Brian Eno – 'Deep Blue Day'
Given the scene's putrid nature, you'd be forgiven for not recognising what music is playing when Renton visits the "Worst Toilet In Scotland". When Eno's 1983 track 'Deep Blue Day' hits, it contributes to a strange sense of calm as the antihero discovers a clean, peaceful world and, more importantly, his opium suppositories.
Underworld – 'Born Slippy .NUXX'
The only song that had as much of an impact on the film as Iggy Pop's opening track was by UK prog-house monsters Underworld. The track is somewhat incongruent with the theme of the scene (which we won't spoil) but that makes it all the more effective. Trainspotting made the track a hit and catapulted Underworld’s music into clubs and minds around the world.
Underworld offers another vital piece of the soundtrack, the urgent 'Dark And Long (Dark Train)' adding an extra element of discomfort to the classic "baby scene"
Sleeper – ‘Atomic’
Renton's in the club, cruising to hook up. Heaven 17's 'Temptation' blares new wave pop through the room as he wanders across the dance floor, attracting the interest of no one. Then, the song stops. Sleeper's cover of the Blondie’s 'Atomic' starts with that classic guitar riff as a woman catches Renton's eye..
Lou Reed – 'Perfect Day'
The true meaning behind Reed's 'Perfect Day' has been long-debated. Whether or not it's about his drug use doesn't make it any more or less brilliant as a musical framework for Renton's overdose. The song sounds sweet on its surface, but hearing the line "You're gonna reap just what you sow" as you see Renton lying almost dead on the hospital gurney really brings out its darkness.