Watchmen Music From The Motion Picture: The Tracklist

This CD was just recommended to me by the algorithms at Amazon.ca… Here’s the tracklist:

  1. Desolation Row - My Chemical Romance
  2. Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
  3. Times They Are A-Changin’ - Bob Dylan
  4. Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
  5. Me & Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin
  6. I’m Your Boogie Man - KC & the Sunshine Band
  7. You’re My Thrill - Billie Holiday
  8. Pruit Igoe & Prophecies - Philip Glass Ensemble
  9. Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
  10. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
  11. Ride of the Valkyries - Budapest Symphony Orchestra
  12. Pirate Jenny - Nina Simone

Is anyone else underwhelmed? Other than Pirate Jenny (from Threepenny Opera) and the Philip Glass composition, everything else in this list strikes me as being overplayed and underthought. It reminds me overly much of the Forrest Gump soundtrack, but while it made sense for Forrest Gump to feature “the greatest hits of the decades”, Watchmen is hardly a nostalgic trip down rose-tinted memory lane. And fer cryin’ out loud, they didn’t even include the Smashing Pumpkins tune used in the trailer! Finally, I’m sorry if there’s any My Chemical Romance fans here, but that Dylan cover is making my ears hurt.

Overall, I’m disappointed. For fun, what songs would you have included? To me, Watchmen’s soundtrack should be tied to its alternate 80s setting, perhaps with a little grounding in the 60s and 70s. I’ll start by suggesting Depeche Mode, especially “Never Let Me Down”. Dark and moody with themes of control and domination. That’s what Watchmen sounds like in my imagination.

It’s pretty common for movie trailers to use music that is not in the film or on the soundtrack.

Aren’t most of those songs directly referenced in the original? I know several of them are.

That was my thought too. Watchtower certainly is and I think I remember Billy Holiday and Dylan as well.

Nite Owl sings the Billie Holiday song in one scene, I think one of the introductory passages is taken from Desolation Row and one of the books may be named after All Along the Watchtower (at least a quote is included). Pirate Jenny is in there for obvious reasons, and I think a few tracks are intended to be deliberate throwbacks. They might get used ironically. Hallelujah is played out, though, I’ll agree to that.

Very true, but “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning” (or the reverse, I’m not quite sure) had exactly the kind of post-apocalyptic sound I thought this soundtrack should have.

I’ll have to go back to my copy, I didn’t realize that there were so many song references. Thanks for the heads-up, some of these choices make more sense now.

Chapter X, “Two Riders Were Approaching,” I believe. And I do like Desolation Row, I just wish they’d used Dylan’s original.

Overall, though, for me this track list contains too many throwbacks. I expected a lot more references to the “present” of the story (the alternate 80s) and not so many to the “past” of the characters. For example, what will be playing around Doctor Manhattan’s TV interview, or when Dan and Laurie are fighting thugs in the alley? I enjoy movie soundtracks that put me into the setting and mood of the movie. While these tracks may have been literally referenced in the graphic novel (again, most of the references went completely over my head so I’ll have to re-read it), I know that these songs won’t remind me of the book.