Stan Ridgway's Film Songs
TWA Records TWAE022 [7 Song EP; 31m 34s]

Film Songs is a valuable seven song CD EP from Australia's now defunct TWA Records that was released in conjunction with Ridgway's tour of that country in February 1997. It is now available as an import in the United States. The EP features two new songs ("Susie Before Sunrise" and "Deep Inside We're Blue") from the independent documentary short film Death Smokes a Big Cigar; a song heretofore unavailable on any album, "Talk Hard," from the 1990 film starring Christian Slater, Pump Up the Volume--not on that film's original soundtrack album; and three relatively obscure tracks: "Bing Can't Walk," from Wayne Wang's Slam Dance (1987); "End of the Line" from the 1987 French film Terminus; and "Floundering" from Peter McCarthy's critically praised but neglected indie film Floundering (1994). The collection is rounded out by a live version of "I Wanna Be a Boss" that originally appeared on Ridgway's 1991 album Partyball but is falsely attributed (with tongue firmly in cheek) on the CD's liner notes to the (non-existent) "industrial short" film Captains of Industry. (The phrase "captains of industry" comes from John Ruskin's Unto This Last (1862), and refers to the industrial magnates of Victorian England. Since no adequate legislation existed to make provisions for the urban worker's rights, Ruskin coined the phrase in an effort to persuade this new class of rich and powerful mogul to take responsibility for employees. Listen to the song and you'll understand the allusion.)

Film Songs, however, is not a complete collection of Ridgway's film music: perhaps most significantly, it omits "Don't Box Me In," from Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish (1983), nor does it include the superb "My Drug Buddy" from Floundering, or the "Love Theme" from Terminus, originally released as the B-side to the "End of the Line" single, released only in Europe. This list does not include all of the music written for the experimental short The Drywall Incident (1995), directed by Carlos Grasso. However, this music is available on the double-CD package The Drywall Project/The Drywall Incident (TWA Records TWAD114). Film Songs is a welcome addition to the growing body of work by Ridgway, yet also reveals an important aspect of all of his work, namely his interest in the cinema. Allusions to films abound in his work--The Big Heat, Double Indemnity ("Peg and Pete and Me"), Lost Weekend, the films Vanishing Point and Bad Day at Black Rock (in "Roadblock"), and so on.

I've included below a brief commentary on each of the songs: