Customer Review

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a musical for the new millennium., 21 Oct 2007
This review is from: Once (Audio CD)
Musical is a dead genre, it has been so for many years. The dull, almost parodic, music of High School Musical has only served to put the genre into an even greater decline: the most popular musicals of recent years have been either remakes (Hairspray, The Producers), filming of old classics (Chicago), or the even worse genre of musicals featuring songs by popular artists (We Will Rock You). Over recent years, I can only think of two musicals that are original and thought provoking, these being Rent and Blood Brothers (and to be honest, those aren't too new). But, out of nowhere, this film came along. It won various awards, such as the Audience Award from Sun Dance, and got certain critics slathering about its release.
So, why is it so good? Well, it is entirely on the strength of the music - the two leads are both musicians with some talent, and Hansard's band 'The Frames' were big in their day. I thank the Lord that the original lead, Cillian Murphy, backed out, as Glen Hansard's voice and song wriing are so brilliant.
The music is probably reminiscent of some of the singer-songwriter stuff out at the moment, in particular some of the Damien Rice stuff. It hits a folksy/poppy feel that really gets under your skin. This is emphasised by very strong vocals, some nice guitar work and lyrics that really tap into the sense of love, loss and confusion that builds the film. Unlike most other musicals, however, the songs were written by the two leads (plus one written by another band member from the film), this means that there is real emotional connectivity between the performers and the songs themselves - much more so than in other musicals - which also further draws the viewer/listener into the very subtle saga that's unfolding around them.
Some of the tracks on the album aren't complete tracks per se, such as 'Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy', which is a bit of a light hearted joke. Other songs such as: 'When your mind's made up' and 'Falling Slowly' are complete songs, and should ideally be released as singles in their own right given their strength.

So, why buy it? As I said, the strength is in the songs, particularly the ones written by Hansard and Irglova together. Better yet, go out and see the film - once you've seen the film, you'll probably want to buy the album anyway, as all of the songs are very moving. It's a real tear jerker.
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