On this day The Crow was released in theaters 20 years ago. Since then, it has gained a huge cult following. This moment is bittersweet because it also brings up the loss of the talented Brandon Lee. Aside from that tragic event, the movie is also remembered for its amazing soundtrack. This isn’t a collection of popular artists of the time singing their biggest hits. For this compilation, the makers of the film tracked down some of Crow originator James O Barr’s favorite artists like The Cure, to create new songs specifically for the movie. Listening to the tracks and seeing how they connect to the film show the time and effort put into the project.
The album seems to be broken up in two parts. The first half is filled with dark, brooding, somber tracks while those found on the second half are aggressive, heavy, and fast. There are lots of notable song here, but one that stands out is “Burn” by The Cure. What’s great about the song is not only does it sound like a classic Cure track with the crashing drums and sweet guitar, it directly references the comic book. The line “Don’t look, don’t look” is what the crow tells Eric throughout the comic. The band also references their song “Birdmad Girl” with the line “this trembling, adored, tousled bird-mad girl.” I’m not sure if it was intentional, but it’s cool either way.
Nine Inch Nails show up on the album with a cover of Joy Division‘s “Dead Souls.” I find this to be the better version because Reznor slows things down to make the vibe dark, brooding, and enigmatic. It also allows different elements of the song to be showcased like the tribal drums pounding throughout. Also, the repetition of “They keep calling me” makes it the best hook. “Golgotha Tenement” is another great addition to the soundtrack. This track by the small time band Machines of Loving Grace has a great bass riff. The music in general is killer; it sounds dirty and sinister. It really fits in with the grittiness of the movie. Personally, it always makes me think of the scene where Eric cradles his head against the light bulb when he confronts Funboy.
Rage Against the Machine makes a notable contribution with “Darkness,” while Thrill Kill Kult mix their industrial side with their love of techno music on the explosive and energetic “After the Flesh.” It’s one of their best and most well known tracks. With a riff that sounds like it’s slashing through the song and a terrorizing Groovie Mann, it’s a perfect introduction to the band. Pantera offers up “The Badge,” an ode to the corruption of cops, but it almost sounds out of place due to it’s brash, metal sound. The Violent Femmes get psychedelic on “Color Me Once,” a great track from the band. Even though there are a number of great songs, there are some that don’t stand out like the others.
“Time Baby III” by Medicine is a pretty weak song. It’s too soft and isn’t very memorable. Fans of the movie will recognize it only by the simple chorus of “No they don’t have to take it away,” that was featured in the film. The closing track “It Can’t Rain All the Time” is even worse. Taken from a song by Eric Draven’s band, this version is slow, dull, and boring. With the weak vocal delivery and the generic slow music it ends up sounding like a bad ’90s love song. Everything about is too sentimental and corny, which is a shame because it’s supposed to close the LP on a thoughtful and powerful note. The rest of the songs are pretty good, but nothing that really holds your attention.
Overall, the soundtrack gets 8/10. Even though some of the songs are obviously influenced by the grunge era, the collection has aged pretty well. There are some songs that don’t fit in or are just bad, but the good out weigh the bad. The LP showcases amazing tracks from great bands that’ll often relate directly to the source material. Put on this soundtrack to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this film and hey you may as well watch the movie again too.