Paul Thomas Anderson's second film, Boogie Nights, was an epic tour de force concerning the porn industry in the late '70s and early '80s, running two and a half hours and featuring nearly ten major starring roles. Throughout it all, Anderson uses pop music of the era as a counterpoint to the action on the screen, filling the movie with literally countless songs. Part of the problem of putting so much music in a film is that the soundtrack ultimately suffers, since it can't contain every memorable song from the movie. That is the case with the Boogie Nights soundtrack (several important songs were later issued on a second volume), but what is here is pretty terrific. The music captures the feeling of the era, as it runs through disco ("Best of My Love," "Jungle Fever"), folk-pop ("Brand New Key"), funk ("Spill the Wine," "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1," "Machine Gun"), soft rock ("Magnet & Steel"), AOR ("Livin' Thing"), oldies ("God Only Knows"), and heavy metal power ballads ("Sister Christian"). While Michael Penn's plodding Germanic circus music slows things down a bit at the end, the presence of "Feel the Heat" and the uncredited "You Got the Touch" -- the two hard rock songs Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild record in the film -- makes the album essential for any hardcore fan of the film.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine