Various Artists: Natural Born Killers Page 2

Whatever, it's an adrenalised whammy, parodying genres, using tons of different film stocks and visual techniques to create a rollercoaster of thrills and chills which the mass media just couldn't ignore, even as it was being ridiculed, especially when the news crews latched onto a bunch of real life 'copy cat' massacres in which the youthful perpetrators were supposedly big fans of the film.

But enough of the movie already. We're here to big up the soundtrack which is a genuine work of art in its own right. Curated by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, from the very outset it had aspirations beyond that of simply compiling some of the songs used in the film. Reznor, whose music accompanied some of the footage, saw the finished movie and suggested to Stone that he would 'try to turn the soundtrack into a collage of sound the way the movie used the music – make edits, add dialogue, and make it something interesting, rather than a bunch of previously released music'.

A Headbanger
Stone gave his blessing and Reznor went at it using a portable pro set-up while in his hotel room in between gigs on his band's Self Destruct Tour. When the news leaked out that Reznor was the guvnor on the project, the common consensus was that the record would be a headbanger, packed with the full-pelt industrial heavy metal goth that Nine Inch Nails excelled in. But what Reznor did was something very different, finding more subtle textures within the movie's fabric, light and shade if you will – or at least dark and darker rather than all pitch black.


The album begins with an edit of Leonard Cohen's 'Waiting For The Miracle' from the great man's brooding 1992 LP, The Future. Then it's an (im)pure hipster feast: L7's 'Sh*tlist' from '92's Bricks Are Heavy, the song Mallory puts on the jukebox before beating the crap out of the redneck in the diner, a Flood remix of Patti Smith's 'Rock 'N' Roll N***er', Cowboy Junkies' tender caress of Lou Reed's 'Sweet Jane', and Bob Dylan's previously unreleased gnarly take on the old '50s crooner 'You Belong To Me'.

While heavier stuff featured in Stone's film such as tracks from The Melvins, Marilyn Manson and Rage Against The Machine, these don't make the cut, Reznor resisting the temptation to play to the nihilistic adolescents and instead targeting what you might call the art-house crowd. So we get Patsy Cline's country smooch 'Back In Baby's Arms', an edit of Duane Eddy's geetar monster 'The Trembler', and Lard – the brief and unholy alliance between The Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra and Ministry's Al Jourgensen – with their 'Forkboy', which plays out in the movie as the prison inmates slaughter the guards and make mincemeat (literally) of Tommy Lee Jones' narcissistic governor.


There's an inspired mash-up, if that's the right term, of Jane's Addiction's 'Ted Just Admit It' and Diamanda Galas's version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put A Spell On You' called 'Sex Is Violent', The Hollywood Persuaders' thumping 'Drums A Go-Go', something called 'Hungry Ants' which samples a couple of Barry Adamson tracks and some terrifyingly alien stuff courtesy of the brilliant Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The album even includes rap duo The Dogg Pound's 'What Would U Do?', a number that never remotely features in the movie.

The tracks merge into each other, casting even the most familiar in a new light. Sentences from the film weave in and out and the whole LP achieves a hellish, channel-flipping, hallucinatory schizophrenia all of its own. It could have been just a soundtrack album, a cash-in, pure and simple. But instead it's a singular labour of love and a bona fide masterpiece.

Re-Release Verdict
First released in Aug '94 on the American Interscope Records label, the 27-track Natural Born Killers later came out as a 500 copies limited edition 180g vinyl double album, on Simply Vinyl. Mastered at South Beach Studios, Miami Beach, it involved numerous artists, the track 'Born Bad' being recorded by Juliette Lewis. Our 25th anniversary deluxe version comes from Music On Vinyl. It's pressed onto 'Mickey Knox's Mind' green vinyl, comes in a stout gatefold sleeve and offers great sound via quiet surfaced pressings. HFN