Hot Tub Time Machine Soundtrack24.03.10 # Soundtrack # 68 Comments
The Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack. That mere title alone is so communicative of both the tone and ambition of this new John Cusack-toplined comedy that the simple sight of those four little words is all you need in order to make the call as to whether you want to see the movie or whether you think it likely to be as seismic a catastrophe for modern cinema as Michael Haneke slipping while getting out of the shower and fatally cracking his skull on the Palme d’Or he keeps on the shelf behind the toilet. Essentially it would appear that Steve Pink’s film is the episode of Family Guy where Peter and Brian journey back to the ‘80s and piss off the chicken while simultaneously inventing Rick Astley, only elongated to feature length and with Chevy Chase’s hot tub repairman supplanting the Grim Reaper as gatekeeper to the Decade That Taste forgot.
Taste is in no short supply on the Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack. Specifically, the taste of cheese. Cheese so hefty and pungent as to make a dairy farmer instantly sink to their knees and kiss the ground in worship, regardless of how many pre-deposited cowpats they find their lips coming into contact with. Listening to this record is like having your radio in Grand Theft Auto jammed on the retro pop station. It is composited almost entirely from tunes which, were you to hear any of them at a party, you would immediately hit the dancefloor in a wheeling frenzy of knowing excitement and good vibes – provided you had chugged your way through a keg or three of beer beforehand.
The Public Enemy opener is actually one of the smarter, more sussed things here; though it comes over as amazingly quaint when compared to some of the produced-to-within-an-inch-of-their-lives hip hop tracks of today. It’s also a heck of a lot better than Perfect Way by Scritti Politti. Offering a drum-padded sound of the ‘80s that operates some way outside the perimeter boundaries of the current mania for the musical trappings of that period, it sounds like the kind of thing that might have played over the opening credits to Three Men and a Baby. Also coming up short is Men Without Hats’ Safety Dance, which when deprived of its Tim Pope-directed medieval video is neither as fun or as weird as you remember it being.
I always get confused by the intro to Modern Love, being left unsure for eight seconds or so as to whether I am going to get David Bowie or Footloose by Kenny Loggins. The song may be operating at the absolute tail end of Bowie’s golden years but demonstrates that Major Tom had some serious pop chops even late in the day.
The Replacements’ I Will Dare is snotty, knockabout fun, and nothing more. And you get two sonic sacred cows for the price of one on the Hot Tub Time Machine soundtrack, as New Order hunker down next to Talking Heads. The Heads’ Once in a Lifetime is the superior, being a genuinely brilliantly conceived and executed song. Shame it’s been played to empty-husked death.
Operating on an entirely different musical stratum is Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl; in all probability the greatest guilty pleasure record of all-time. It literally has everything you could ever wish for in an aural fromage-fest. The muted teen anguish intro, huge power chorded breakdown, the screeching solo, mammoth hands-in-the-air bit in the middle, plus a stonking great final chorus key change. And as Alfred Molina demonstrated in Boogie Nights, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a crack pipe party. Fittingly for such a karaoke classic, Springfield is supplanted on vocal duties by Hot Tub Time Machine actor Craig Robinson, who sings not entirely unlike a man attempting to croon through a wired jaw. But what the hell? Ricky S was hardly Levi Stubbs and he did okay. And it’s certainly better than the Robinson-sung Black-Eyed Peas cover that rounds things off.
Hot Tub Time Machine Soundtrack (Songs) – Track List
1. Louder Than a Bomb (Back Into Time) – Public Enemy
2. Perfect Way (edited version) – Scritti Politti
3. The Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
4. What You Need – Inxs
5. Modern Love – David Bowie
6. I Will Dare – The Replacements
7. Push It – Salt N Pepa
8. Bring on the Dancing Horses – Echo and the Bunnymen
9. Save It For Later – The Beat
10. True – Spandau Ballet
11. Jessie’s Girl – Craig Robinson
12. Bizarre Love Triangle (Shep Pettibone 12” remastered remix) – New Order
13. Once In a Lifetime – Talking Heads
14. Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue
15. Let’s Get It Started – Craig Robinson
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