It’s the last Tuesday of the month, so here’s the soundtrack to my past few weeks.
John Cameron Mitchell & Others, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
There are a lot of cast albums (and soundtracks) on my list this month. Why? Idk. Maybe they're mostly politically relevant shows with a hard rock score? Anyway, Hedwig is all that and hits my Bowie glam rock sweet spot with a patina of musical theatre thrown in the mix.
Original Broadway cast, American Idiot
Green Day was a big part of my early 90's childhood soundscape, so I was thrilled to say the least when the Broadway show came out. Is it sacrilege for me to like the arrangements better on the Broadway recording than on the original album? Oh, and yeah, another political musical theatre piece.
Original Broadway cast, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
I have a strange relationship with this show. When I first listened to the cast album I didn't like it much, though I was intrigued by the idea of the piece – a historical revision of Andrew Jackson as a modern-day emo rock star. When I saw the show on Broadway and heard the score in context, I gained a new appreciation for the music. Unfortunately, I didn't like the book of the show very much (which I attribute to it's transfer from off-Broadway to on-Broadway). Then, as the Obama administration went on, BBAJ started to seem irrelevant, that Jackson's (and W's) brand of populism was outdated and rebuffed. I wish it would have stayed irrelevant, but now I need this album more than ever.
The New Pornographers, Challengers
This one's just for fun. Finally! The New Pornographers are my favorite, favorite band. Yes, their name is off-putting but please give them a chance. They're a mostly Canadian power pop supergroup (yes, the magical Neko Case does vocals) and I love everything they do. They're coming out with a new album soon, so I went back and listened to one of my old favorites. I think next month I may be writing about The Electric Version, the album when I first became obsessed.
Various, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I actually don't know why this one's on the list. It's not political, it's not research for one of my projects. It's just really, really good. So does there have to be another reason? Many amazing folk musicians contributed to the soundtrack so it also functions as a jumping-in point for the genre as a whole. So check it out! And watch the movie – George Clooney and John Goodman are standouts.
What’s been coming out of your earbuds this month?