Music plays a big part in director Mark Pellington's film I Melt with You, as the title reference to Modern English's 1982 single suggests. That title gives an indication of exactly what sort of music, too. The story of four male friends who stage a weekend reunion each year is pegged to the songs they loved in their youth, that being in the early '80s, and so the 30 songs chosen for use in the film (of which 13 are heard on the soundtrack album, along with a brief taste of the background score by tomandandy) tend to be drawn from that era, not only as performed by Modern English, but also the Specials, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Love and Rockets, the Pixies, Bauhaus, and Adam & the Ants. This is often British post-punk/new wave rock, with lots of chiming guitars and portentous vocals. Sometimes, the lyrics seem to suggest the movie's themes, such as Big Dipper's "All Going Out Together" and Bauhaus' "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything." The occasional outlier appears, none farther out than all ten minutes of Funkadelic's 1971 psychedelic guitar freak-out "Maggot Brain." (In the album notes, Pellington says that when a DJ friend turned him on to the track, he tried it under every scene in the movie, "and it worked gangbusters.") Even here, though, the electric guitar excursion is a constant. Clearly, these are guys who spent a significant part of their adolescences playing air guitar, and those sounds have followed them into adulthood. Note, however, that the version of "I Melt with You" is not the bopping hit rendition; instead, it's a long, slow remake, perhaps to imply that the friends' lives are not as peppy and exciting as they used to be.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann