The Book of Mormon – Cast Recording Review

Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone // The Book of Mormon (Cast Recording)
Rating: 4.5/5.0 —”Hasa Diga Eebowai!”
Label: Who knows!
Release Dates: US: 06.07.2011

So, I know that this is off the beaten path a bit, but I have a thing about wasting time. See, being a reviewer means that you have a tight schedule. You might not believe it, but in order to keep up with the pace at which music is produced, I have a listening schedule and I rarely listen to music just for the sheer pleasure of it these days because, well, there’s just so much new coming out that I have to keep up with. So when I discover something new that I really, really, really love and can’t stop listening to it basically means I have to write a review. And The Book of Mormon by the South Park guys +1 is something that I fell pretty hard for.

Now, I understand that most people think that musicals and metal don’t go together, and I guess you can feel that way. But I grew up listening to classical music and musical theater, and I’d say that they directed me to progressive music and classically influenced metal and projects like Avantasia and Ayreon are certainly considered metal projects, despite drawing on a musical theater base. Though, to be fair, the classic “American” musical is not what I’ve ever been super into and a lot of the things that I see as drawbacks to this are largely because of the Broadway influence, it’s true. But still, from the outset you should probably just not check this out if you’re not a fan of musicals. Because it’s really a musical, and while it’s kind of a parody in a way, it’s still a musical with the male tenors and cheesy anthems and orchestrations.

The story told within is a story of hubris, and I will say very little more. What’s more important is that the storytelling is quite expressive, since I garnered everything just from listening to the tracks. But mostly, this is just fucking funny. Really, really, really funny. And it’s funny on a number of different levels, really. The timing on the jokes are great and the songs are catchy as hell. Plus, I have trouble understanding how the Mormon community has been positive to this, since actually naming what Mormons believe always feels like an attack against the religion, but at the same time it appears to have been pretty well accepted by them.

In any case, what stands out here is the composition of the songs which fit so perfectly into classic American musicals. There’s a bit of that retro 1940s flare, but there’s also enough funny pop references and great character driven jokes like in “Man Up” or “You and Me (But Mostly Me).” But, of course, I think my favorite tracks are the ones that are awesomely irreverent or just plain ridiculous. The track “Hasa Diga Eebowai” is… well, amazingly hilarious. The track “Turn it Off” teaches you about the psychological make up of Mormons and is laugh out loud funny, and “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” lives up to its name. That is, it’s all fucking brilliant.

Well, “all” is too much. The end of the musical kinda falls apart a little, I think. There is a point where it felt like the writing shifted from “being funny” to “being edgy to see how much we can get away with in a Broadway show.” It’s a bit much at times. Not that I was offended, but instead just not moved. There was nothing to be excited about at that point. And that’s a shame, because they probably could have struck a more “I’ve learned something today…” kind of tone at the end of the musical, but instead it loses focus.

Still, this is a great musical and probably one of the funniest since Little Shop of Horrors, though in a very different way. I definitely will be purchasing this when it comes out and I hope to someday see it live, because I’d like to fill out these tracks with dialogue. Fans of South Park will probably dig this because I feel like there’s references to the old Parker/Stone jokes in a lot of places. And frankly, if you haven’t seen South Park by now.. well, wow. But those who don’t like it might find something here, too, because well.. it’s not South Park!

Just go and fucking listen to the stream. And “Hasa Diga Eebowai!”

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