Well, like the shameless movie, Underworld, its companion soundtrack is pretty much tailor-made for the "gothic" generation, with the exception that the bands have to be mainstream enough to sell CDs. While this sounds cynical, I don't really mean it as a deprecating remark. Danny Lohner has assembled an amazing array of true talent, and obviously some thought and care went into the production of this CD so it's actually fitting to the movie, rather than an amalgamation of the latest hits thrown together to produce a quick buck.
Kicking us off to a great start is The Damning Well, with their debut song, "Awakening." Another debut comes next, "REV 22:20" by Puscifer, a teaming of Lohner and Maynard James Keenan. Both these songs are incredibly catchy and will stick in your head for days. I hope Maynard keeps Puscifer together long enough to release a CD; same with the Damning Well.
Next we have the simplistic but not out of place "Throwing Punches," by Page Hamilton, which fits in with the tone of the previous two songs, followed by the questionable "Rocket Collecting," by Milla (as in Jovavich (sp?), star of Resident Evil and such). I'm not sure what to think of this latter song. While it has interesting instrumentals, Milla's voice is not what I'd call beautiful, and in fitting with her weird pseudo lisp, the song should be titled "Wrocket Collecting." I'm not sure where this pronunciation comes from; it's not present in her films.
Next comes the first of four Renholder songs, which many are quick to dismiss as fillers. I enjoy hearing them, and this one fits together really well with the following David Bowie track. My complaint, however, is that all the Renholder tracks sound like a really great introduction to a song that never starts. It's somewhat frustrating.
Next comes the Loner Mix of "Bring Me the Disco King." I have never found a man's voice to be beautiful, but if I had to bestow that crown on one man, it would be David Bowie for his rendition of this song. It sure is depressing for a song about Saturday Night Fever. Ironically, while I love this version, I can't stand the original.
Skinny Puppy, a band I am only marginally familiar with, contributes the stellar "Optimissed." At first listen, I didn't care much for this song. I tend to dislike bands who employ voice changers, as it makes me think the lead singer is trying to disguise the fact that he can't sing. After a while, though, it rose to being my favorite track.
This next Renholder song reminds me of a trek through a post-apocalyptic world, perhaps after a nuclear bomb has decimated all life. It's appropriately creepy and tension-filled.
Renholder does a pointless remix of A Perfect Circle's "Judith," setting it to music that doesn't even fit the singing. Whereas I first hated this track, I can now tolerate it.
Number ten brings us to Johnette Napolitano, a singer whose voice is as androgynous as its name. He writes good songs, but when it comes time to sing them, he should pass on the mic to someone else.
"Baby's First Coffin" is a heavy song, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, that tries to convince us it has a melody somewhere in the midst of all that screaming. It doesn't work and it doesn't fit in. It seems to me that people who like this will dislike the other songs, and vice versa.
"Hover (Quiet Mix)" is a pretty mellow song, and it flows with an understated beauty filled with atmospheric piano and a soothing voice. The next Renholder contribution is next, and that's followed by another Perfect Circle remix. This one is so close to the original it might as well not exist, in my opinion. But it's a good song to have on the soundtrack.
Tracks 15-19 are all good but not particularly memorable, with the exception of Lisa Germano singing "From a Shell." It's hard to describe the quality of her voice; it's haunting, but with a certain gentleness. It's powerful, but understated. It's a really good song, in other words.
The advantage of the soundtrack over other CDs is that the listener is treated to samples of different bands or sounds, without having to worry about straying too far off track into unrecognizable territory. This keeps things fresh and new while at the same time familiar. Underworld is a soundtrack that fulfills this promise admirably. It has some weak spots, as all soundtracks do, but overall it's one of the most solid purchases in the CD market. Whether or not you like the movie, you should give the soundtrack a spin.