Sunday, March 18, 2007

I Don't Own Emotion, I Rent

Alright, usually when I have a themed Casey's Mix of the Moment, it usually follows a related posting. Well, we're flipping things this time. My last Mix of the Moment had musicals as the theme, and today, I'm going to talk about one of the more recent hits, Rent. Specifically, I want to talk about the movie. Now, I could go on about how true the movie was to the script and how great it was that they included the original cast. I could go on about how when I saw the musical, I was pretty confused, but the movie solidified the story. I could go on about how most musicals are way better on stage than on the silver screen, but Rent seems to break the mold at least in terms of being as good as the stage. I could go on about all that. But when it comes down to it, there's one thing I want to say concerning the movie version of Rent:

It's the only musical where the movie soundtrack is better than the stage recordings. WAY better!

Yes, the movie still has its moments where its odd because musicals are weird on the big screen. The singing feels awkward 'cause the actors movements are weird. But let's forget that for a second. Let's compare the music itself. That is, take the RENT musical CD and take the RENT movie CD and compare them. One of the first things musical lovers will probably notice is that the movie versions of some of the songs are conderably shorter. The song "RENT" itself has a lot of conversational pieces cut out. But when you think about it, the new version is a lot tighter, and takes out the unnecessary.

But it's not things like cuttting out lyrics that make me think the movie version of RENT is better than the stage version - in fact, if I was a hardcore fan, that would be the kind of thing that would upset me. No. what it is is the production values on the movie version. It seems like everything on the movie version has been turned up to 11 on the Spinal Tap amp. Everything feels louder and lot more polished than the stage recording. Everything just feels so much more pumpy when you're listening to it. That's pretty much the best way I can describe it. When it comes down to it, it's just better, louder recordings. But for a musical like Rent, that really plays a big role. Rent's musical arrangement with lots of heavy guitars and drums deserves a heavy polished recording - and kudos to Chris Columbus for recruiting that American Idiot producer to do this soundtrack - 'cause it completely blows the stage version out of the water.

Normally, I'd say something like, to all the other musical adaptation directors, take note of how Rent was done. But then again, if I thought about it more, it wouldn't necessarily be true. Because musicals like Phantom or Les Mis don't really lend themselves to more loud and pumpy recordings. I guess what I'm saying is, try to keep the original cast, and record very polished versions of the songs - that's the only way they'll stack up the gorgeous cinematography that any decent film will produce. (btw, all this talk does not apply to Moulin Rouge, because Moulin Rouge started out as a movie, it wasn't an adaptation - and its soundtrack is brilliant!). Alright, I'm pretty sure my point has come across somewhere in my rantings, and I can't think of a nice conclusive statement. So, peace out. Thanks for reading.

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