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My Dark Twisted Teenage Tunes: Lost Highway

Written by: Pat King, Special to CC2K

I guess you could have called it a lot of things, but, whatever it was, 1997 and the Lost Highway soundtrack was the peak of the sound. I suppose for shorthand we can call it Neo-Industrial, but that doesn’t really say everything, either. Anyway, so be it, I guess.

Lost Highway, the movie, that is, was David Lynch’s most mindfuckingly weirdest flick. It held steady in the lead position until Inland Empire came out. It’s a nightmare of a movie, complete with murder, an angel / devil thing played by Robert Blake, and people who are certain people but also other people. It’s very weird and very dark.

The soundtrack is no less a mindfuck. Interspersed with dark, brooding, sullen Jazz by longtime Lynch musical collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti, are these Neo-Industrial cats like Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and, of course, Nine Inch Nails. Also included are tracks by the Smashing Pumpkins and David Bowie, whose most recent albums had been influenced by these dark electronic bands. Like the psychedelic 60’s, this movement was only going to last a few years. But what a few years they were!

The album both begins and ends with Bowie’s “I’m Deranged,” which makes sense because the movie begins and ends in a similar way. As literal as the title, and, really, the lyrics are, it’s a good song to start the thing with. It really sets up the themes you’ll be dealing with while listening to this album. Those themes include tortured minds, existential crises, and pure fucking insanity. Hell, even Badalamenti’s Jazz tunes even sound as if they were composed in the seventh level of hell.

Hmmm…maybe I shouldn’t really mention this, but can you believe this was my kind of acid-taking music? Grab a few friends, sit around, listen to some freaky shit and see if your brains leak out of your ears. Good times, have a drink with that. You know, I complain a lot about hte simple drum-and-bass shit the raver kids used to listen to, but, shit, at least they weren’t hoping that the world would get sucked into black hole or something.

Ahem. Anyway, if you’re generally a happy sort or one of them “optimist” folks I’ve heard so much about, you should under no circumstances, like, fucking, ever listen to this album. It will skull-fuck your happiness and leave it squirming helplessly on the floor, drooling on itself.

It’s interesting to note that the word “fugue” is both a musical and psychological term. In psychology, it’s a dissociative state where one no longer recognizes themselves as themselves. Total alienation from your own personality. And here we have Lost Highway, the movie and the album, in essence. I’m not kidding. It’s possible this album could be pure evil. Yes, it’s that damn good.