Trainspotting 2: ten songs that should be on the soundtrack

Back in the earliest days of Danny Boyle’s career, the British director was derided by some of the snootier critics, who said that Boyle didn’t make films but instead put together a collection of music videos.

Instead of seeing this as something to correct, Boyle wore it as a badge of honour and has always put popular music front and centre in his storytelling.

Many of Boyle’s films have featured killer soundtrack moments, such as John Murphy’s haunting ‘In the House, In a Hearbeat’ on 28 Days Later or the escapism of All Saints ‘Pure Shores’ in The Beach – but none have ever reached the heady heights of Trainspotting.

From those initial drum crashes of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’ to the truly iconic piano notes of Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ – the Trainspotting soundtrack was a perfect slice of 80s alternative, 90s Britpop and the rise of club culture.

With anticipation for Trainspotting 2 currently running through our veins following the latest teaser trailer and Iggy Pop’s barnstorming performance on Later… last night – we’ve tried to speculate on the sequel’s ideal potential soundtrack.

Delve into our Trainspotting 2 playlist like the ‘Worst Toilet in Scotland’:

1. Iggy Pop – Break Into Your Heart

In our interview with Irvine Welsh, the Trainspotting author described the upcoming sequel as a ‘middle-aged movie’ in comparison to the to original celebration of youth.

What could be more fitting than featuring something from Iggy Pop’s latest record, the excellent Post-Pop Depression? A subtle reminder that the youth and verve of the cast has been replaced by a grisly middle age.

2. Young Fathers – Shame

Danny Boyle has never shied away from using contemporary music in his films, with acts like Pulp and Damon Albarn being some of the hottest bands of the era when they popped up in the first film.

The director commented that the city of Edinburgh had ‘dramatically changed‘ since filming more than two decades ago, but the city’s sons Young Fathers would be more than a suitable fit for the gritty world that Boyle is trying to create.

3. David Bowie – Girl Loves Me

The sense of middle-age creeping into these once young and reckless heroin addicts continues in with the inclusion of Bowie. The Thin White Duke’s musical output wasn’t featured in the original film, but he did make an appearance in the second album and was the subject of conversation between Spud and Renton as they lay on the grass firing air rifles.

Bowie’s final album Blackstar is littered with cinematic quality, but the line ‘where the f*** did Monday go?’ from ‘Girl Loves’ feels particularly poignant to a gang of drug users who regularly lose their track of time.

4. Lou Reed – The Gun

Who could forget the sound of Reed’s drawl voice singing ‘Perfect Day’ as Renton sank into the floor, before being dragged off to the hospital after flirting with death?

It would be criminal to miss Lou on the new soundtrack and haunting ‘The Gun’ would be a perfect fit for the ever-present threat of violence from Francis Begbie.

5. Underworld – I Exhale

For many, the closing moments of Trainspotting were their first exposure to the drum-heavy electronic sounds of Underworld. The group have continuously evolved since then and are still putting out new music to critical acclaim.

Boyle has since worked with Underworld on the soundtrack to his sci-fi thriller Sunshine, so we’re sure the blistering ‘I Exhale’ could make an appearance.

6. Pulp – Monday Morning

The sound of ‘today’ quickly becomes the stuff of ‘yesterday’. Sheffield’s Britpop outfit Pulp featured on the original film with ‘Mile End’.

Maybe as Sick Boy and the gang reminisce on the good old days, the sounds of the Nineties will hit our ears with a wave of nostalgia?

7. Fun Boy Three – The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)

It wasn’t just the Nineties that were immortalised by Boyle’s adaptation of an Irvine Welsh cult classic. The likes of Heaven 17 and New Order played important parts with their twin-titled ‘Temptation’ tracks.

Eighties pop trio Fun Boy Three strike just the right balance between pop pleasure and dark undertones and the idea of the ‘lunatics’ taking over could be a key theme, with both Sick Boy and Begbie reaching positions of power in Porno and The Blade Artist.

8. Brian Eno – Another Green World

Who else could soundtrack a venture into the murky waters of a particularly bad public toilet than the ethereal noises of Brian Eno?

9. Richard Hawley – Down in the Woods

Sheffield’s own crooning sensation has previously spoken of his approval of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012, and feels like a natural partner for the director, who regularly backs British artists on his soundtracks.

Hawley is an artist who has taken to his middle-age with aplomb, creating new and exciting material in his seniority. Could Hawley’s spirit match that of Trainspotting‘s own group of weathered protagonists?

10. Disclosure – Holding On (Featuring Gregory Porter)

One of the key scenes of the 1996 feature film sees Renton being told by Diane that ‘music is changing’ and what could sum up that more than the evolution of dance music?

While the rave scene of the Nineties was a counter-culture movement, dance music has moved into the mainstream and become a chart favourite. We can imagine a scene of the older Ewan McGregor wandering through a modern nightclub, met with alien sights and sounds on the dancefloor.

Trainspotting 2 is set to hit cinemas on January 27, 2017

Listen to our playlist on Spotify:


Trainspotting 2 gets a release date

Irvine Welsh on David Bowie and Trainspotting 2

If Trainspotting was made in Edinburgh in 2016