- Released: April 1, 2008
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Q - p.1114 stars out of 5
- "[T]his is an evocative snapshot of a time and place that is at once exotic and tawdry."
Uncut - p.1045 stars out of 5
- "[A]n exhilarating set..."
Original score composed by Cliff Martinez.
The soundtrack to Jonathan Cox's Wonderland revolves around the dark underworld that surrounded porn star John Holmes in the early '80s -- including the July 1, 1981, murders of the Wonderland gang in which he was implicated (and for which he was later acquitted). Not surprisingly, the music plays like the evil twin to the ecstatically decadent Boogie Nights soundtrack, mixing strutting glam rock and punk with the coked-up new wave, pop, hard rock, and singer/songwriter fare that defined '70s and early-'80s music outside of disco. The soundtrack begins on something of a sour note with Jonathan Davis' "Love on the Rocks," a bitter, Bowie-esque ballad that tries to ape '70s rock conventions but just ends up paling in comparison to the songs that surround it. Davis' overwrought vocals and lyrics like "Yesterday's gone/And all I want is a smile" make the song downright seedy and unpleasant, but then again, so is the story that the movie tells. However, after that Wonderland has nowhere to go but up, which it does with revved-up songs like T. Rex's "20th Century Boy," Iggy & the Stooges' "Search and Destroy," the Cars' "Good Times Roll," and one of the soundtrack's most apt picks, Duran Duran's "Girls on Film." Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home a Heartache," Patti Smith's "Gloria/In Excelsis Deo," and Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" all capture the film's claustrophobic, paranoid vibe, albeit in very different ways, while songs like Dobie Gray's "Drift Away," Bad Company's "Shooting Star," and Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" provide a not-so-ironic counterpoint. The dialogue that bookends the music is mostly throwaway (even the provocatively titled "Can I Touch It?"), but that doesn't prevent Wonderland from being a successful, if slightly depressing, soundtrack. ~ Heather Phares