Album: Singles – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
. . .
With the exception of 1979’s That Summer!, no motion picture soundtrack ever affected me as much as the soundtrack for 1992’s Singles. And unlike That Summer!, Singles was a film that people actually saw, especially as it came during that period where filmmaker Cameron Crowe could do no wrong, though I certainly didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as Say Anything or Almost Famous.
Of course, the Singles soundtrack had the advantage of scoring a film that was about a certain time and a certain place — grunge-era Seattle — so it was remarkably consistent in terms of tone. And in fact, I think that only two non-Seattle artists are on it, both of whom contributed original songs that can be found nowhere else.
Westerberg, of course, got two songs — “Dyslexic Heart” and “Waiting on Somebody,” — which didn’t really fit musically, but totally fit thematically. Whereas the Pumpkins “Drown” was musically in tune with the rest of the record, but not as much thematically.
To Billy Corgan’s credit, he didn’t just give Crowe a Gish outtake, instead “Drown” was written and recorded after Gish had already been released, and it’s clearly a preview of Siamese Dream. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time, instead, I enjoyed the bouncy rhythms on the relatively quiet opening, and the humming of the e-bow in the early verses.
And, of course, that point where the loud guitars finally kick in, just before they get to the bridge.
Is it something someone said?
Was it something someone said?
And then, of course, right back down to the liquid crystal guitars shimmering like glowing plankton before one last noisy part.
I wish, I wish I could fly
I wish, I wish I could lie
I will, I will try
I will, I will
What what I really love is the outro, four minutes of psychedelic feedback laden-guitars slowly rolling across the horizon, echoing across the night, kept aloft by Jimmy Chamberlin’s drums, which neither make themselves fully present, but never allow the guitars to float completely away, either.
Of course, while “Drown” got a fair amount of airplay — it was released as a promotional single to radio stations, though not commercially — it was the first part, not the feedback-laden second half that got played, because no way alt-rock stations were going to play the whole thing. That said, for me anyways, it was perfect timing: it sent me back to check out Gish, and also made me anticipate whatever they were going to do next.
That said, there was no way I was prepared for how much what they did next was going to affect me.
“Drown” Live in Chicago, 1993
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