'Boogie Nights' released in 1997 Boogie Nights weaved great songs from the disco and soft-rock Seventies and the MTV early Eighties into a mix tape that flowed just as seamlessly as the film's sumptuous tracking shots. Tracks like Walter Egan's "Magnet and Steel" and the Commodores' "Machine Gun" perfectly punched the nostalgia buttons of late Nineties twenty something's with vague memories of hearing them in the back of their parents' station wagons. Boogie Nights used some of these songs so well they're now inextricably linked to the movie. Whenever Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" comes on at happy hour, you can almost smell freebase sweat and firecracker smoke.
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A three-note horn blast, a disco groove calling from the dance floor, a woman's voice charging in to sing "never, ever do I feel discouraged." It's the '70s again. You're surrounded by freedom at its most complete, and trivial. This is how Boogie Nights, a film about the rise and fall of a porn star, begins. The soundtrack consists of dance and trash pop songs playing non-stop, forming a kind of historical narrative behind the action. Vol. I rescues some great nuggets of fluff, both black and white--"Magnet and Steel" and "The Best of My Love," for example. Then, it deliberately goes too far with Night Ranger's "Sister Christian." The song, defiantly candy-ass, challenges our capacity to recycle the pop culture past. Its earnest emptiness and lack of irony make it the most uncool, and fascinating, thing on the record. --Steve Tignor
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