When I was 12 I had dual-cassette player in my room, a birthday gift. It was my first connection to a world much greater than myself. I used to record singles off of the radio, compiling my earliest mix tapes, and setting a standard for the countless hours I would spend at my computer putting together playlists as an adult. During this time I had a rather short attention span – I wouldn’t be prepared for my first full length album from a single band for another year. For this reason, I discovered my first full-length musical experience in a soundtrack. Even then I knew that this collection would be important, although looking back, that was most likely the result of a great deal of romanticism to the cassette itself, as well as the movie from which it came.
The Crow, starring Brandon Lee, was an important film for me, introducing me to several cinematic themes, not the least of which was the legacy passed from Bruce Lee to his son. The film was dark and violent, the adaptation of a graphic novel that was equally so. The soundtrack then, not only accompanied the movie for me, but everything surrounding it. It only took one time through before I had found a way to apply each macabre track to some aspect of my life, a product of burgeoning teen angst, no doubt. This soundtrack’s importance would never be lost on me though, and even today I still find myself listening to select songs.
This soundtrack introduced me to numerous important bands, bands that I would listen to for years to come, and some that I wouldn’t listen to beyond it. Paramount to this experience was my introduction to The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine, and Violent Femmes. This album set the stage for my music tastes for years to come, and although I never grew to appreciate Pantera or Rollins Band on the same level as The Jesus and Mary Chain or Helmet, their impression would stay with me well into adulthood. When I had the chance to meet Henry Rollins, I was glad to have had that post-Black Flag experience to reflect on.
The Crow had a formidable influence on my adolescence, and continues to be a strong presence in my life today. Each track feels like a small piece of history, something greater than nostalgia. They collectively act not just as the soundtrack to a motion picture, but as the soundtrack to my life, even beyond the point at which my cassette melted and its CD replacement wouldn’t play any more. Most importantly, this soundtrack introduced me to the full-length musical experience of a complete album, and the most influential band of my teenage years: Nine Inch Nails.