The Singles Soundtrack: The Seattle Scene, Grunge Bands, and one legendary album
In whatever form you bought the Singles Soundtrack, be it vinyl, cassette tape, CD, 8-track, mp3, iTunes, whatever, in your hands did you hold the key to the early 90s grunge band / alternative rock era.
Citizen Dick makes an appearance on the Singles Soundtrack in 2017. Finally.
The stories that circulate around this album are legendary. Like how Chris Cornell wrote actual songs for the fake song titles on Citizen Dick’s in-movie album. Songs like Flutter Girl, Missing, and Nowhere But You, and, epic Soundgarden tune Spoon Man.
Cameron Crowe’s film plays in perfect harmony with these songs. I can’t imagine a world in which the Singles Soundtrack doesn’t exist. These aren’t B-sides, this is top shelf, raw musical power.
We are talking luminious hits that don’t even appear on their band’s official albums at the time of the soundtrack’s release such as Would? by Alice in Chains, Drown by The Smashing Pumpkins and State of Love and Trust (played 377 times live) and Breath (played 82 times live) by Pearl Jam.
The bands featured on the Singles Soundtrack
Are not only household names (or were becoming them at the time), they are all-timers. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Heart, and Pearl Jam are all members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Those who aren’t? Still global icons: Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Epic records scored massively with this album, even if it’s only certified as double platinum.
I give the Singles Original Motion Picture Soundtrack a 10⁄10
Earth shattering. The Haley’s Comet of musical soundtracks. Not because there hasn’t been a more complete soundtrack (Forrest Gump comes to mind), but because most of the bands and their songs on the album were emerging as Singles was being filmed and released. Hell, Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament were IN the movie.
Like Ski School instructor Karl in Aspen Extreme, I give the Singles Soundtrack an extra 10.
- Would? - Alice in Chains
- Breath - Pearl Jam
- Seasons - Chris Cornell
- Dyslexic Heart - Paul Westerberg
- The Battle of Evermore - The Lovemongers
- Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns - Mother Love Bone
- Birth Ritual - Soundgarden
- State of Love and Trust - Pearl Jam
- Overblown - Mudhoney
- Waiting for Somebody - Paul Westerberg
- May This Be Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Nearly Lost You - The Screaming Trees
- Drown - The Smashing Pumpkins
Singles Original Motion Picture Soundtrack notes
Would? - Alice in Chains
Raw power. How ELSE would you start the album?
Would? that is how.
Alice in Chains appears performing in the film. The video above is pro-shoot footage from the filming of the Singles.
Interesting to note, Alice in Chains started as Alice N’ Chains and were a hair metal band. Wild.
Breath - Pearl Jam
A simply masterful grunge rock song, Pearl Jam’s Breath leaves me
Harmonics over a huge bass riff gets me every time. Such crisp drums.
OHHHHH OHHH REACH THE DOOR! A BREATH AND A …
This song is huge live. Last time I saw it was night 2 in 2016 @ Fenway Park. Just massive.
RUN AWAY MY SON … SEE IT ALL … OH SEE THE WORLD!!!
Pants’s boy Jeff Ament is gargantuan all over Breath.
Best line of Breath: “oh, if i knew where it was i would take you there but there’s much more than this”
OH SEE THE WORLD!
I am truly astonished that Breath didn’t make Ten. Which brings us to State of Love and Trust …
Seasons - Chris Cornell
Pants and I were lucky to have heard this live in 2016 at Madison Square Garden when Temple of the Dog reunited.
12 string guitars are most triumphant. Cornell only wrote two types of songs: really good ones and even better ones. Guy was a master of his craft.
Seasons is a mighty fine tune.
Dyslexic Heart - Paul Westerberg
If it weren’t for Breath and State of Love and Trust, Dyslexic Heart would be my favorite song on the Singles Soundtrack.
Paul Westerberg writes one of the most fun songs I’ve ever heard in Dyslexic Heart. The beat, the chord progression, the slide guitar work, the stellarly clever lyrics, the Nah Nah Nah Nah’s … all righteous.
I implore you to watch the video and try not to sing and dance maniacly.
Hey kids, it’s (balding) Jeremy Piven shirtless all over the Dyslexic Heart video!
The Battle of Evermore - The Lovemongers
The Wilson sisters of Heart, Ann and Nancy, take their talents to acoustic six strings, rolling out arena rock style Led Zeppelin tune, The Battle of Evermore.
The voice. Ohh the voice. You just can’t beat the voice of Ann Wilson. It’s like a video game turbo boost, just pure vocal ascension.
In the spirit of fairness, Nancy is/was awesome.
The Battle of Evermore occupies the 3 spot, right between second hitter Rock and Roll and cleanup hitter Stairway to Heaven on Led Zeppelin IV.
I can see a scene like the Samuel Jackson Beer skit from Chappelle, where Sue Ennis is like, “I’d like to cover some Fleetwood Mac”, and Frank Fox is like, “I’d like to do The Eagles”, and then the Wilson Sisters are like, “We are doing Zep!”
And then Ennis is like, “You know something, I’ll do Zeppelin, too!”
And Cox is like, “Me three!”
Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns - Mother Love Bone
Chloe Danger/Crown of Thorns was huge in the film. Andy Wood, Ament, Gossard, and crew sit squarely in the middle of the Singles Soundtrack. The death of Wood led to one of the greatest albums ever made in Template of the Dog (self-titled).
You can hear Pearl Jam rhythms and songwriting across Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns due to the musical influence of Stone and Jeff. Mother Love Bone is/was a large part of Pearl Jam’s history, speaking of Stone and Jeff.
Love the piano work of this song.
Chloe don’t know bettah!
8 minute and 15 second (commercial) rock songs were not fashionable in the 80s.
Kevin Wood apparently recorded a version of Chloe Dancer in 2011. Interesting. Will have to track it down.
Birth Ritual - Soundgarden
Birth Ritual literally kicks on some reverse delay (pedals) to get things started before charging into a thunderstorm. Early Soundgarden was a bit harder than the Black Hole Sun, Day I Tried To Live, Pretty Noose days.
70s/80s metal vox here. Love it.
Cameron, Shepherd, and Thayil lay down stellar hard rock riffage.
Rin-jin! Rin-jin! RITUALLLLLLL!
Thayil with furiously tapping notes and the wah pedal in the guitar solo.
Alt-metal at its finest.
State of Love and Trust - Pearl Jam
Heroic riff. Major drums. Determined and ass kicking guitar layered over the chords.
The might of State of Love and Trust is physically palpable. State of Love and Trust makes me rid the world of tyranny and opression, stage glorious sports comebacks, and punch every Biff Tannen on Earth straight in the jaw.
… And BTMFD! C’mon, Pookie!
Mike McCready’s guitar leash snaps and he uncorks a solo caught in between righteous and most triumphant.
Because I’m supercharged with the Autobot matrix of leadership whilst listening to Pearl Jam and this song, I will share with thee the chords to State of Love and Trust.
Pearl Jam drummer, Dave Abruzesse nails the tune, probably the hardest hitting drummer the band ever had.
How to play Pearl Jam’s State of Love and Trust
This will only get you to Stone Gossard level. To get to McCready microwave, ultra facemelt, you need to actually know how to play.
F Am C G Am B C D
F A C G A G F D
TRIGGER SHAKES … AIMED RIGHT AT MY HEAD!!!
Overblown - Mudhoney
Overblown is punk, grunge, blues with a hint of surf (my take, maybe not yours). Mark Arm has a great voice for grunge, and Turner, Lukin, and Peters play grunge gold on Overblown.
Long Live Rock’n’Roll! HEY HEY HEY!
Waiting for Somebody - Paul Westerberg
Fantastic tune. Paul Westerberg is like an ever so slightly punk Tom Petty.
Waiting for Somebody is featured heavily throughout the movie.
Love the guitar riff in between the Ah Ha Ha part(s).
Tasteful guitar solo parts, the guitar porridge is just right.
May This Be Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi, doing Jimi things. Riffing. Exploring the fretboard. Making noise. Being Jimi. Kicking ass, even on a slower tune.
Interesting choice to put on the album.
You can hear this song, but don’t get caught listening to Jimi …
Nearly Lost You - The Screaming Trees
Nearly Lost You was constructed at The Grunge Factory. It sits squarely in the middle of the genre.
Pretty sure this tune was part of WAAF’s T.N.T. (Top Nine Tonight) when a neighborhood buddy won.
90s grunge bands loved wah pedals, probably in homage to the 70s classic rock heros they were weaned on.
Drown - The Smashing Pumpkins
There seemed to be some controversy, as there always is with singer, Billy Corgan, over Drown getting released as a single and the record company choosing The Screaming Trees’ Nearly Lost You instead.
But, that turns out not to be the case, with Drown getting some serious airplay across the nation.
Drown really nails its status as a prequel to 1993’s rocket ship of an album, Siamese Dream. You can hear the foundations of what would become Cherub Rock, Today, Rocket, and Quiet.
Final thoughts on The Singles Soundtrack
From the bad ass bass riff intro of Would? to the scratchy feedback outro of Drown, The Singles Soundtrack steps up to the plate and absolutely smokes a homer out of Seattle’s Kingdome.
Just incredible that this all came together. The movie. The soundtrack. The explosion of grunge and the Seattle Scene.
Not enough good things to say. A+