By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The film Party Monster stars Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green as real-life mid-'90s club kids who dress funny and submerge their humanity in dancing, drugs and finally murder. The movie is both as horrible and as fun as it sounds. The soundtrack has the same amalgam of intentional and unintentional tackiness and glorious kitsch, and if anything it conveys the feeling of the story better than the film does (if you need more, reading the book Party Monster and listening to the soundtrack together is better than the film, too).
Temporally, the soundtrack is pretty questionable: While the film is set in the '90s, the soundtrack features both '80s club hits and '00s club tracks (most of which are from the '80s-worshipping electro movement). But as anyone with a complete collection of Bret Easton Ellis novels knows, the '80s are a state of mind. It's a state of mind the club kids made their own, worshipping shininess and shallow values. "Money, Success, Fame, Glamour" just about sums it up, and that song, with searing retro keyboard hooks from Felix da Housecat and vocals from Culkin, Green and Chloë Sevigny, captures the whole movie in just over three minutes.
Other tracks, like Ladytron's "Seventeen," and "Overdose" by Tomcraft, cover almost the same thematic and musical ground as Felix, as does Miss Kitten and the Hacker's "Frank Sinatra," with its immortal lyrics "Being famous is so nice/ Suck my dick, kiss my ass/In limousines we have sex/with my famous friends." That's an '80s state of mind.
Of course, decadent-chic club tracks have their time and place, and you won't be bumping "Frank Sinatra" on a first date. And yes, the album gets old way before it gets over. But like Ellis's novels and other cautionary tales of '80s excess, there's a moral tacked onto the movie, but not the soundtrack, and that's a bonus. It's perfect for cherry-picking for your own decadent party mixes, where you are the celebrity and everyone wants to be just like you: naked and famous.
(As a bonus, the CD cover, with its image of Culkin with his head split open, serves as one of the best pieces of fantasy-fulfillment since the little bastard got stung to death by bees in My Girl).