Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Praise of Songs

I watched Glee last night and I liked it. I'm honestly not sure what's wrong me at the moment. Admittedly I think its ok to like Glee considering everyone seems to like Glee, and most importantly I saw on Twitter Simon Pegg likes Glee, so I think I'm allowed to like it to. To be fair it had some lovely gags in there, and purposefully cringeworthy moments, along with a great script. The only moments I genuinely couldn't stand were the random bursting into song bits. I've never been a fan of this and its why, to this day there are only a handful of musicals I've ever been able to handle. These are:


Singin' In The Rain - Remember when dancing and singing was manly? Neither do I, but Gene Kelly did it and he was a proper man, who gets the girl and duffs up a vocab teacher. Yeah badass. How can anyone hate the song Good Morning? I'll tell you. When its played very early in the morning very loudly like I did when still drunk on my 21st birthday in my student house. I enjoyed it. Others who were still asleep, less so. Moses Supposes is my favourite though and was clearly written by a loon. Amazing stuff. And its all clever and about the first ever talking films, which is all historical and that. It still totally holds its own nowadays even though George Sampson and a CGI Gene Kelly have both tried to mess it up with all that yobbish bodypopping and that.* Shame they never released the sequel Pissing In The Wind.

Tommy - How unmusical can you get? Music by the Who and a story line about a child abuse and the evils of fame. It was a shame the square headed king of nauseating camp Elton John had anything to do with the film as otherwise Pinball Wizard is a track of legend. I've never seen the film, mostly for Elton John reasons (I won't lie, there is something about the man I loathe more than Lothian Road. Which I don't loathe. It just sounds loathy), but I saw it on stage when the dude that used to work in Tesco's got the star role and Kim Wilde played the mum, which was awesome. It is a rockpera without being anywhere near the same vomit covered ball park as We Will Rock You. Which incidentally is also the evil work of someone called Elton. Maybe I just hate Eltons.

West Side Story - Romeo and Juliet but done all with gangs and that. Awesome. I once sang 'It's Coming' for a NYT audition. I didn't get in. I think its because I ruined that song in a lot of ways. I've seen the stage version and when I did one of the gang members tried to throw and knife in the air and catch it again and he didn't and missed. Hahahahahahaha.

Kat and the Kings - A South African musical about a band of black South African's during the Apartheid who can tap dance and sing. Political, clever, and songs that don't make you want to pull your own eyes out with a fork.

Jerry Springer The Opera - Not really a musical, but an opera, and co-written by Stewart Lee. I will still always smirk whenever I hear the introductory song about the Devil.

Blues Brothers - technically a musical. Also the most amount of car mayhem ever in a film. Cab Calloway, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin sing awesome music. Whats not to like? Nothing. Its brilliant and has some of the best quotes ever. 'It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.'

Shockheaded Peter - Kids getting their fingers chopped off and various other gruesome tales in songs by the Tiger Lillies. That's what musicals should be about.


That's it. That's all of them. Little Shop of Horrors is passable, and I will allow Mary Poppins, the Wizard of Oz - but not Wicked - and various other Disney films as they fall under the category of cartoon rather than musical as far as I'm concerned. And everything else makes me angry. I genuinely felt my temperature rise when Layla put Grease on once, and I've still never recovered from seeing Starlight Express. Its a show about toy trains for fucks sake. Why would anyone do that? Quick rundown of what I hate about musicals:


a) Unnecessary happy endings. Its just so horribly unrealistic. Don't get me wrong, I don't crave realism, hence why I like sci-fi films, or things with monsters in. However, things shouldn't always work out just so you can sing a happy clappy song at the end. Its why I like West Side Story. Death death death, and then lets have a sad sing song and a cry. Take that beaming toothed happy people with your shitty jazz hands!

b) Singing about everything. Its fine to sing about the big incidents or the moments of emotion, but when people start yawning on about tying their shoes, having a biscuit or doing a dance just for the sake of time filling, then it makes them look mentally ill.

c) Everyone looks like they've just been freshly cloned with faces so shiny it can deflect the sun's rays. Again, see number 1 for issues with realism.

d) A complete lack of storyline, heavily padded over by a couple of backflips or big songs. Just because you can defy gravity doesn't mean the show doesn't need to make sense. Yes its about Cats/Toy Trains/Someone in a mask who's dead but isn't dead, but I'd quite like some character development and sub-objectives to go with those big warbly notes please.


I'll admit, my opinion isn't well educated. I haven't sat through many musicals for fear I will break something or break down. But I'm fairly sure it won't happen with Glee. Even if it does, I'm watching it at home which is damage limitation. Today, I need to write some material for Josie Long's Lost Treasures of The Black Heart gig tonight, which I, as yet, have nothing for. This is not good, especially as I might need to take our cat Rosie to the vet because she is chewing off a bit of her own fur and Layla is worried. I'm not, I think she's trying to restyle her 'do', but apparently its more likely to be an infection. I would prefer the former, but then again a song about the latter would be more to my taste.


* I don't think bodypopping is yobbish. I am merely jealous that I cannot simulate robot movements at will. I also fear that the people who can are actually robots and its the beginning of an undercover operations where they begin as entertainment dancing bots and eventually start the Matrix/Terminator Salvation.

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