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Review: This Is England ’90 — soundtrack to the TV miniseries

Written and directed by Shane Meadows, This Is England was an award-winning coming of age drama set in 1983. It told the story of a 12-year-old boy (Shaun, played by Thomas Turgoose), whose father had died in the Falklands War, as he was welcomed into a friendly gang of skinheads.

The drama continued in 2010 with the TV spin-off This Is England ’86. This Is England ’88 was then broadcast in late 2011 and now events are apparently drawing to a close with This Is England ’90, set during the 1990 World Cup and currently being shown on television.

As one would expect the soundtrack to the latter relies heavily on the rock and dance mash-up of the period, particularly that of the ‘Madchester‘ scene, the music that exploded out of Manchester in the late 1980s, giving rise to bands like the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and James.

After the first of four snippets of quirky dialogue from the show, we launch straight into the instantly recognisable “Fool’s Gold” by the recently reformed Roses. The song has lost none of its appeal and neither has the second track, “There She Goes” by Liverpool band The La’s, an unforgettable anthem that is, as many people know, actually about heroin.

James’ “Come Home” is perhaps slightly less well known than their classic “Sit Down,” but is no less riveting. “Step On” by the Mondays still sounds brilliant, while further representation from the north west of England comes in the form of 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday” and “Cubik” by 808 State.

The pace is slowed down quite beautifully thanks to the inclusion of three beautiful pieces by renowned Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, one of which, “Whirling Winds,” is off his latest album Elements. The other two are “Underwood” and “Experience.”

Elsewhere, Kiko Bun treats us to a brand new version of the Toots & the Maytals classic “54-46 (Was My Number)” (Toydrum‘s “God Song” is another previously unheard one) and memories should be brought flooding back with the inclusion of more out-and-out classics such as the number one hits “Dub Be Good To Me” by Beats International and Adamski’s “Killer.”

All in all, a wonderful listening experience, especially for those who were there, and a well thought out selection of musical accompaniment to what is probably the last in this outstanding roller-coaster ride of a series.

The soundtrack to This Is England ’90, music that defined a generation, will be available to buy or download from October 2.

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