Rock of Ages – Hair Bands on 42nd Street

I am a big fan of musicals. I actually grew up in the kind of family where people randomly burst into songs so maybe I can relate a little. Big Guy is not a fan of musicals. I don’t think he grew up with the same wacky musical vibe. Then again, I don’t think it would matter. Anyway, the point is this… getting Big Guy to go to see a musical with me where he’s not dragging around like I’m trying to torture him is a rare occurrence. I think it happened once.

When I was asked to review the soundtrack for the new musical, Rock of Ages, I did a little dance of happiness. ’80’s rock music in a Broadway musical? Sheer genius, if you ask me. But, you can’t judge a CD by its musical heritage alone.  And I did have some reservations about hearing some favorite songs from my adolescence sung in Broadway style by different artists. Still, it had promise.

I think Rock of Ages delivers on that promise. I had just as much fun singing along to “Sister Christian,” “We Built This City,” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” on this CD as I do on the radio. [By the way, my final judgment on any musical soundtrack is based on how much I enjoy singing along.] I was kind of annoyed by the melodramatic scenes taking place between the songs, but that has a lot to do with the fact that I haven’t seen the actual show and have no idea what’s going on. There were also a few moments where I kind of wished my kids weren’t in the car with me. It was nothing severe, but there were some themes and language that I try to avoid within earshot of my precocious 3-year-old.

The final test was whether or not my husband would listen to it. Having sported a mullet in the ‘80’s, I knew the songs would appeal to him, but would the style turn him off? When I asked what he though, Big Guy responded, “It wasn’t so bad.” For him, that’s a resounding endorsement. Ladies, pack up your guys and head to the Big Apple to catch the show live!

The bottom line is this. If you were around for the launch of MTV and can name your favorite ’80’s hair bands, you’ll probably get a kick out of the musical. I think it’s got some love and adventure thrown in there between all the great music, but I don’t want to make any promises.

And I have to add something that I read in the liner notes from Chris d‘Adrienzo, the guy who wrote this little ’80’s flash back, “I’m gonna make straight dudes love musicals, dammit!” The thing is, he’s pretty spot on. I mean, as out there as musical theater is, that ‘80’s hair band thing was downright absurd…

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