Top Scores #9: Combustible Edison & Four Rooms (1995)

Happy New Year!

Whether you’re powering through your new resolutions or still shaking the confetti out of your hair, our first Top Score of the year is a tribute to the NYE season.

Four Rooms is the 1995 anthology film which features a star-studded cast of that decade’s talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Tim Roth, Antonio Banderas, pop megastar Madonna and Marisa Tomei are just some of the starring actors, while Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino each take on a segment of the movie as writer/director.

Four Rooms is loosely based on the short fiction writings of Roald Dahl, and is set in a Los Angeles hotel on New Year’s Eve. Tim Roth plays the main character, a bellhop whose first night on the job unfolds through four encounters with hotel guests.

The four parts of the film are woven together by a soundtrack written and performed by Combustible Edison. The seven-piece outfit from Providence, Rhode Island, was at the forefront of the resurgence of lounge music in the 1990s, alongside contemporaries like Love JonesPink Martini, The High Llamas and Don Tiki. Rising in counterpoint to the popularity of grunge music, the ’90s lounge trend embraced – if not a little ironically – the sound of midcentury easy-listening music, sharp vintage fashion styles and retro cocktail culture.

Combustible Edison formed in in 1991 and disbanded in 1999, having released three artist albums with renowned indie label Sub Pop. The Four Rooms soundtrack earned them even more cool points, via the producer credit: Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh.

Despite the film’s top quality ingredients, Four Rooms was not met with the warmest of receptions. The movie earned a 14% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Madonna’s work in the film won a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress, and “Vertigogo”, the theme song, was submitted for consideration for an Academy Award, but disqualified because Combustible Edison’s lyrical content was deemed to be “incomprehensible.”

Watch the video for Combustible Edison’s song “The Millionaire’s Holiday” which appeared on the Four Rooms soundtrack, below.

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