Just so you don’t think I only watch films from the 1980s, this week I thought I’d step into the ’90s with Empire Records (1995). I love this movie about a Gen X-run independent record store for a few reasons. One is the nostalgia factor. It definitely makes me think of high school — Class of ’96, in case you were wondering — and the many Saturday nights my friends and I watched it when we were too lazy to go out. It somewhat successfully attempts to capture the essence of my generation at the time (even though some sources tell me IÁ¢€™m part of the “Millennial Generation,” I consider myself to be a Gen Xer) with its hip, young cast, memorable characters, and quotable lines.

Another reason I love Empire Records is its hilariously unrealistic portrayal of working in a retail establishment. Anyone who’s worked retail will probably agree with me on that point. For example, Empire is a huge store, yet there are only one or two people on the floor at a time, usually just standing behind the registers. No wonder they have shoplifters. The staff, including the store manager, spend most of their time in the back room for one silly reason or another. (None of my managers had drum sets in their offices, though that would’ve been pretty fantastic.) The fake funeral — yeah, that would really happen. And how about that lenient stance on employee theft? Damn the man!

I could go on and on. I know itÁ¢€™s supposed to be an “indie” record store, but seriously. Okay, maybe I’m just bitter and jealous that I never worked in a place that fun.

Finally, there’s the soundtrack. You really can’t love a movie about working in a record store without loving at least some of the music it features. Sadly, the official soundtrack, which lived in my stereo for a few months back in ’95, only showcases a portion of the songs in the film. If you ask me, some of the best stuff was left out, and that’s a bummer. I set out to dig up as many of the non-album tracks as I could, and I think I did an okay job. Here’s what I have:

The Cruel Sea – The Honeymoon Is Over
The Dirt Clods – Hey Joe
Queen Sarah Saturday – Seems
Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
Quicksand – Thorn in My Side
Ass Ponys – Little Bastard
The Flying Lizards – Money (That’s What I Want)
AC/DC – If You Want Blood (YouÁ¢€™ve Got It)
Dishwalla – Counting Blue Cars
Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
Throwing Muses – Snakeface
The Cranberries – How
Daniel Johnston – Rock ‘n’ Roll/EGA
Gwar – Saddam a Go-Go
Sponge – Plowed
The Adolescents – L.A. Girl
Suicidal Tendencies – I Shot the Devil
The The – This Is the Day

And I couldn’t leave out Rex Manning! I think this is way better than an MP3 (plus, the one I have is only a snippet):

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/szvt8iWJ0oo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Now, hereÁ¢€™s what I donÁ¢€™t have. If any of these songs live on your hard drive, consider this an invitation to share with your fellow Popdose readers.

The Dirt Clods, “Can’t Stop Losing Myself”
Noah Stone, “Dark and Brooding”
Sacrilicious, “I DonÁ¢€™t Know Why”
Real, “Real”
Full Tilt Gonzo, “Candy”
Peg Boy, “Hardlight”
Fig Dish, “Chew Toy”
Fitz of Depression, “Power Shack”
Loose Diamonds, “Backdown Blues”
Mouth Music, “Tomorrow”
Billy White Trio, “Surround You”
Dead Hot Workshop, “Vinyl Advice”
Poster Children, “She Walks”
Sybil Vane, “Sorry”
Mouth Music, “Infinity”

About the Author

Kelly Stitzel

After shutting down her own blog, Looking at Them, in mid-2008, Kelly migrated over to Popdose, bringing with her Soundtrack Saturday, the most popular column from her old site. Kelly makes a living as a fashion and marketing copywriter, which takes up a lot of her time. However, when she is able to write about things that have nothing to do with her day job, she contributes reviews and musings on music, film and a variety of other topics. In addition to Soundtrack Saturday, columns she's written include Filminism and Pulling Rank.

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