Classic Rock Bottom


The Singles Deluxe reissue is one of three four reissues I have purchased this year.  You will not find a review of the movie here, because I've never seen it.  I have a general understanding that it revolves around the grunge movement of the early 90's, and I dig some of that music, so I picked this up.  

First, the packaging is fairly cool.  It's a tri-fold digipak with slots for 2 CD's and a slot for a booklet.  Inside the front cover there is a photo of Cameron Crowe, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley (I think), Matt Dilon and someone that I don't recognize.  There is also a fictional album review of Smarter Than You, an LP from the movie's fictional band Citizen Dick.  Finally, there is a tracklisting and credits for each song represented on the soundtrack. The booklet has an introduction of sorts by Cameron Crowe, as well as a description of each song that appears on this deluxe version.

The music on disc one is quite superb.  At first glance, there are only four tracks that are immediately familiar to me.  Would?, Seasons, The Battle of Evermore and State of Love and Trust are the only ones that I've heard before. All of those tracks are excellent.  Out of the remaining tracks, there is only one that just doesn't float my boat, and that is Dyslexic Heart by Paul Westerberg.  I'm not familiar with his work at all, but he redeems himself nicely in my eyes with his second offering on the disc, Waiting For Somebody.  It's much more catchy, coming across to me like a good power pop song.  Pearl Jam's Breath features some outstanding guitar playing by Mike McCready, which really reminded me just how much I enjoy his playing style. Two other standouts from this first disc are Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns by Mother Love Bone and Nearly Lost You by Screaming Trees.  Heck, I even enjoyed the trippy Drown by The Smashing Pumpkins, which closes out disc one (the original album).

Disc two contains eighteen extras.  Kicking things off is the forgetful Citizen Dick (the fictional band fronted by Matt Dillon in the film) track.  The next four tracks have an interesting story.  I love interesting stories.  At one point in the film, the main character sells home-made cassettes.  Jeff Ament came up with a fictional cassette, complete with fictional song titles.  Chris Cornell then wrote songs to match the song titles without Crowe's knowledge.  He sent the tape home with Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson of Heart.  As instructed by Cornell, she told Crowe it was a tape she picked up off the street.  Crowe loved it.  Seasons was in this group, but it was used in the film, therefore it appeared on CD one.  Spoon Man was eventually recorded by Soundgarden, and Flutter Girl was recorded for Cornell's solo album Euphoria Mourning.  Personally, I would have loved to hear a full workup of Missing.  There are three live tracks that follow, with the two Alice In Chains performances being grade A live cuts.  I actually enjoyed the acoustic version of Westerberg's Dyslexic Heart better than the full performance on disc one.  The other Westerberg track on this disc is a throwaway. 

There isn't much of the remaining material that resides in the "worth hearing" category for me, but three tracks to stand out a bit.  Heart And Lungs by the Seattle band Truly certainly deserves a listen.  Maybe it was never destined to be a hit, but it's interesting none the less.  Westerberg's Lost In Emily's Woods is a much to short instrumental that really deserved to go somewhere.  And Ferry Boat #3 is yet another amazing vocal performance by Chris Cornell.

All in all, I would have had no issue with disc two being cut to ten tracks.  But hey, it is what it is.  And what it is is a terrific disc one followed up with a competent disc two.  I will say also that I now have a hankering to see the film. I guess I'll have to check on Netflix and see if it's available.

Overall Rating: 3.9 Reissued Stars

Disc One:

1. Would? (Alice In Chains)

2. Breath (Pearl Jam)

3. Seasons (Chris Cornell)

4. Dyslexic Heart (Paul Westerberg)

5. The Battle of Evermore - Live (The Lovemongers)

6. Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns (Mother Love Bone)

7.Birth Ritual (Soundgarden)

8. State of Love and Trust (Pearl Jam)

9. Overblown (Mudhoney)

10. Waiting For Somebody (Paul Westerberg)

11. May This Be Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

12. Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees

13. Drown - The Smashing Pumpkins

Disc Two:

1. Touch Me, I'm Dick (Citizen Dick)

2. Nowhere But You (Chris Cornell - Poncier)

3. Spoon Man (Chris Cornell - Poncier)

4. Flutter Girl (Chris Cornell - Poncier)

5. Missing (Chris Cornell - Poncier)

6. Would - Live (Alice In Chains)

7. It Ain't Like That - Live (Alice In Chains)

8. Birth Ritual - Live (Soundgarden)

9. Dyslexic Heart - Acoustic (Paul Westerberg)

10. Waiting For Somebody - Score Acoustic (Paul Westerberg)

11. Overblown - Demo (Mudhoney)

12. Heart And Lungs (Truly)

13. Six Foot Under (Blood Circus)

14. Singles Blues 1 (Mike McCready)

15. Blue Heart (Paul Westerberg)

16. Lost In Emily's Woods (Paul Westerberg)

17. Ferry Boat #3 (Chris Cornell)

18. Score Piece #4 (Chris Cornell)

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