Avenue Q [OST] – 3.5/5
It was this morning that for whatever reason I had the insatiable urge to re-listen to the soundtrack from the hit musical of the same name. Perhaps due to the track “What do you do with a BA in English” ringing surprisingly true at my current point in life, or the constant amusement from the honestly written lyrics with themes about racism, acceptance of homosexuality, the real use for the internet and just how fucked over Gary Coleman was. This isn’t just another emotional-laden pop focussed musical like those we’ve seen so often, infusing elements of jazz and rock into the mixture to produce something filled with witty dialogue and energetic performances.
Perhaps best described as “The Muppet Show on crack,” many who have met me in person will likely have heard me praise this production at some point. Following the story of recent graduate Princeton to his new home, through his interactions with his neighbours; the Japanese therapist and his unemployed 30-something fiancée, Gary Coleman, porn addict Trekkie monster (a parody of ‘Cookie Monster’) and the closet gay couple Rod and Nicky (a parody of ‘Bert’ and ‘Ernie’). Oh, and the last three all happen to be monsters, but they’re friendly enough, assuming you don’t catch Trekkie at an…uhh…“bad time.”
Perhaps rather surprising though, is how well it manages to hold up as an entity in its own right; the variety of vocals distinct enough from one another to be quickly recognised from track to track, and the abundance of interludes and introductions giving narration to the proceedings without becoming tiring before the albums conclusion. There are still moments where events will seem to occur out of nowhere but they are fairly uncommon, and as a concept album the pacing and placement of the various musical styles is relatively fluid.
There is a demographic who would gain the most from this – and I’m not just referring to those who have seen it over those who haven’t, though this most certainly will be a factor – but it is those who are able to relate to the material, those who are in or have recently left University in particular who can reflect on its raw honesty. Puppet sex, sluts, and laughing at others galore, there is enough variety in not only the music but the lyrics to retain interest for multiple listens making this well worth a glance for those looking for something a bit different.
Highlights: What do you do with a BA in English?, The Internet is for Porn, I Wish I Could Go Back to College