The Crow Soundtrack at 25

The Crow Soundtrack at 25

brandon lee the crow
(Photo credit: YouTube)

With its stunning visual production and triple-platinum alternative soundtrack, The Crow is an action-packed visual feast of dark, lurid energy; an urban gothic romance with some sort of rock ‘n roll terminator at its central core. The tragic on-set death of lead actor, Brandon Lee cast an undertone of deep sorrow over an already melancholy project but ironically strengthened the emotional depth of the film that stands in tribute to the deceased actor.

The soundtrack was huge! Pulling together goth, metal, industrial and alt-rock into one moody package of prickly darkness and stylized intensity. The Cure (their song, "Burn", became the film's main theme), The Jesus and Mary Chain, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine and Helmet, among many others, are all included in this incredible compilation of heavy, brooding tracks that topped the charts when it was first released. 

The Crow debuted in May of 1994 (July in Australia) so, to celebrate 25 years of this alt-cult box office smash hit, here are some highlights from the soundtrack that continues to resonate with fans who like to walk on the dark side life. 

The Cure “Burn”

Starting with track one, “Burn” is a poetic ode depicting a conversation between a black crow and the shadows. The songs was written by goth rock icons, The Cure, especially for the film but James O’Barr - creator of the original comic book that the film was based on - was clearly a Cure fan long before the fact, printing the lyrics to their song, “The Hanging Garden" on an entire page of an issue.  

Nine Inch Nails “Dead Souls”

Another band James O'Barr evidently held close to his heart is Joy Division. Some chapters of the comic book are named after Joy Division songs – "Atmosphere" and "Atrocity Exhibition", and in one panel, the main character even quotes a lyric from their song "Disorder". 

Several groups contributed covers for the soundtrack. Nine Inch Nails recorded this version of “Dead Souls”, bequeathing their signature industrial spin on a fairly true rendition of the new wave classic. Fittingly, it was the first song that Trent recorded at the 'Sharon Tate House' where he had set up or the Downward Spiral sessions. 

Rollins Band “Ghostrider” 

Rollins Band provided this intimidatingly heavy version of Suicide’s 1977 protopunk track, "Ghost Rider" for the soundtrack. The relentless headbanger was originally written about the Marvel character of the same name, but perfectly captures the supernatural, underworld themes of The Crow

Helmet “Milktoast” (Milquetoast)

"Milquetoast" was on alt-metal lords, Helmut’s 1994 album, Betty. Prior to Betty's release, alternate heavy mix of the song by Butch Vig was released on The Crow soundtrack as "Milktoast". This music video using scenes from the film was made for "Milktoast", and hit regular rotation on MTV.

Jesus And Mary Chain “Snakedriver”

"Snakedriver" was originally released the previous year on Jesus And Mary Chain’s Sound Of Speed EP. The effortlessly cool shoegazer creates a fever dream state with its whirlpool of feedback and stylishly hypnotic vocal delivery.

The Crow Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a fittingly ominous accompaniment to the stylishly dark film, with every track adding to the haunting atmosphere of the 90s fantasy-noir classic. Listen to the full album on Spotify:

Listen to The Crow Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on Apple Music:

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