Various - Straight to Hell: Original Soundtrack Recording (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Straight to Hell: Original Soundtrack Recording (1987)

Enigma Records

Alex Cox's film Straight to Hell, about three hitmen hiding out in Mexico, is pretty terrible. It's nearly unwatchable, arguably the worst movie to ever star Courtney Love (although Trapped is a creepy second). But if you're a Joe Strummer acolyte, and I am, it's a must-have. But while the film's merits are debatable, the soundtrack is undeniably gold. Featuring choice cuts from the Pogues and Strummer, it's essential listening for fans.

Strummer only headlines two tracks, but he nails it both times. "Evil Darling" is an acoustic Latin-tinged song about cowboys ‘n' killers and what-not. It suits the soundtrack perfectly, as it carries this real sense of dread and longing to it. "Ambush at Mystery Rock," meanwhile, is more of a dissonant rocker. Still got that Latin tinge to it, but it's cloaked more in noise.

The Pogues do most of the heavy lifting, though. "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" kicks off the soundtrack with verve. "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" is the sort of rousing Irish folk fans expect; it's so good it even works in a stupid car commercial. "Rabinga" and "Rake at the Gates of Hell" are solid too, but it's the group's somber interpretation of "Danny Boy," back by the film's cast, that really makes an impression

Pray for Rain gets in some nice instrumental work with the main theme, "The Killers," as well as "Money, Guns and Coffee," as does the MacManus Gang with "Big Nothing." These are background songs, but they carry a nice Western vibe. Zander Schloss turns in a comedic take on "Salsa y Ketchup." It's a jingle, really, but it just flows and flows.

The Straight to Hell soundtrack suffers ever so slightly from its dated '80s production--some of those drums sound a little dubious--but overall the compilation is worthwhile for Strummer ‘n' Pogues fans. The film its attached to may not be much, but if it led to this collection's creation, then I'm for it.