Category Archives: Soundtrack

Matilda the Musical Soundtrack – Track by Track

I have been waiting since the cold winter evening in January when my clutch broke driving back from Stratford to Birmingham for this soundtrack!! It was the second time I’d seen Matilda the Musical and had hoped it wouldn’t be the last.  Sadly it was to be the last time I saw it in it’s original home of Stratford but gossips of there being a soundtrack CD were already being shouted.  After the announcement of the soundtrack being released earlier this year and the news it would open in London, it caused much excitement in the fans of the musical and hopefully many more people will become fans of such a great show.

The CD listing suggests there’s been some changes – most notably the absense of Segai’s song ‘Perhaps a Child’ at the end, which when I saw it the second time saw the ending of the show changed quite a bit from the first.  Also missing is the ‘Chokey Chant’ but that was only a short number amd what with the creatives claiming Hortensia has been cut recently maybe the whole song will have made an exit.

Anyway, those questions can’t be answered until it’s opened but in the meantime I bring to you an AfterThe Curtain Comes Down Track by Track Soundtrack Review.

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First of all, can I just say now that I prefer the original production artwork as seen below.  The poster for the London production also contains Matilda on a swing and is a little bit better than the CD cover but I still prefer the Quinten Blake Matilda.  It also appears to have had a name change from Matilda A Musical to Matilda THE Musical.

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Anyway – to the music! Unlike the Ghost Musical track by track, I know the songs from Matilda.  It may have been a while since I last heard them but a lot of the tracks are unforgettable.

TRACK 1: Miracle

If you know the story of Matilda, an opening number called Miracle may make you consider there’s a non linear story line here – but there isn’t.  Instead we see a group of children singing how they are praised by their parents and how they are the diamond in their families.  Inbetween we meet Mr & Mrs Wormwood (who is now a ballroom dancer and competitor) who are in the hospital as Mrs Wormwood thinks she’s fat…. of course she’s preganant and we also find out their reactions to having Matilda…

A fantastic opening that introduces the family in an exciting way.  The children get a chance to shine from the start.  The staging in Stratford was awesome with so many things happening and hope it continues into London.5/5

TRACK 2: Naughty

Seeing a show where the main character is a young girl makes you wonder how she is going to cope carrying a show on her shoulders.  You’d expect them to go easy on her…. but no! This is the first big solo from Matilda who also has to deliver a number of monologues and will hardly leave the stage and it’s a stonker of a song.

Minchin manages to cram so much into this song without making it cluttered.  For thos familiar with the books it covers Matilda’s antics before she goes to school such as putting super glue into her Dad’s hat.  ‘Sometimes, you’ve got to be a little bit naughty’ will be on everyone’s minds after listening!5/5

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TRACK 3: School Song

So, Matilda starts school and meets lots of children her own age who then meet the older children who send a stark warning to them.  This school isn’t the fun place that the parents have said but in fact it’s a scary, daunting prison…

Not so obvious listening to it but there’s a great use of the alphabet in this song which when performed in Stratford was made a lot more prominant. The tone changes instantly with the song and the threat of mennace that the school has is brought across well.  4/5

TRACK 4: Pathetic

Miss Honey, so brilliantly played by Lauren Ward (who reminds me of a young Meryl Streep) shows how it’s not just the children who are scared in this school thanks to the formidable head, Miss Trunchbull.  A short, yet effective song and brilliantly performed.5/5

TRACK 5: The Hammer

So Miss Trunchbull…. AMAZINGLY played by Bertie Carvel, gives us her back story as an Olympic and trophy winning hammer throwing and how she applies what she’s learnt from this in her ‘teaching’ and running of the school.  There is some brilliant juxtapositioning in this song from the boistrous to the choral and it helps to fill the character of Trunchbull.5/5

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TRACK 6: Loud

I’ll be honest.  The first time I saw the musical this was the song I liked the least.  Mainly because it was the only thing that didn’t sit right with me with what was added to the story.  The sub plot of Mrs Wormwood being a dancer and her dancing partner Rudolpho’s involvement just didn’t agree with me.  Not as much as how the film of the book set it in America and ruined the story but I’m getting distracted.

Anyway, Miss Honey visits the Wormwoods to tell them how amazing their daughter is, but Miss Wormwood is busy practising her dancing and Miss Honey gets dragged into it.  The song isn’t my favourite, but it’s very different to the rest and it stands out.  The second time I saw the show I’m convinced it had been changed slightly as I enjoyed it more and I have to say that listening to it does make me like it a bit more.  It’s a very hyper number with samba rythms defining it. 3/5

TRACK 7: This Little Girl

Another Miss Honey solo – one that shows us what sets her apart from any other teacher, recognising just how special and modest Matilda is and how she needs to react to it and act upon it.  It also sets up a theme for the rest of the show when it comes to Miss Honey and she finds herself being able to recognise herself in the situation.  It is a stunning and beautiful song.5/5

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TRACK 8: Bruce

Ask people what their favourite part of Matilda is and I bet a large number will mention Bruce having to eat all of Miss Trunchbull’s chocolate cake.  Luckily it wasn’t forgotten in the musical and a whole song is dedicated to Bruce and his task of eating a whole, massive, gooey, chocolate cake…

Showing a force of child solidarity which get’s stronger as the show goes on the children perform a cheerful, supportive song of encouragement using very child like language and terms to poor Bruce.  There is no excuse, Bruce, to not like this song! 5/5

TRACK 9: Telly

In Stratford, many people would have missed this song.  It was hidden away in the interval allowing Paul Kaye (better known as TV’s Dennis Pennis) to showcase his comic skills and interact with the audience.  Whether it will have the same fate in London is yet to be known (likely as it has no real place in the flow of the plot) but don’t spend too long getting drinks/ice creams/going to the loo.

Mr Wormwood spreads the word that Telly is more useful then books and that you can learn more from sitting on your bum watching telly than reading a book.4/5

TRACK 10: Entr’acte

Nice bit of instrumental.3/5

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TRACK 11: When I Grow Up

From the get go – this is my favourite track and the staging is awesome.  I love this song.  That is pretty much all you need to know.  Also there’s a brilliant video which has a version with Minchin singing it (probably a demo of the song) and the RSC and Minchin really need to release that version too.

This is just a great song.  Touching, funny and a great memorable way to open the second act.  You know how many I’m going to give it out of 5 yeah? Well you’re wrong – it’s going to get an extra mark.  Think of it like a star or a bonus point or something.6/5 (yep 6 out of 5 – crazy!)

TRACK 12: I’m Here

So, this track seems a bit strange listening to it on the soundtrack – but in the show it makes a lot of sense.  I have also just realised that Melanie La Berrie criminally doesn’t get to sing on this soundtrack – I’m shocked.  The librarian, Mrs Phelps played by La Berrie is an amazing character and I didn’t notice that she doesn’t get to sing.

Anyway, this is a haunting, dramatic number.  It drives a sub plot that isn’t in the book yet works so well with the musical as a whole.  It’s beautifully dark with a synister score.4/5

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TRACK 13: The Smell of Rebellion

Trunchbull teaching a PE lesson… on stage hilarious on CD slightly not that interesting.  Not the greatest song to listen to as it relies on the performance but that’s what you get with soundtracks.  Many times I’ve heard a song that I didn’t really like then seen it performed and fallen in love!  It has a bit of a catchy chorus line but that’s all it has going for it.3/5

TRACK 14:Quiet

A Matilda solo – and a stunning one at that.  Quiet tells of Matilda coming to terms with her new found powers and has such complicated lyrics for anyone yet alone a young girl to sing infront of an audience.   An example of the lyrics:

“I say, say ‘red’, for example, there’s no way of knowing if ‘red’ means the same thing in your head as ‘red’ means in my head when soemone says ‘red’?”

This is yet another beauty from Minchin.  I remember the audience being captivated by a young girl raised on a pedastool, singing this with noone making a noise in the theatre.  Hairs on backs of neck going up on end, goosebumps spreading across the balconies and general awe that such a young girl could give us such a great performance.  Some of thos feelings come back when listening to the soundtrack.5/5

TRACK 15: My House

Matilda shocked that Miss Honey lives in nothing more than a shack gets this wonderful response from Miss Honey.  With ‘It isn’t much, but it is enough for me‘ striking the thoughts of many of those listening/watching this song touches people in different ways to any of the other songs on the soundtrack of the show.

The song effortlessly blends into a twist that those familiar with the story will know and into the other plots of the show.  This song is just beautiful and Lauren Ward gives a heart wrenching performance as Miss Honey.5/5

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TRACK 16:Revolting Children

Road Dahl loved revolting things and it feels right that the word ‘revolting’ gets a strong place in this show.  Not only are the children revolting in the mind of the Wormwoods and Trunchbull but they are revolting against Trunchbull.

A fast paced, exciting, thrilling song that chronicles the downfall of Trunchbull.  Listening to it without the cut song ‘Perhaps a Child’ shows that this is the climax the show needed all along.5/5

TRACK 17:When I Grow Up (Reprise)

Need I say more?!5/5

This video has the Minchin version of When I Grow Up on it – it’s brillian!

Tomorrow I’ll post something from my past – a blog on the show which will help reinforce my love for this musical.  But the CD is a brilliant way to help me remember what a fantastic show this is.

Blurb Time….

The CD is avaliable from The RSC which can be found by going the the Matilda The Musical website.  The musical opens for previews on the 18th October in London at the Cambridge Theatre.  More information on the website (see link).

Music & Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Orchestrations by Chris Nightingale
Dialogue by Dennis Kelly

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Suggest a Soundtrack

Hey everyone!

As you’ll have noticed I like to listen to soundtracks when I’m bored.  So I thought I’d ask you to help me.  I’m stuck in a ruck – I want to listen to new music but don’t know what to listen to, so if there’s a soundtrack of a show new or old, well known or obscure, and it’s on Spotify (I can’t afford to buy a whole sountrack time and time again) or it’s so obscure you can’t get it from anywhere and you want to share it with me via the power of email, then please suggest them for me.  I will promise to give the whole thing a listen and to blog honestly about each soundtrack you guys recommend.  I’m not promising a track by track review a-la Ghost soundtrack unless it really grabs my attention though, but hope to be a bit more positive than the How to Succeed in Business blog!  As long as its a soundtrack to a theatre show – whether it be a musical, opera, a play’s soundtrack, a circus style show or anything that I would cover on this blog then I will listen and blog about it.

Suggest

Leave me a comment or tweet me at @WrightTheatre or leave me a facebook post to suggest

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A Blog that Came About While Listening to the New ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ Soundtrack…

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is an awesome musical.  I first saw it in Chichester several years ago with an awesome cast and when I heard it was being revived on Broadway I was actually quite excited – even though I knew I wouldn’t get to see it.  Then I heard Daniel Radcliffe was going to be the main character….  Not only do I find it difficult to think of him as an adult and not a 10 year oldf boy wizard but there’s something about him that I don’t like.  Watching the latest couple of Harry Potter films he was clearly acted off the screen by everyone and everything including a CGI creature.  He’s also a bit too excited about, well, everything and comes across as a smug person trying to be humble, so I was almost kind of glad I wasn’t going to be able to see this production.  Then I heard the soundtrack had made it’s way to Spotify where I can listen to it (albeit 5 times and only if I still have time allowed) for free so I can have some form of judgement on Radcliffe’s performance – even though I can’t be sure if hasn’t been tampered with.  I’m guessing it hasn’t as I’m only on the first big number and already Radcliffe seems to be struggling with his singing (I dread to think what he’s like when he has to dance around too).

Anyway, the music for the show is brilliant, so I’m going to carry on listening.  Don’t want to get myself into a track by track review but will come back when something good or bad happens…

  • Coffee Break is just as good as I remember it being when I saw this show years ago! (Maybe it’s because there’s no Radcliffe?)
  • Oh, some talking, Radcliffe’s accent is…. interesting.
  • Advert time for a Blackberry Play Book – this is exciting me more than the music…. not a good sign :S
  • The support cast are either fantasitc or just sound better due to Radcliffe
  • 20 seconds into track 18…. Oh. My. Word. It’s a soundtrack recorded in a recording studio over time – how does Radcliffe sound so crap?
  • Oh Ghost the Musical is oh Spotify now too – though I did buy the album last week on itunes (but it’s now on Amazon to download for a bit cheaper!)
  • I am going to have to give up.

Let me be clear – I love the music, I love the show and I think most of the cast are fantastic – but, call me narrow minded – I just can’t get over Daniel Radcliffe.  I saw Joe Macfadden in his role and he was brilliant.  Robert Morse in the film is fantastic.  Radcliffe…. is making me cringe.  I don’t want to feel like this when listening to music.

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Well… I went to YouTube to try see a clip of the show and watched this – the performance from the Tony awards:

And my opinion, though not changed, has softened.  Softened to a more ‘Gawd-bless-‘im-and-his-little-cotton-socks’ attitude, but still softened.  He is doing a much better job than I could do so if any Radcliffe fan girls see this I have admitted he is better than me OK? BUT he still comes across as unnatural, a bit too excitable and slightly ‘high’ (if you get what I mean).  Also, anyone else notice how out of breath he gets? I know it’s a high energy number, but there’s a lot of them in this show.  I dread to think what he’s like by the end of a full show!

And for a comparrison, here’s Robert Morse in the film of the musical (it’s brilliant, if you can see it do so!)  It’s not as big as the above video but it’s still brilliant.

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Ghost the Musical Soundtrack – Track by Track

As blogged about yesterday, Ghost the Musical has previewed their soundtrack on their Facebook page.  It’s only online for a limited time and already had thousands of listens.  Go have a listen yourself, and let us know what you think of it… which just so happens to be what I’m going to do now!  I haven’t seen the show, I’ve not even seen the movie so I’m basing my judgements from what I’m hearing.

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Track 1 – Overture:

This might actually become one of my favourite Overtures ever. I’m not a huge fan of the Overture, but this one is haunting and mystical with the familiar themes of Unchained Melody interwined with other themes from the show.  Builds up gradually, building a sense of anticipation. 5/5

Track 2 – Here Right Now:

This track shows off the vocal talents of Caissie Levy & Richard Fleeshman very quickly.  Their voices suit each other in this poppy number.  The lyrics may be a bit basic but with a huge jump of contrast from the haunting Overture this track, I imagine,  sets the emotional bonds between the audience and the characters.  It’s a good track.  Not my favourite, but it’s very catchy. 4/5

Track 3 – Unchained Melody:

The song everyone knows.  Being performed with a guitar gives it a new lease of life with a bit of Elvis thrown in.  Fleeshman’s vocal talents are shown off to great effect in this track.  With a beautiful orchestral instrumental completing the track it feels like a completly differerent song to all the versions that have been released in the past.  4/5

Track 4 – More:

Oh! There’s more than two people in this musical as this track makes clear with a chorus of ‘more and more and more and more’.  Feels as though this one builds the story a bit more.  Like ‘Here Right Now’ it’s a very poppy number with some lyrics that seem a bit basic.  There are times when it feels like a spoof musical number with the lyrics being along the lines of ‘I’m in New York and there are lots of people here’ etc. 3/5

Track 5 – Three Little Words:

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Back to Levy & Fleeshman! Now we find out that Sam (Fleeshman) doesn’t say ‘I love you’ but ‘ditto’ – the git! Even though he protests that he does it with his eyes, he doesn’t get that sometimesMolly (Levy) might have her eyes closed or they might be on the phone so how does she know so why can’t he say those three little words – cue title of the song!  It’s a cute song. Again, building the connection between the two characters and the audience ready for the big event in the next track… 5/5

Track 6 – Sam’s Murder:

A bit of a talky track here.  It’s the big turning even that makes this musical into one about a ghost.  It isn’t exactly spoiling the plot of the show here to tell you that Sam get’s killed in this track.  I assume Fleeshman’s echoey tones make more sense on stage and a bit more outer-body so giving this track benefit of the doubt.  Also assume the sequence on stage is more exciting than it sounds on the sountrack (imagine the robbery in Blood Brothers).  The music’s good though! 3/5

Track 7 – Ball of Wax:

We’re in the middle of a musical this track shall be known of from hence forth.  It’s probably the most musical theatre this show gets to be honest.  With brass at the start and an older male who talk-sings just jazz hands itself into a musical.  It possibly even involved tap dancing…. so heaven is a Broadway musical? 2/5

Track 8 – I Can’t Breathe:

Imagine the scene in Rent when Angel dies where it’s pulsing beats and lights and a dance beat – now imagine that with a rock-music-esque tone and here you go! 3/5

Track 9 – Are You a Believer?:

The wonderful Sharon D Clarke finally appears as Oda Mae Brown.  This gospel laden track is a welcome relief from the darkness of the death and is a great introduction to Clarke’s character.  Clarke can do no wrong! 5/5

Track 10 – With You:

Molly’s lost her lover.  Sad times.  Now we need a song that reminds us that she is sad and this is it.  That may sound cynical that this is a bog standard soppy ballad about a dead loved one.  It’s not.  It’s just stating the obvious theatrical ploy used here.  It is a fantastic song.  Beautifully performed by Levy.  I’m certain that the middle aged Swayze fans in the audience will be sobbing at this song (maybe some others as well).  Like I said, it’s a beauty, at times it follows the book of musical song writing by the rules but it works.  5/5

Track 11 – Suspend My Disbeleif / I Had A Life:

Still in mourning Molly encounters Oda.  Molly has told Carl (Andrew Langtree) the things that Oda has told Molly from Sam.  Molly believes it, Carl is (on the outside) dismissive about it…. maybe he knows more? Sam acts as a guardian angel overseeing what’s happening…. leading to a big reveal…. *won’t spoil it* It’s an effective way to reveal this twist (though it gives it away if you’re listening to the soundtrack before seeing the show/film like myself).  I really like how things overlap in the music and the songs throughout the soundtrack but especially in this track.  This track is the last in act one and from listening it would appear to be great way to end the first act with big plot developments to look forward to.  5/5

Track 12 – Rain / Hold On:

Back to the poppy tracks we lost half way through act one.  I would say Molly appears more optimistic about things now with this shift in tone… Some background info on Oda, some closure of emotions from Molly, some attempted words of wisdom from Sam doth a track make.  Bit of a typical act 2 opener if ever there was one.  It’s good but not the best (I skipped bits of it after a while). 3/5

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Track 13 – Life Turns on a Dime:

Oh no. Molly is led to beleive that Oda is a fake – well her Police records show she is, but maybe this time she isn’t…. what will happen if Carl get’s her to beleive that she is a complete fake? Plot crisis is what will happen.  It’s a strange song.  Not sure whether it’s the song or whether it’s the fact that Carl sounds more like Barny the dinosaur that get’s me about this one.  Once again though it overlaps a lot with Molly singing a song with the same tune as Unchained and Sam butting in with his own song. 3/5 (due to the purple dinosaur taking over) however for the last 30 seconds, 5/5

Track 14 – Focus:

A loud, brash track.  The Subway Ghost (Adebayo Bolaji) is trying to teach Sam how to do something.  Probably works on stage, not on a soundtrack album though. 1/5

Track 15 – Talkin’ Bout A Miracle:

Back to the funk! Don’t know what miracle they’re talking about.  Guessing it’s a good one as it’s a good song! 5/5

Track 16 – Nothing Stops Another Day:

Yet another beautiful song for Molly.  When Levy leaves there’ll be a queue for this part! Not sure what the song’s about.  Think it’s about letting go, such as letting go of Sam…. sad times. Anyway, it’s a great song and again, might make the hormonal in the audience shed a tear or two.  5/5

Track 17 – I’m Outta Here:

It’s the funk machine…. therefore it must be an Oda track! She may well be saying farewell but this woman doesnt go queitly – even managing a tiny bit of Unchained Melody’s melody in the midst of the funk. 4/5

Track 18 – Unchained Melody (Dance) / The Love Inside:

The final track, takes us back to the Overture’s haunting tone.  With Unchained Melody having such a large inspiration in the soundtrack it’s great to hear so many variations.  This is undoubtley my favourite with the orchestral tones and sweeping strings leading to a final perfromance from Sam and a final touching yet heartbreaking moment between Sam and Molly where Sam reprises how he says ‘I love you’ to Molly with him actually saying it for once.  I am certain, that if I was sat in that theatre, by now I would have goosebumps and even tears in my eyes (possibly running down my cheeks too) and by the time Molly says ‘bye’ possibly a curled up wreck. 5/5

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So there we go, my first track by track review of a soundtrack.  I have to say that this soundtrack is awesome.  I’ve enjoyed listening to it and if I were to have it on my ipod there’s only one or two tracks that I’d skip over.  Fleeshman and Levy do an amazing job with their vocals as does Clarke and the rest of the supporting cast and ensemble.  I love how the producers of the musical have used the soundtrack as a marketing tool and hope that not only does the soundtrack sell well but ticket sales go up as a result.  I’m hoping to see it when I’m in London next and with enough money for a ticket and hope that I can write a review as favourable as this soundtrack review.  There is a great mix of styles but they all compliment each other and characters have their own distinct style and themes to go with them which are vital in a musical.

Music and lyrics are by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.  The show’s book and lyrics are by Bruce Joel Rubin.  The show is currenlty in previews at the Picadilly Theatre London and officially opens very soon.  Tickets are avaliable from the show’s website.  The ablum is avaliable to preorder on itunes, amazon and on Dress Circle (support these guys if possible) and comes out on the 18th July.  In the meantime you can listen to it on their facebook page until this Friday (I think).  You can get there via our Facebook page.

Production photos, as far as aware, are by Sean Ebsworth Barnes and therefore copyright of him too.  Images used have been taken from the public domain and no offence caused if being used in a way in which Barnes or the producers wish them not to be.

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