If you thought movie musicals had died, you were probably mostly right. However, every once in a while someone tries another one. Some succeed, most fail. However, the quality of the music from these movies is often quite different from the movie itself. Such is the case with this soundtrack. Mel Brooks, the man who brought you the classics "Young Frankenstein," "Blazing Saddles," and "High Anxiety," gives us the music from the movie "The Producers."
The music is classic Hollywood, with a style that dates back to the 50s and 60s. I was also fascinated that Hollywood actors could pull off these songs with such class and style. There are a few hiccups along the way, such as Uma Thurman's weak vocals on "That Face," but so much of this music is original and fresh with its classic inspiration.
Many of the songs deliberately provoke smiles. "Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band?" sung by Will Ferrell makes you smile, though much of it is in German. Ignore other comments about "Springtime for Hitler." The song is funny and John Barrowman, Uma Thurman and the ensemble pull off a song that owes much inspiration to movie musicals of the 30s. Yes, the war has been over for more than half a century, but if we can still poke fun at Custer, the Pilgrims and the Inquisition, why not poke more fun at Hitler? Admittedly, he is an easy target, but so was Custer. How about "Heil Myself," with the line "...there is no greater dictator in the land..."? This stuff is a riot. Note for Naziphobes: This music pokes fun at Nazis rather than elevating them, so watch this movie with tongue-in-cheek.
Musically there are some awesome moments. "You'll Find Your Happiness in Rio" is musically inspired, even if the lyrics are cheesy.
There are a few moments where Nathan Lane pulls off a song that should have been impossible. "Betrayed" is a riot, and yet Lane manages to sing so dramatically that you believe that he is actually hurt, until he sings lyrics that make you crack up.
Perhaps the best thing about this album is its bombast. The production is explosive and hyper-dramatic, with sound alternately quiet and blasting, the instruments jumping into your face. I am always enthused about a producer who likes to make you jump into the music, particularly if the music is worth jumping into.
I rarely purchase or listen to soundtracks because they are too filled the kind of music that is interesting if you have had three or four drinks, but otherwise it is barely elevator music. This CD has music that may be short of great, but it is enjoyable and frequently funny. If you liked the movie, I suspect you'll love the CD. If you like musicals, most especially funny musicals, then I suspect you will love this CD.
This review is based on a copy of the CD provided to me for review.