The Album May Be Called ‘The Greatest Showman’ But How Great Are The Musical Standards Of Today Compared To Greats Of The Past?
Full disclosure – I have not seen the movie The Greatest Showman, but this isn’t because I’m anti-musical or anything. When it comes to the music itself though, I go for classical songwriting more than these modern takes on musicals. My prime example would be one of my favorites on stage and on screen, the songs of “Into the Woods” by songwriter Stephen Sondheim. I truly don’t hear anything even close to that level of creativity and song to song variety on The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), with the exception of two rather intriguing tracks – the classicism of “Tightrope” and the epic invention of “Come Alive.” Of the other music, including the supposedly biggest, most important main theme songs, I feel that while they are each high quality productions, they sound much more like motivational Pop songs than live action musical numbers. This is the world we live in, I understand, and little children who grew up on Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are teens now with ears set for this bombastic style sound and predictable note pattern Loren Allred pursues on “Never Enough” , but I feel that amidst all the cacophony and volume, the melodies used are highly unsophisticated. And to hell with the magic of the lyrics if the melody line is too predictable. Which I should also point out – the lyrics for most of these tracks are extremely cliched – hardly any different from regular Pop lyricism, and more often than not, the text comes off as run of the mill positive reinforcement mantras rather than poetic or storied content. The tracks are appropriately exciting enough to exist inside a big top circus, but unfortunately, this music is not memorable at all in the way that all great musicals are designed to be. For me, this album is far from the greatest.