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Allie’s Latest Listens: A Musical Soundtrack Review

Phew! Look at that cover. Hamilton vibes? Hamilton vibes!

Now, it’s far from a secret that I love musical theatre, or really, any kind of theatre! I love acting in it, seeing it live or recorded, or just being overdramatic while I make eggs and listen to a soundtrack. It’s one of my favorite things in this world. I’ve recently had the pleasure of listening to a myriad of new musical soundtracks, mostly while making the long drive between home and college, or while cleaning my room. I actually have a sticky note on my wall with a list of “Musicals to Listen To” that I slowly added to/checked off. I actually just started a new one the other day as my old one was full!

Between recommendations, seeing fanart, and wanting to catch up on the popular theatre, I have many a show to talk about today, so this is gonna be long. If you prefer, there will be a TL;DR at the bottom. However, I would recommend sticking around as some of my favourite shows are at the end. Maybe I’ll inspire you to go give some smaller and/or underrated shows on this list a listen. If you have any recommendations for me to add to my next sticky note, leave them in the comments!

Just a very quick disclaimer: the opinions I present in this post are entirely my own. If I didn’t like a show you adore, that’s perfectly okay!! Different people have different likes and dislikes, not to mention different backgrounds, beliefs, and opportunities. Please remember to be kind and respectful if you do choose to leave a comment as hate speech will not be tolerated. Let’s all just have fun and be nerds together, okay? πŸ™‚ Also, Spoiler Alert! I’ll try and keep them as minor as possible, but I will be more lax with either general knowledge or the more iconic stories/shows, but you should still be aware. πŸ™‚

And now, in the order in which I listened to them, tonight’s shows!

#1 – Hadestown

We’re starting off incredibly strong with one of my top shows on this list! I remember hearing about this one after it won 8 Tonys in 2019, including Best Musical. Somehow, it took me almost two years to give it a listen, and I’m so glad I did. Hadestown tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice but is set in the 1930s during the Great Depression. It’s an operatic musical, which doesn’t mean it’s an opera, it just means that it’s sung all the way through with no (or very few) speaking lines a la Hamilton. The music itself is very jazzy and fun, with an overall sound of ‘classic 20’s/30s New York jazz meets modern hip hop’. It also incorporates beautiful arias sung by one of the main characters, Orpheus. It’s the kind of show that you can dance to a lot of the time, but that has its beautiful, tender, and heartbreaking moments. As Hermes puts it “It’s a sad tale – it’s a tragedy! It’s a sad song, but we’re gonna sing it anyway!”

I’ve only listened to the Broadway cast recording, so I can’t say anything about the off-Broadway cast, but I simply adore the voices in the show. It’s got so many beautiful and unusual voices and ranges. From the gravely, strong alto voice of Persephone, to the incredibly, incredibly deep voice of Hades, to the lovely and clear mezzo-soprano of Eurydice, each voice is distinct. The show is an alto paradise, which I, an alto, tremendously appreciate. It’s one of those shows I both enjoy all the way through, but I also can pick and choose what song I want to listen to at any given time. None of the characters annoy me, and there are no songs I find myself regularly skipping during full or partial listen-throughs, which is definitely hard to accomplish. I also love the messages of this musical: that it’s important to see the way the world could be, despite how it is, that persistence and love are stronger than fear and even death, and that sad stories – tragedies – are still worth retelling. It’s the kind of story you can dance to and fall in love with, but still learn from and take away something.

Stats:
Favourite Song – I have such a hard time picking one! They’re all so amazing. But I think the one I reach for the most is Livin’ It Up On Top. I just love how fun and jazzy and dance-able it is. But Wedding Song, Wait for Me, and Way Down Hadestown are also some of my favourites!
Least Favourite Song – It’s hard to pick! They are all so amazing and serve their own unique purpose. As mentioned, there are no songs I particularly skip, so I’ll just go with the one that makes me the saddest, but that is still incredible nonetheless: Doubt Comes In. It just makes me so mad at Orpheus – which is a great thing! When you’re mad at the characters, you know a story is well done.
Favourite Character – Probably Persephone or Orpheus. Not anything against the others, at all! And keep in mind, I’ve never actually seen the show, so I’m only going off voices and songs and the few bits of scenes I’ve seen. I love Orpheus’ hope, love, and clear voice. He sees the way the world could be, and I think we all need a bit of that. And, I dunno, I just love Persephone’s songs. She’s such a strong character and full of sass. She’s also who I tend to sing as when I sing to the soundtrack.
Least Favourite Character – Just on sheer annoyance and How Dare They energy alone – The Fates. Now, very similar to Doubt Comes In, I love the Fates for the way that you DON’T like them: because it means they’re playing the role exactly the way they should. You’re not supposed to like them as characters, and the actresses nail it.
Would I Ever See it Live? – YES YES YES YES YES
Would I Ever Do it? – Absolutely!! No clue who I’d play. I’d honestly just like to be part of the company, but I feel like if I had to character match/typecast myself, I’d most likely be Persephone or a Fate.
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Soundtrack Link (Will Take You to YouTube)

#2 – Legally Blonde

I feel like this is one of those stories everyone is familiar with, likely due to the iconic movie from 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon. In case you’re not familiar, Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a fashion merchandising major at a college in California who loves fashion, pink, her sorority, and her boyfriend, Warner. When Warner breaks up with her for “not being serious enough” for his soon-to-be-law-school-student self, Elle takes it upon herself to prove him wrong and win him back – by getting into and attending Harvard Law School. She’s accepted (“what, like it’s hard?”) and gets into a prestigious internship, ending up helping her friends and discovering who she is outside of her boyfriend – which is a pretty awesome woman and an amazing lawyer.

I love Elle, and her story, so much. When my mom showed me the movie, I knew I had a new role model. Elle is wicked smart, confident, and doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do. She chases her dreams and discovers she’s more than she ever thought she could be. When people told her she could never like pink and be blonde and pretty and also be a lawyer, she proved them all entirely wrong. This is the kind of story I, a rather non-traditional premed, loves. It shows that you don’t have to fit the mold to be who you want to be, and that’s a powerful message to everyone everywhere.

As far as the musical and its soundtrack are concerned, I’ve only listened to it twice. It’s not the kind of sound I often reach for. However, I do think the contemporary sound it has lends itself very well to the story and the vibes the show gives off! I love Elle’s voice, and I just adore the energy the music has. It’s a very fun, high-energy kind of show, which is reflected beautifully in the soundtrack. Some of the songs are silly and some are serious and some are just plain fun. It’s one of those soundtracks where you can get a lot of what’s happening, but not the full picture like in Hadestown, which makes it more difficult to follow. So yeah, I don’t have too much else to say, other than perhaps I need to give it another listen and refresh my memory!

Stats:
Favourite Character – Elle herself. I just love her character. I also adore her friend Paulette, who’s her hairstylist. She’s just so fun and silly, and also Bend and Snap is one of my favourite songs in the show (and moments in the movie).
Least Favourite Character – I think this is everyone’s least favourite: Callahan, the slimeball lawyer who hits on Elle and almost makes her drop out of law school. He’s the worst and everyone collectively hates him.
Favourite Song – I mentioned it already, but Bend and Snap cracks me up every time. I also love the Legally Blonde – Reprise. I’m not usually a fan of reprises, but this one is just so fun and high-energy and breaks the mold of Happy Song – A happy song/Happy Song Reprise – the most soul-crushing thing ever. It’s about redemption, finding out who you are, and celebrating victories. It’s so happy and fun.
Least Favourite Song – Simply because it just seems out of place: Ireland. I know it’s a song about Paulette’s past and what she wants and stuff (this musical is just full of ‘I want’ songs), but it’s just a weird pause in the middle of an otherwise high-energy show.
Would I Ever See it Live? – Sure! I’d probably really enjoy it and have a great time, but it’s probably not one I’d go see on my own, I’d probably go with friends or my mom.
Would I Ever Do it? – I don’t see why not! I’d never play Elle (not blonde, thin, or pretty enough), but if I had to guess, I’d probably be cast as Paulette, or maybe as a smaller background roll, which I’d be perfectly fine with!
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)

#3 – Wicked

Probably the most recommended to me, and the one I knew about the longest – Wicked is next on the list! I feel like this is likely the most well-known musical of the evening. I remember when it became popular, and apparently due to the book being absolutely horrible, and the fact that it was about ‘the bad guy’ there was a lot of controversy around it, so I never really had any desire to see or listen to it (even though the musical changed a ton from the original, very sketchy book). It tells the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West – Elphaba – from the Wizard of Oz, from why she’s green to why she’s the villain in the beloved story, mainly focusing on her experience with her Magic College roommate – Glinda. We follow her as she discovers who she is and how her choices and actions lead her to, more-or-less accidentally become evil.

Finally, between my friends (mainly one in particular – I don’t think she reads my blog, but if she does, you know who you are) telling me that I had to listen to this modern classic, and doing a synchronized swimming routine to the opening number, I finally decided to give it a go. And… I didn’t like it that much? Unlike Hadestown or Legally Blonde, the soundtrack does not give enough of the story in the actual songs, so most of the time I didn’t know what was going on. It’s definitely one of those shows where the songs are supplemental – most of the story is told through dialogue and staging. Unfortunately, this means that I really don’t have enough of a grasp on the story to form a full opinion. The songs as they are are great! I love the ‘modern musical’ style and just how fun, catchy, and dramatic most of them are. I can see them easily fitting well into a show – it’s just I don’t know what’s between them, which makes it an unsatisfying soundtrack. Now, this says nothing of the show itself, I just cannot comment on that because I haven’t seen it. Since that’s the case, this is a show I would love to see because of how much I know I’m missing and how much people love it. It must truly be sensational, I’m just missing the parts to make it so and the context to make the songs beloved.

Stats:
Favourite Character – I don’t think I have enough context to have a favourite, but from what I’ve seen, I think I’d love our main character – Elphaba. She seems like such a sweet, relatable character who’s trying to make the best of a bad situation. In the clips I’ve seen she’s awkward but witty, and really cares for the people in her life.
Least Favourite Character – I definitely don’t have a context for my least favourite.
Favourite Song – Even though I’ve only listened through once – I find Dancing Through Life stuck in my head occasionally. And What is This Feeling seems really fun with just… Elphaba and Glinda absolutely roasting each other. (Also, “BLONDE. -,-” had me absolutely rolling. Like?? What a reason for not liking your roommate. XD) It’s such a silly number.
Least Favourite Song – I don’t really have one since I don’t think I have enough context or enough times listened to pick.
Would I Ever See it Live? – Yes! I’d love to so I can finally understand what all the fuss is about! The groundwork is there in the soundtrack, I just need to see all the puzzle pieces come together.
Would I Ever Do it? – Maybe!
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)

#4 – Mean Girls

I feel like I knew this musical before I knew it. It’s… pretty much what you’d expect. It’s a story about high school mean girls. Yep. That’s the show. Inspired by a movie of the same name – which, unlike Legally Blonde I have not seen – Mean Girls follows a girl named Cady who’s just moved to a new school after living in Africa with her parents for most of her life. She falls in with the popular crowd – the Plastics, and in the process loses her individuality as she watches herself become one of them, taking over the role of the Queen Bee after dethroning Regina, the head antagonist at the beginning of the show. Eventually, she gets her priorities straight again and the show ends well – touting the dangers of falling in with the wrong people and losing yourself, which is a very good message to send to people – young girls specifically.

Kind of like Legally Blonde – this show’s soundtrack is enough to give you the gist of the show, but not the full picture. Unlike it, however, this is not the kind of story I go for. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just fine. It’s got a good sound, very modern and pop-like, it’s just not my favourite kind of story. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a very traditional high school experience, or maybe because I haven’t seen the movie, or because it didn’t live up to the hype in my head. This being said, two of the songs did make it into my musical playlist: Sexy and Meet the Plastics. I don’t know what it is about those two songs. I guess because they just make me laugh and are fun and catchy. Overall though, I don’t get the hype.

Stats:
Favourite Character – Probably Karen. Maybe I’m biased because I like her one song so much, but she just makes me laugh. She’s such an airhead and I love her for it.
Least Favourite Character – I don’t think I have enough context or commentary to have a least favourite. Even Regina, who is a very ‘love to hate’ kind of character and does that remarkably well.
Favourite Song – Sexy. It’s just, like, the most ridiculous song I’ve ever heard. Karen sings a whole song about choosing a Halloween costume, and it really satirizes the whole idea of inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes, with lines like “I give you sexy corn!” “I could be a sexy doctor and cure some sexy cancer! …that’s not right is it?” “No.” It makes me chuckle every time.
Least Favourite Song – Since I have only listened to the full thing once… I don’t really have one of these. I do remember being very disappointed in Revenge Party though. I had heard it was a total bop, and it’s, like most of the musical, fine.
Would I Ever See it Live? – Maybe, but I wouldn’t go out of my way. If some friends wanted to go, or if my school was putting it on, sure.
Would I Ever Do it? – Probably not. But I feel like if I did, I’d play Karen. Despite not being a soprano, her airheaded doofus of a character is exactly in my wheelhouse. I played a similar role before and had the time of my life, so I’d do it again.
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)

#5 – Heathers

This musical is both exactly and not at all what I thought it would be. I knew it was incredibly popular in many musical theatre circles, but I didn’t really know much about it. Like Legally Blonde and Mean Girls, it’s based on a movie from the 80s of the same name. Primarily following a high school student named Veronica, the baseline narrative is extremely similar to that of Mean Girls. Outcast Girl falls in with the popular crowd, something happens to remove the leader, Outcast becomes the new leader, and then Bad Things happen before she realizes Wait, I Was Wrong This Is Not What I Wanted. It just so happens that in Heathers the Bad Things are Veronica falling for homicidal bad boy JD who ends up killing people to prove his love and then almost blows up the whole school. So yeah. A little more R rated than Mean Girls. Not what I was expecting in that regard. It’s full of murder and drugs and sex (there’s a whole song that’s just a sex scene, which I didn’t know that song was going to be about that, and wow that took me by surprise) and… generally bad teenager behavior turned up to 11. So, as you might imagine, I did not enjoy this one. It is my least favourite on today’s list, and my least favourite of the ‘horror’ musicals I’ve come across.

Now, the sound of this musical is actually really good? Like, if you ignore the lyrics of most of the songs, there’s actually a really peppy and fun sound to it, making it overall enjoyable to listen to instrumentally. There are some great notes and powerful songs that really make the music itself remarkable, it’s just the overall tone and lyrics I don’t enjoy. Also, there’s apparently a song that’s only in some productions where Veronica kind of… puts her foot down and stands up to all the garbage going on that really changes the tone for the rest of the show, but since that’s not in the Broadway Cast Recording, I didn’t get to hear it. Perhaps that would change my mind, but I’m not sure. I dunno guys, I’m just overall really disappointed and unsatisfied. I was really hoping to enjoy this one.

Stats:
Favourite Character – I feel bad, but I don’t have one. In combination with not really liking the soundtrack, and therefore not listening to it more than once or taking the time to learn the characters, I don’t have a favourite.
Least Favourite Character – I just don’t like JD. I know a lot of people are like ‘aah, but he had a bad childhood and stuff! and he just wanted to show how much he loved Veronica! And he turns out okay and sacrifices himself in the end to save the school!’ No. I don’t buy it. He’s a creep and a jerk and we need to stop glorifying people like this. Also, he annoys me, which is the world of fiction is way worse than any other crime. To put it like a meme I saw: “The crimes are fictional but my annoyance is real”. JD just happens to have both offenses.
Favourite Song – I happen to have two reprises as my favourites: Dead Girl Walking -Reprise and Seventeen – Reprise. They’re both such… different versions of their original songs, and both are rather moving and show how Veronica has grown through the show and how much she realizes she’s done and how she plans to make it right.
Least Favourite Song – This is super controversial, because a lot of people love this song, but Dead Girl Walking. Like Revenge Party, I knew it was rather popular and had high hopes. Let me tell you when I heard it, my eyes about fell out of my head. This is the sex song I was talking about earlier. It’s honestly really gross and startlingly graphic. O-o This is partially why I like the reprise so much because the reprise is what I thought the song would be.
Would I Ever See it Live? – Nope
Would I Ever Do it? – Absolutely not
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†
Soundtrack Link – Though I don’t recommend it (Will take you to YouTube)

#6 – Frankenstein

I said Wicked was probably the most well-known musical on the list, and it is, but it can’t hold a candle to the world-renown story that is Frankenstein. The oldest story on today’s list, it’s definitely my second favourite. In case you’re somehow unfamiliar with this famous tale, Frankenstein follows the story of Victor Frankenstein, the title character, a brilliant young man fascinated by exactly what makes life… happen. When he goes to University, he embarks on a quest to discover this, eventually creating and reanimating a man of his own, with detrimental effects (mostly he was an irresponsible college student, got spooked by his own creation, and abandoned him.). The Creature survives Victor’s bad parenting decisions and goes on to wreak havoc on his family before confronting Victor and asking for a wife. More problems and death happen, and Victor ends up regretting his pursuit entirely. The musical ends very well, with both Victor and his Creature owning up to their mistakes and accepting their fates, whatever they may be. I rather enjoy this ending, personally. It’s the closure the story needs without changing too much. It sticks rather well to the original tale, while also working well with some of the more popular images we’ve come to associate with the story (for example: electricity is largely subtext in the original tale. Victor was actually a chemist – and discovered life that way. However, it was lightning influenced him to pursue natural sciences.). The musical pays excellent homage to everything we’ve come to make the story, which I think is a wise choice, but also has its own spin, which I love.

I have one main gripe with this musical: Elizabeth; Victor’s childhood best friend and betrothed. While she is not given a great amount of development in the original story, I do not like her character here. They play up the ‘she’s the heart of the story!’ angle, which would be fine if they didn’t strip her of what makes her a unique character. Victor deserves better than a sexy lamp ingenues character to be his wife. They both deserved better. I think the writers could have taken her character in a similar direction to Eliza from Hamilton and it would have been stellar. Maybe because I love the angle the novel The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein took with her character so much, I really don’t like this portrayal.

I don’t think I’ve made it clear yet that I absolutely adore this musical. Seriously. The novel has long been my favourite classic, and when I discovered that this musical exists (thanks to ABD Illustrates, an artist YouTuber I like), I was excited, but skeptical, since people have tried to tell and retell this story so many times, and it never ends well. But this musical really did it justice. I love the music in it. It’s just so big and dramatic and musical theatre-y. It scratches such a good itch, it’s just so powerful and fun and really draws you in. It’s got some fantastical music numbers, and the voices in the cast album are spectacular. They’re really the kind of songs I love to perform to because they’re just so fun and powerful and dramatic. Does this mean I once got some very strange looks while making eggs in my dorm kitchen? …Yes. Did this teach me a lesson about musicals in public spaces? No.

Stats:
Favourite Character – Maybe controversial, but I love Victor. I always have. Is he a stupid little college student who got Too Curious for his own good and messed up big time? Yes. Yes, he is. But here he owns up to what he did. I also love his songs, they’re some of my favourites. I also love the Creature (which I will capitalize now because my 9th-grade English teacher isn’t here to tell me off about it >:D) he deserves sympathy and compassion, and I love the angle that this adaptation takes with him. Some of his songs and lines are just so incredibly impactful, and I love the chaotic rhythms in his song The Waking Nightmare. It’s just, ah, so good.
Least Favourite Character – I think I made it pretty clear: Elizabeth.
Favourite Song – Definitely the hardest one yet, but I think it has to go to The Modern Prometheus. Which, first of all, excellent inclusion of the alternate title, and second of all… it’s just so dramatic and good? It’s basically just Victor going “Well, I’ve gone too far to turn back now, let’s do some mad science! >:D”. This was also the song that introduced me to the musical. It wasn’t what I initially expected, but it’s definitely the one I now reach for the most. However, honorable mentions go to Birth to My Creation, Hands of Time, and Coming of the Dawn.
Least Favourite Song – Workings of the Heart. It’s Elizabeth’s lame love song. I skip it every time.
Would I Ever See it Live? – YES!
Would I Ever Do it? – Oh my goodness yes I would. Who would I play, you ask? Well, as I am not male, Victor is out of the question (unless you wanted to do a genderbend, which, I would love. please give). I think I’d likely be Justine, the governess to the two younger Frankensteins who is framed for the murder of William. She seems like the kind of character I’d be cast as. I also like her song Why. It’s very cute and sweet.
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)

#7 – The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals

This one is different from the other ones in one major way – I actually got to watch this one! Starkid, the group that put this show on, uploads all their productions to YouTube for free. Apparently a modern adaptation/parody of the old movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals (TGWDLM for short) is a story about a guy, Paul, an office worker in the small island town of Hatchetfield, who really hates musicals. So imagine his surprise when a meteor that falls during the night turns his entire town into one. Eventually, it’s up to him, Emma (a barista he’s got a crush on), three of his coworkers, and one of Emma’s community college professors (Professor Hidgens) to try and save the day. Spoilers: It doesn’t go very well.

This musical is hilarious. I watched it with a friend of mine to celebrate the end of the semester. It’s so fun and silly, but also spooky and genuinely frightening at times as you worry for the main characters (especially as they start getting picked off one by one). I will say, it had a lot more swearing in it than I am generally comfortable with (in fact, a lot of memes make fun of this), which is probably my biggest complaint. The music is fun, not necessarily amazing or showstopping, but this is one of those shows that’s just an Experience. It does a tasteful and absolutely hilarious job making fun of the “traditional musical” (a really dumb ‘I want’ song, an overdramatic “show-stopping number”, etc). They also do a spectacular job with such a tiny cast, showing the versatility of the actors. The facial expressions alone, Paul’s especially, really help make the show. I enjoyed it overall, but I would watch with caution, especially if you’re a bit of a younger viewer. I’d probably put this show at TV-14; it’s not going to be for everyone. But let me tell you, once you’ve heard Cup of Roasted Coffee, it’s never going to leave your head.

Stats:
Favourite Character – I think Emma. She’s just such a real character and makes me laugh so much. She or Professor Hidgens, who’s just always so extra. Like, in literally everything.
Least Favourite Character – I don’t really like Ted, one of Paul’s coworkers, but that’s kind of intended. He’s a player and a jerk, and just so unashamedly awful and annoying, which kind of makes him fun in his own way by having some of the most iconic lines in the show.
Favourite Song – I’m not sure. None of the songs really stick out to me since I saw the show, not just listened to the soundtrack. The songs that get stuck in my head the most are definitely Cup of Roasted/Poisoned Coffee and Show Stoppin’ Number! I think just because they’re so catchy and silly.
Least Favourite Song – I don’t know for this one either. I think in the moment the one I liked the least was What Do You Want, Paul? because it made me uncomfortable, but that’s also the point, and the guy who plays Paul’s boss does so impeccably, so there’s only so much flack I can give it.
Would I Ever See it Live? – Totally!
Would I Ever Do it? – No. Even though I enjoy watching this show, it’s not one I’d be likely to do.
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)
Full Show! (Will take you to YouTube)

#8 – Starry – A New Musical

If you don’t think you need this in your life, you’re wrong. You are dead wrong and I am going to tell you why. I won’t even wait to get into it: this musical is phenomenal. Currently still in the works, Starry is in the concept album stage. As the name (and that stunning cover art) suggest, this show tells the story of Vincent Van Gogh and his lesser-known young brother Theo Van Gogh, following their journey through Paris, life, and into the history books. We hear about their childhood, watch Theo fall in love, and get to know some of the other painters that Vincent might have known, like Emile Bernard, Degas, and Gauguin. While it may sound like an unusual premise, it’s just completely incredible. The music is some of the most beautiful I have ever heard. Someone commented that it sounds like how paintings look, and I completely agree. The whole show is just full of beauty.

The story it tells is about persevering in the face of adversity and finding beauty in the world; seeing it in a different and uniquely stunning way. It’s full of joy, hope, and so much life, but there are also some heavy, sad moments it covers, like Vincent’s depression and suicide. Some songs are upbeat and fun, some are melodic and just hauntingly gorgeous, and some are both. It’s got a modern pop/rock sound to it, but it works so well and the lyrics are amazing. They’re so beautiful and impactful and I love all of them so much and some of them feel like they’re speaking directly to me. Don’t even get me started on the voices. They are amazingly talented, and the personality and emotion they imbue into the music really bring the characters to life. If you’re already familiar with the above entry, TGWDLM, you’re probably familiar with Starkid and its actors. Congrats! You already will know some of the voices of this show (particularly Vincent and Gauguin).

This musical absolutely blew me away – and let me tell you, in the two weeks or so I’ve known about it, I’ve probably listened to the whole thing through 10+ times. The first time I did, it had me crying. Which is incredibly hard to do. It manages to be so beautiful and moving while at the same time upbeat and fun. If you take anything at all away from this post, it’s that you should listen to this soundtrack. Be ready for laughter, tears, and an overall great time (and also to have United in Distaste stuck in your head forever). This musical changed my life, and the small fandom that exists is full of similar stories. I cannot wait to see where this musical goes, and maybe, one day, I’ll get to see it for myself – maybe even on Broadway! Please go check it out and support the very talented people involved in making this show happen.

Stats:
Favourite Character – I love Vincent and the way he sees the world, because of course I do, but it’s hard to pick just one. I also love Theo so much and how he supports Vincent wholeheartedly. Their relationship is so amazing and wonderful to hear. It was actually from letters between the two that this musical gets most of its story, which I find really neat!
Least Favourite Character – I don’t have one. XD I feel like I should, but everyone just brings something so alive and unique that… I can’t choose one to specifically not like.
Favourite Song – Probably The Road. It’s got some of my favourite lyrics in the whole show and is the one I listen to the most, though that’s definitely saying something. However, my honorable mentions go to Impress Me, which is the show’s opening number, and The Starry Night, which is Vincent’s solo in the back half of the show. (This was also the number than introduced me to the show and is also the song to make me cry the most, next to the number that follows it, The Red Vineyard.)
Least Favourite Song – Just solely on the fact that I don’t often reach for it: Enlightenment, which is a song sung by Jo, Theo’s soon-to-be wife. It’s absolutely stunning, just not one I often listen to individually.
Would I Ever See it Live? – I am determined to one day and I’d love to bring my mom along. One of her favourite paintings is van Gogh’s Starry Night, and I really think she’d love the music as it is.
Would I Ever Do it? – Oh yes. Totally. Am I ever likely to? No, probably not. I’d honestly love to just be a general company member for this one. I adore the group numbers and to have a chance to be a part of something so beautiful? I wouldn’t pass it up for the world.
Overall Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Soundtrack Link (Will take you to YouTube)

TL;DR

#1 – Hadestown
Orpheus and Eurydice in the 1930s. Sung all the way through. Very jazzy and fun. Will break your heart. β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
#2 – Legally Blonde
Sorority girl Elle Woods becomes a badass lawyer against everyone’s expectations. Big, high-energy musical numbers and great vibes. β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
#3 – Wicked
The backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West. Context is hard to ascertain from the soundtrack alone – need more info for a balanced review, but very musical-theatre-y. β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†
#4 – Mean Girls
High school mean girls have a musical now. Pop/hip-hop kind of style. Overall, not my vibe. Good silly songs about Halloween costumes though. β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†
#5 – Heathers
R-Rated Mean Girls with murder and sex. Did not enjoy it. Great backing music, bad lyrics, and themes. β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†β˜†
#6 – Frankenstein
Surprisingly good version. Good adherence to the original novel as well as incorporating popular interpretations. Big, dramatic, and lots of energy. Highly underrated. β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
#7 – The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals
The whole thing is on YouTube to watch for free. Very silly with a side of existential horror. Lots of profanity. Great satirization of musical theatre. β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†
#8 – Starry – A New Musical
An indie musical about the Van Gogh brothers still in production. My new favourite thing. Absolutely beautiful and touching. Be prepared to laugh and also to sob. β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

And that is it for today’s post! I know it was super long, so major kudos if you stuck it out to the end! One last gentle reminder to be friendly if you choose to leave a comment! We’re all friends here, and it’s fine if you agree or disagree with me! Everyone is different, and that’s part of what makes life so exciting.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and I hope I inspired you to maybe look up a new show! I know I had a ton of fun listening to these soundtracks as well as writing this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

Have a spectacular Friday!

~ Allie the hopeless theatre nerd (Of Rainy Days)

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6 thoughts on “Allie’s Latest Listens: A Musical Soundtrack Review

Add yours

  1. Hello yes greetings
    I must say
    I have to re-hype Wicked for you.
    First off, only listening to Dancing Through Life once is a *tragedy*, it’s a spectacular song and deserves to be on repeat for hours. Secondly, if you haven’t paid much attention to the lyrics of For Good, you missed the best friendship ballad in musical theater. Lastly, Wicked is one of the two Broadway shows I’ve had the chance to see, and it was absolutely worth it. It was steampunk and magical and gorgeous. The plot is… still slightly confusing, but yes, it’s much better live. XD If you want me to summarize the basics to make listening easier, message me and I will gladly do so. πŸ˜›

    Also, I realized the other day that I’ve not told you to listen to Jekyll & Hyde: The Gothic Musical Thriller. You’d probably love it. I’m excited to listen to more Starry and Frankenstein, I’m glad this post reminded me about them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would like a summary, actually. XD That might be useful.
      Jekyll and Hyde is actually on my ‘to listen to’ list already! The book is on my summer reading list, so the plan is to read the book first, then give the show a listen. I’m excited about it though! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ack, Hadestown and Frankenstein are both SO AMAZING. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. So many great performances on the cast albums and so much originality in the adaptions but with respect to the original stories?? Why don’t we see more like this??

    Starry looks kind of great. I will have to check that one out.

    (By the way, have you listened to Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities, and Bandstand? I would recommend those if you haven’t.)

    Lovely, lovely reviews!

    Like

  3. Um, I don’t know if my list comment went through?? But anyway, I just wanted to add that VICTOR IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER TOO. He’s so selfish and frustrating but somehow still likable?? So I was really pleased that he got some redemption in his character arc in the musical.

    Like

    1. Yes! They did go through. Comments don’t show up until I approve them (for spam reasons), but yes I got all of them! :D<

      On Hadestown and Frankenstein: exactly!! Yes!! We need more like these! They are wonderful and I might be a bit obsessed. XD Oh no. I've gotten some of my friends on the Hadestown train though, so, at least I'm not alone! Also, I'm *so* glad Victor is someone else's favourite. He is a dramatic angst potato who thinks he is the Most Important, but I still love him somehow?? I'm so glad he got some redemption. It makes me so happy. Now if someone could make his drink some responsibility juice, maybe he wouldn't have so many dang problems.

      You must! Give Starry a try. It's one of my all-time favourites.

      (I have not! I will have to add them to my 'Musicals to Listen To' sticky note. Goodness, I'm going to have to do another soundtrack review if people keep recommending me new shows!)

      Thank you. *bows* ;D

      Like

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