When it was finally brought to the screen in 1995, Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries was updated to the present. Conveniently, this left the producers with the option to assemble an all-star alternative rock soundtrack for the film and have it not seem out of place. And The Basketball Diaries does have an all-star lineup, with contributions from Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, PJ Harvey, Flea and the Cult, as well as The Posies, Green Apple Quick Step, the Doors and Jim Carroll himself. Predictably, this is a mixed bag, both musically and stylistically. PJ Harvey's menacing, understated "Down by the Water" is the standout, along with the Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died" and Soundgarden's "Blind Dogs." "Riders on the Storm" seems out of place among the punkish filler and the whole disc doesn't quite convey either drug-induced paranoia or a coming-of-age story -- it's a sampler, pure and simpler. There's some good stuff on the sampler, but it's still a sampler.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine