Various Artists – XXX: Music From HBO\'s \"Thinking XXX\" Review

1. Peaches “AA XXX”
2. Tiga “Hot In Herre”
3. Mylo “Muscle Car (Reform Reprise)”
4. Felix da Housecat featuring Princess Superstar “Choochie Coo”
5. Goldfrapp “Train”
6. Futon “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
7. Xlover “Lovesucker”
8. Ladytron “Sugar”
9. Whitey “Leave Them All Behind”
10. Virgin Tears “Rock And Roll (Part 3)”
11. Heather Hunter “Freak Like Me”
12. Rabbit In The Moon “Timebomb”
13. Moderato “HLM”
14. The Velvet Underground “Here She Comes”

Knowing nothing about this album, I barely glanced at the title before pulling the jewel case out of the encasing cardboard sleeve. “Whoa, boobs!” I exclaimed. I flipped the case over. “Whoa, schlong!” I gasped. It was about then that I realized this disc was neither a clever gimmick, nor did it have anything at all to do with Vin Diesel.

In fact, XXX: Music From HBO’s “Thinking XXX” is a compilation of the accompanying tunes from the documentary of art photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ book, 30 Porn-Star Portraits. The effect is clear: fourteen dance-rooted songs clearly geared to a certain style, all sexually charged. With the opening track being from the controversial and hypersexual Peaches, as well as a contribution from porn star Heather Hunter, it’s clear that this soundtrack wasn’t just created flippantly.

Opening with “AA XXX” by Peaches, an immediate mood is established. The production is fantastic, yet the track pounds with minimalism and the ever-present air of hot, sweaty sexual tension. Tiga’s cover of the silly Nelly hit “Hot In Here” is fun eurodance romp; Mylo’s “Muscle Car” coos and purrs along, but hardly gives one a break before the most fantastic “Choochie Coo.” Princess Superstar’s vocals nearly writhe through a house beat, creating what is one of many contenders for the best showing on the album. Goldfrapp’s “Train” again eases back a bit for a moment to catch a breath, but Futon’s cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” bursts forward with a deliciously unique take on the punk classic.

If you have noticed a pattern by now, you wouldn’t be alone, and likely you would be playing directly into the intent of this soundtrack. The first ten tracks flow effortlessly without blending into a generic mash of grinding techno porn music. The end of the disc takes a few dips and twists, however. “Freak Like Me” shows porn star Heather Hunter rapping over a bass track seemingly flavored by Orbital. Rabbit in the Moon contributes some standard dark house fare, and is quickly followed by “HLM” by Moderato, a rather laid-back ambient track that seems quite different from the rest of the album. Tying things together at the end, nearly unexplicably (until you learn that Greenfield-Sanders once directed a documentary on Lou Reed) is a Velvet Underground track, “Here She Comes.” Regardless of one’s take on Velvet Underground as a whole, it sticks out like a sore thumb combined with the rest of the soundscape.

For it strange as it seems that a compilation like this even exists, there’s no mistaking that it’s definitely got some great high points. The tracks by Peaches, Princess Superstar, Futon, and Ladytron alone are worth the purchase price. For being an album based on porn (and clearly feeling like one), it never once comes off as cheesy, contrived, or anything other than a fantastic conglomeration of like-minded music. Think of it as Lords of Acid with a sense of tact and the ability to write decent songs.