As Kevin noted in his introductory post, this year’s Rocktober theme, “best/worst albums,” is somewhat enigmatic and wholly subject to the personal whims of each CG contributor. For me, a best/worst album is an album that that I love in spite of (and perhaps because of) its myriad faults. It’s not a guilty pleasure, an ironic statement, or something I hide in shame when my friends come over.
No, I own that shit – like I own The Crow OST.
At the time of its release, The Crow OST enjoyed heavy airplay, awards consideration, and even briefly hit number 1 before being unceremoniously replaced by Ace of Base’s The Sign (a record that could never earn the “best” part of the best/worst tag). However, while I bought the soundtrack during the height of its popularity, it was the next summer that earned it a permanent spot in my musical consciousness and this illustrious Rocktober entry.
I spent a good chunk of the summer of 1995 at my grandparents’ ranch painting fences and cutting weeds in the ungodly inland Northern California heat. My only companion on those long afternoons was a portable stereo with sporadic radio reception and the three cassette tapes I had seen fit to bring with me from home. Two of those tapes were undeniable classics – Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York and Soundgarden’s Superunknown – and the third was The Crow OST.
It could be argued that I only love this album because I listened to it approximately 8700 times in a few short months (and that may be true) but really, what’s not to love? The Crow OST boasts a murder’s row of 80s and early 90s talent: Nine Inch Nails, STP, The Cure, Violent Femmes, Rage Against the Machine, Helmet, and Pantera all contributed tracks (not their best songs, but still…). Hell, I had never even heard of the Jesus and Mary Chain or Rollins Band before I listened to Snakedriver and the epic "Ghostrider". Looking back on it, the combination of Post-Nevermind radio grunge ("Big Empty"), pop-goth/industrial ("Dead Souls", "Burn, After the Flesh"), and overly earnest emo ("It Can’t Rain All the Time") was a bit of an odd fit for a sun blasted field in rural California but I still dug the hell out of it (and it definitely beat listening to Rush Limbaugh on the local AM station).
Now, I can’t deny that there’s a heavy dose of nostalgia at work with this pick. For better or worse, these days I would be more likely to dismiss a popular soundtrack getting heavy out of hand than to give it an honest listen. In fact, I’m not even sure that I’d love The Crow OST if I came upon it for the first time today. But none of that matters and it doesn’t change the fact that, whether you’re listening on a ranch or in an office; on a tape deck or an Ipod; at age 16 or 32, The Crow OST still rocks.
Or if you prefer