If it's not the best soundtrack of the '80s, this album is certainly in the discussion. I don't remember many of these songs being in the film, but that doesn't diminish the quality of the compilation. What I do remember from the film are 2 songs not included here: The Association's Cherish and Ducky's lip-synching to Try A Little Tenderness. But John Hughes certainly knew how to put together a soundtrack. Here's what he had to say in the liner notes:
"The music in Pretty in Pink was not an afterthought. The tracks on this album and in this film are there because Howie Deutch and I believe in the artists, respect the artists and are proud to be in league with them."
It is certainly stronger than most other typical '80s soundtracks which consisted of one hit song and a bunch of bad fluff (see St. Elmo's Fire, The Breakfast Club) or films with great music that never got an official full-length soundtrack release (see Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Valley Girl).
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #5 (May 3, 1986)
- If You Leave - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark: This ranks up there with Modern English's I Melt With You as one of the most overplayed songs of the '80s. While I was never wild about this song, I didn't mind hearing it the first 2,000 times. Now it's a little much for me. Unlike most of the later songs on this soundtrack, this track hasn't been ripped to my iTunes. This interview with OMD's Andy McCluskey contains an interesting story about how this song made it onto the soundtrack.
- Left Of Center - Suzanne Vega featuring Joe Jackson on piano: When this came out, I hadn't heard of Suzanne Vega, who is very underrated as a songwriter. Joe Jackson does a good job on piano, but nothing worthy of note. I guessing he's credited because he was the better known artist at the time.
- Get To Know Ya - Jesse Johnson: Former guitarist of The Time does his best Prince imitation and falls a little short.
- Do Wot You Do - INXS: Now things start to get good. A fantastic song along the lines of the band's New Sensation. This song would have fit in perfectly on the band's Kick album. Michael Hutchence had such a great rock voice.
- Pretty In Pink - The Psychedelic Furs: While I prefer the grittier 1981 version, this remake is still good. The added horn parts would actually have taken the original version up a notch. Richard Butler has a horrible voice and yet I think that's one of the great things about this song. It just fits. The lyrics don't have anything to do with the movie, but I'd sure watch a movie that was based on the lyrics.
- Shell-Shock - New Order: typical great New Order techno-dance music that sounds like most of their mid/late-'80s stuff.
- Round, Round - Belouis Some: harmless new wave. Not great, but good enough.
- Wouldn't It Be Good - Danny Hutton Hitters: While the Nik Kershaw original would have been better, this isn't bad for a straight-ahead cover. Wikipedia tells me that Hutton was a singer for Three Dog Night, so there ya go.
- Bring On The Dancing Horses - Echo & the Bunnymen: I think I've said this before - I wish I had listened to Echo back in the '80s. This is a great song with fantastic keyboard and guitar parts. The producer (Laurie Latham) really knew what he was doing.
- Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths: a memorable lament. I want to complain that this song is way too short, but that just adds to it (just like the final chord never resolving to the tonic).