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Friday, April 13, 2007
Music Video Stream of Conciousness: Musicals
I have an inordinate, and probably surprising to many of you, fondness for the musical Godspell, or at least the film version of the same. It's vision of Jesus as a hippie super-hero, combined with utterly sincere and unironic songs are inspiring and charming. That it seems to completely and utterly annoy most American conservative Protestants, who object to it's message of God's unconditional love, is a plus in its favor as well. Now, I've often said that the song "Alas for you" reminds me of blogging, but "All for the Best" works really well in a number of situations as well. It's a very subtle smack-down on the "gospel of prosperity" that has become popular in recent years. John/Judas's line, "someones got to be oppressed" says so much in so few words:
(Besides, if you haven't seen Godspell you probably should, as it seems to be continually referenced in contemporary comedies.)
Of course, you can't really talk about "hippie musicals" without mentioning the grand-pappy of them all, Hair. I sort-of like the film version more than the theatrical versions, even though it takes massive and extensive liberties with the plot, or what little plot the play has, anyway. If nothing else, I'm glad the film version exists, as it provides definitive visual proof that yes, Treat Williams was at one point a sex symbol. He's not in this clip. Instead I highlighted one of the more popular songs, one that doesn't get covered very often, "Black Boys/White Boys." I love the twist they pulled in the film, giving parts of the song to male singers.
For absolutely no good reason, other than that I couldn't find any clips from The Apple (see, hippies=folk music="The Apple"=not terribly good=attempted sequel), here's "Bitchin' in the Kitchin" from Shock Treatment. Any song that manages to incorporate household appliances into it's verses as effortlessly as this deserves a look.
(Featuring appearances by Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries and Rik "the Prick" Mayall!)
Now, even though most of that song was for some reason given to Cliff DeYoung to sing, it did feature the sublime Jessica Harper. And since you can never have enough Jessica Harper (I sat through Suspiria for her!), here's "Special to Me" from the criminally under-rated Phantom of the Paradise.
Aw, heck, I can't leave you with just one Paul Williams song. Here's a certain something from the best film of both Scott Baio's and Jodie Foster's careers.