Trainspotting 2: Soundtrack

How do you recapture the zeitgeist of an era which is as magnetising, as it is alien to the youth of today?

Twenty years on since Trainspotting tore up the rules of British film, this was the mammoth task facing masterminds Danny Boyle and Irvine Welsh as they sought to match the effervescence that existed for the soundtrack of the original.

So, in the final scene of T2, when the caustic, intoxicating bassline of Lust for Life launches itself at you with all the ferocity expected from a Prodigy remix, all that is left to do is appreciate their ability to evoke the same euphoria the song radiated back in 1996.

Iggy Pop’s cult-classic is strictly intertwined with the opening scene of the first movie, but the revamped edition revs it up into another stratosphere. The thumping opening two bars of the song are blasted whenever Renton has a recollection of his old hedonistic lifestyle, conveying the exhilaration it contained. The way it is subtly teased throughout helps generate suspense until the climax where Renton loses all inhibitions, immersing himself in the music.

Fat White Family’s Whitest Boy on the Beach is another highlight. Their boisterous, ragged style, similar to Palma Violets, is refreshingly stripped back.

Wolf Alice haunt on their stupendous track Silk, which fits like a glove as a backdrop to the despair and nihilism which fractures every character at some point. But Ellie Rowsell’s unique capacity to lurch from one end of the vocal spectrum to another is showcased in the tone change from the dark, yet soothing timbre of the opening verses to the soaring high notes of the uplifting:

“My love it kills me slowly,

Slowly I could die.

And when she sleeps, she hears the blues,

Sees shades of black and white.”

It doesn’t channel the attitude of invincibility synonymous with the first film. Instead, it encapsulates the narrative’s light and shade, replacing the zest and verve with the tinge of melancholy that comes with chasing yesterday.


Feature photo courtesy of the IMDb website