The Good: “Prison Fight” is all right
The Bad: The cover of “Desolation Row” is lousy, Medium
The Basics: A record with only two songs, the Watchmen single is not worth any attention, save as decoration!
When Watchmen (reviewed here!) was released in theaters, I was happily part of the hype surrounding it. Still, I avoided much of the merchandising and one of the things I avoided was a record single. Yes, on clearance now at Spenser’s stores everywhere is an actual 8” record with two songs from the film Watchmen.
The record itself is pretty cool as far as decoration goes. Imprinted on the record surface is the image of the theatrical release poster with all six of the main characters represented. The image is the same on both sides. Outside the image, this is a standard vinyl record.
One side of this record single plays the song “Desolation Row” as performed by My Chemical Romance. As I noted in my review of the soundtrack to Watchmen (that's here!), this is one of the few songs in the movie that is incongruent. While the lyrics to the song, like “Now at midnight all the agents / And the superhuman crew / Come out and round up everyone / That knows more than they do / Then they bring them to the factory / Where the heart-attack machine / Is strapped across their shoulders / And then the kerosene / Is brought down from the castles / By insurance men who go / Check to see / That nobody is escaping / To Desolation Row” are very much congruent with the movie, the presentation of them by My Chemical Romance is problematic. In addition to being noisy and obscuring most of the lyrics, most of Bob Dylan’s original poetry is simply screamed out by the band and that is unfortunate. The electric guitars also overwhelm the poetry. My Chemical Romance certainly reinterprets “Desolation Row,” but the resulting sound is sloppy and angry as opposed to angsty or even rebellious.
The b-side to the record is an orchestral piece by Tyler Bates, “Prison Fight.” The “Prison Fight” song is a frenetic orchestral piece punctuated by strong, abrupt percussion. It is EXACTLY what it sounds like, music composed to fit a specific, violent scene in a movie. “Prison Fight” is more likely to unsettle listeners than anything else as it is a series of sharp musical reversals that only last two and a half minutes. It is hardly a developed theme. This track plays poorly out of context and one wonders why the b-side was not something like Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” considering that played over the opening credits to the movie.
Either way, there is less than ten minutes worth of music on this record and . . . it’s a RECORD. Not many people have turntables anymore and truth-be-told, this is more intended for decoration for Watchmen fans than it is a true collection for music enthusiasts. Music enthusiasts have largely let this one be. That’s nice; it’s allowed Watchmen fans like me to pick it up on clearance for decoration!
For other soundtrack reviews, please visit my takes on:
Songs In The Key Of Springfield from The Simpsons
Dead Man Walking Soundtrack
An Inconvenient Truth Soundtrack
For other music reviews, please visit my Music Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2013, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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