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CRYSTAL PEPSI – 2016 limited edition 20 oz bottles
“The soft drink is reformulated with caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, and will be sold for eight weeks.” – Wikipedia
HARD CORE LOGO – Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1998 BMG)
Hard Core Logo are one of the greatest fictional bands of all time. Right up there with Spinal Tap, Strange Fruit and Wyld Stallions, Hard Core Logo are legendary. Fronted by Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon of the Headstones), Hard Core Logo are so fucking good that you only wish they were real. This soundtrack CD is the one to get. There is a much more common “Tribute” to Hard Core Logo CD out there, and it’s even included with the DVD of the film. For some reason, the actual songs from the movie as performed by Dillon (and Swamp Baby) were much harder to find. It was Aaron at the KMA who pointed me in the direction of this CD on the Discogs.
(By the way, there were two Hard Core Logo alumni who later moved on to Battlestar Galactica — Callum Keith Rennie, and John Pyper-Ferguson*.)
The guy on the far left is a Cylon.
Hard Core Logo’s material is a mixture of originals and covers. The monster riff of “Who the Hell Do You Think You Are?” commences the soundtrack with Hard Core Logo’s signature tune. Dillon’s snotty vocals perfectly nail the vibe of the movie. It’s dangerous sounding punk rock, pissed off but simultaneously fun. Equally dangerous is “Rock and Roll is Fat and Ugly”, and let’s not forget the Canadiana of “Edmonton Block Heater”. For some serious pain and heart, check out “China White”. Headstones fans are automatically going to want this whole soundtrack, because Dillon’s voice and the sound of Headstones are so closely associated. Dillon is 100% genuinely the real deal. Always has been.
While the original songs are all strong throughout, there are two tracks in particular that stand out. These are “Blue Tattoo” and a cover of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer”. I’ve heard the original, Pearl Jam’s version, and Hard Core Logo’s. It’s damn hard to pick a favourite. Dillon absolutely owns it. It’s like he put his foot down and said, “This one’s mine now, fuckers.” The anger is palpable. But it is “Blue Tattoo” that is forever inked on my brain. This punk ballad bleeds heart and soul. All the ingredients mix just so, and it becomes the consummate combination of sentiment and edginess.
Most people are going to buy this CD just for the Hard Core Logo tracks, but there is some excellent additional music after that. Swamp Baby without Hugh Dillon provide a cover of “Hawaii” by the Young Canadians. Short n’ sweet, and then on to some actual punk classics: Teenage Head (“Bonerack”), the Ramones (“Touring”), and Chris Spedding (“Wild Wild Women”). I can always go for some Teenage Head, and you can hear a lot of Teenage Head in Hard Core Logo’s tunes. As for the Ramones, Joey had a brief cameo in the film, lending it some extra authenticity sauce. Although I find many Ramones tunes to have a sound-alike quality, “Touring” just makes me smile.
It’s rare to find a soundtrack so perfectly composed of original music and classic tunage. It’s one of the things that made Hard Core Logo, the movie, such a triumph. See it, and get this CD.
*Oh all right, I’ll go on. Rennie played guitarist Billy Tallent in Hard Core Logo, and Number Two in Galactica. Pyper-Ferguson nailed the role of John Oxenberger in Hard Core Logo, and played the asshole-ish Captain Cole ‘Stinger’ Taylor on Galactica. He returned to the franchise on the prequel series Caprica, playing the villain Tomas Vergis.
Now here…now here is a soundtrack! Every track is a keeper. With a mixture of oldies and newer songs, Swingers had a peerless balance. If you’re down to swing, dance, or just get dirty, this soundtrack has what you need. Bonus points for the uber-thin and young Vince Vaughn on the front cover too. Jon Favreau executive produced the soundtrack, and it’s clear the guy has good taste in music.
I love it when a soundtrack puts scenes from a movie right in your head. Dean Martin’s “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” kicks off both the CD and the movie, and all I can think is “Vegas baby, Vegas.” That slow jazz just sets the mood for the adventures ahead. The horns pop! It’s money, baby. Talk about setting the bar high for an opening track; thankfully there’s lots more to come.
“Paid for Loving” by Love Jones brings me right into the film’s setting again, but it’s Tony Bennett’s “With Plenty of Money and You” that has me seeing the bright lights of Vegas before me. Remember Mikey and T rolling up in their suits? You’d feel like a high roller too, with a song like this playing. Tony is followed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (who appeared in the film). Now, I do kinda wish it was the live version of “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”. In the film, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play it live, but this is a studio version. I think including the live version would have been an extra treat for fans, but I’m not complaining. If you don’t find yourself tapping your toes to it, call the coroner, because you may be dead.
Mixing new and old, Scotty and the guys from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are chased by Louis Jordan, from way way back in 1941. If you love muted trumpet solos, then dig right in. A song you should recognise is the oft-played “Groove Me” by King Floyd (1970). It’s a soul classic that found itself used on TV ads over the years. More jazz (a couple cool instrumentals), and more Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are to be found as the CD progresses. Daddy have three tracks on the CD, all of which were in the movie. “Go Daddy-O” has to be a favourite for sure, but “I Wan’na Be Like You” has a tropical salsa beat.
Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” isn’t jazz and doesn’t swing, but it has the same golden oldie feel. It’s not the only country song: George Jones himself honours the CD with his presence. The melancholy ballad “She Thinks I Still Care” is one of the…saddest, I guess…lyrics I’ve ever heard. It’s a great song from a great scene in the film.
“Pick up the Pieces” by the Average White Band is the kind of song everybody needs. “Need” isn’t too strong a word either. You know the song, you love the song. You have to. It’s required. Finally, “I’m Beginning to See the Light” by Bobby Darin completes the journey, and it’s back to the same kind of sound that Dean Martin started the album with. And what a journey it is! You just…feel BETTER after listening. When I bought this CD, I felt like this line of dialogue directly applied to me:
“You’re a big winner. I’m gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who’s the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Mikey! That’s who! Mikey’s the big winner. Mikey wins.”