Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 14: A song people wouldn't expect you to like

I've already written the best end of 2,000 words for this blog tonight, so this is going to be a short one. I've not got a lot to say about it, anyway.

I like musicals. Les Miserables is, quite clearly, one of the most rousingly-entertaining pieces of pure theatre to be found anywhere - I was tempted to choose the 'One More Day' mass medley from that for today's post, but it's so self-evidently magnifient that I can't believe anyone would be surprised to learn that I like it. Even the writers of South Park are clearly fans, as the spot-on homage/pastiche of it in the South Park movie demonstrates. 'West Side Story' features some of the best American songwriting of the 20th century, and even the likes of 'Chicago' can be great fun (the movie was terrible, mind). I don't generally listen to musical soundtracks much at home, but I've seen plenty of them on stage, and I'm always happy to take the chance to do so.
I'd imagine that might surprise a few people, so it seems like a reasonable subject for today's post.

I even like some Andrew Lloyd-Webber musicals, although he's not a favourite - generally his shows have one, maybe two memorable songs, padded out with plenty of filler, and he's obviously a profoundly-dislikeable human being. But when he's good, he can rip off Puccini as well as anyone in the business.

Cats is, frankly, a fairly terrible show. But this song, saccharine and melodramatic as it may be, has a genuinely beautiful melody, and when sung well - as it is here - it can soar. That's worth something.


Anonymous said...

Aw, I love Les Mis. I did a character study of Javert vs Valjean and I did my sixth year studies dissertation on Victor Hugo. I've seen numerous adaptaions of the book and I can honestly say that I think the musical was the most accurate interpretation of Javert's character. He never tips over into moustache-twirling villainy.

And yes, Cats is an awful show but I do have a soft spot for the cast recording with Brian Blessed because Brian Blessed makes everything awesome.

Mark Patterson said...

I've never heard that. Now I must seek it out.

I don't know if you've ever seen How I Met Your Mother (better than you might expect, although it seems to have outstayed its welcome, if recent episodes are anything to go by), but if you have - and even if you haven't - you should probably watch this interview, in which Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel are completely awesome: