April 08, 2019
Today, Monday, April 8, is "Rex Manning Day," and it's trending all over social media. With so much love for this '90s cult classic, we decided to break down the best in '90s alternative soundtracks.
But first, who is Rex Manning, you might ask? Well, he's the fictional pop star from the 1995 film, "Empire Records." The film follows a group of record store employees gearing up for Rex Manning's appearance at Empire Records.
From losing all of the store's money in Atlantic City to dealing with a badmouth shoplifter, the film follows '90s youth as they try to figure out their lives. With a cast like Liv Tyler, Ethan Embry, and Renee Zellweger, it's hard not to love this coming-of-age dramedy.
The cult classic didn't too well in theaters, but its soundtrack peaked at no. 63 on the Billboard 200, and the lead single "Till I Hear It From You" by the Gin Blossoms peaked at no. 9 on the Hot 100.
Being that the film, in so many ways, is a love letter to music (especially '90s alternative music) why not take a look back on some the best '90s alternative soundtracks?
"Mad Love" stars Drew Barrymore and Chris O' Donnell. The movie was just okay, but the soundtrack was incredible. From Luscious Jackson to 7 Year Bitch to Magnapop - this might be one of the best female-esque soundtracks from the ‘90s. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is no longer available anywhere, but you can still find most of the songs separately. And if you haven't checked out Magnapop or 7 Year Bitch...you probably should.
The film which stars Rose McGowan as a 'teen dream' murderer has one pretty great soundtrack, featuring several female-fronted bands, including Shampoo and Letters to Cleo. It's also the first appearance by California punk band, The Donnas and includes their song "Rock 'n' Roll Machine." The Donnas can also be seen performing during the prom scene.
This New Jersey based film brought to us by Kevin Smith stars Shannon Doherty, Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and Jeremy London. The soundtrack has a bit of everything. With Elastica and Wax to a whole host of lines from the movie, it's hard not to love it. Smith has reportedly wrapped principle photography for the "Jay and Silent Bob" reboot, which will include appearances with Rosario Dawson, Jason Biggs, and Joey Lauren Adams.
The classic film, which gave us a never-aging Paul Rudd and “as if!” for the masses, stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher, a rich teen growing up in Beverly Hills. With songs like "Alright" by Supergrass and an acoustic version of "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead, it's one of the definitive '90s soundtracks.
The soundtrack for the film, "Romeo + Juliet," which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, peaked at no. 2 on the Billboard 200, went triple platinum, and was the second highest selling album of 1997. With songs like "#1 Crush" by Garbage, "Lovefool" by the Cardigans, and "Talkshow Host" by Radiohead, it's easy to see why this soundtrack gets so much love.
Just because it's Rex Manning Day doesn't mean "Empire Records" has to be the number one. This soundtrack brought us everything from the Gin Blossoms to The Cranberries, and it even gave us "The Ballad of El Goodo" by Evan Dando with Liv Tyler on background vocals. This soundtrack is about as '90s alternative as it can get, from pop alternative like Better than Ezra and The Martinis to punk alternative like "Ready, Steady, Go" by The Meices and "Sugar High" by Coyote Shivers.
Another defining '90s film for Generation X, this film has it all - grunge, Seattle, and even fake band 'Citizen Dick,' which featured real members of Pearl Jam. The movie helped define the grunge movement, and with a soundtrack that featured classic grunge bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, it's easy to see why. It would peak at no. 7 on the Billboard 200 in 1992 and was certified 2x platinum.