Absolute Beginners – The Musical (V2386) (1986)

The Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Absolute Beginners movies/soundtrack. With teeth bared, those were the three bones New Musical Express gnawed on at length during my initial year in the UK. But if NME found it tricky not to fall over themselves with superlatives for the two former phenoms, the latter proved somewhat more divisive. I remember a contemporary Lowry cartoon that illustrated this well. To paraphrase: Two blokes are shown discussing the movie. “I hate that Absolute Beginners.” “Yeah, me and all. Have you seen it yet?” “Nah.” “Me neither.”

Though some of it’s rotten of course, the album’s not too bad for something that is someone’s idealised version of a cool past which didn’t really exist and says more about the time it came from than the time it was supposed to be about. If you see what I mean. Then-hot Langer and Winstanley use “Jazz” string bass and vaguely Latin American percussion to colour the proceedings and add coherence to a project of diverse performers and writers. It certainly sounds more of a piece that many movie soundtracks. The Bowie title song is good in a way that has more in common with Diamond Dogs’ theatricality of than the phoned-in commercialism of Tonight.

I bought the cassette version when it came out. It had several more songs than the Lp, though I hadn’t heard it for years until I found this in Ashford.

Not to be outdone...here's my 1986 paperback movie tie-in copy of the Colin MacInnes novel--posed on the inner sleeve of the soundtrack album!

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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