Soundtrack
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog


4.0
excellent

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
December 21st, 2008 | 21 replies | 7,215 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Buffy" creator turns "How I Met Your Mother" star into evil singing genius. Not something you see every day, is it?

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

The Writers Guild of America strike affected a lot of different groups and individuals for a variety of reasons. The staff of many scripted shows had their programs delayed, cut short or even cancelled. Talk shows and their writers and staff, for everyone from Letterman to Leno, were in jeopardy. The strike divided many actors, agents, producers, politicians and unions all across the state.

One man, however, simply got bored and felt the need to create.
His name was Joss Whedon.

What resulted was an online phenomenon; a three-act musical entitled Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Dr. Horrible (a perfectly cast Neil Patrick Harris) is a struggling super-villain, whilst his arch nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillon) sucks up all the glory- including stealing the Doctor’s crush, the homeless carer Penny (Felicia Day). To achieve his revenge, as well as finally get accepted into the Evil League of Evil, he must create his most powerful invention yet- the freeze ray. Whilst the short film itself is a brilliant, sardonic romp, the songs themselves are the true standout- well-written, devilishly melodramatic and consistently diverse compositions that will please nearly every possible music (and, indeed, musical) fan.

“My Freeze Ray” is the first track to feature vocals. Performed by Harris from the perspective of Dr. Horrible’s human alter ego, the incredibly shy Billy, the song depicts his secretive love for Penny as they both use the laundromat over some cheesy keyboards and a rollicking drum beat. He fantasises about a future where he rules the world by her side (“I’ll bend the world to our will/And we’ll make time stand still”), presenting a quite comedic, likeable side to his character in the process. This side of Billy/Dr. Horrible, however, simply does not last, as we are soon to find out.

After having both the spotlight and his love interest taken from him, Dr. Horrible snaps on album highlight “Brand New Day”, which accompanies his frantic state of mind with both fast-paced, minimalist beats through the verses and heavily-toned guitar come chorus time. Meanwhile, Captain Hammer leads the crowd in the pseudo-inspirational “Everyone’s A Hero”. A spot-on parody of big-production 80s balladry, Hammer egotistically tries to show his faith in humanity and supporting the homeless by saying that “everyone’s got their own villains they must face”…although, they’re “not as cool” as his.

“So They Say’ involves the entire cast, ending the second act and bringing in the third and final act. Dr. Horrible accepts his romantic defeat (“There’s no happy ending…well, not for me, anyway”), Penny and Captain Hammer help with the homeless shelter (Penny: “We’ll have blankets and beds we can open by Monday, thanks to you”/ Hammer: “Thanks to ME!”) and the particularly hilarious obsessive stalkers sing about their hero, Captain Hammer, in wonderful three-part harmonies (“This is his dry cleaning bill: four sweater-vests!”).

As the emotions range greatly for the different characters, so too do the songs themselves. The soundtrack is nearly entirely the work of Whedon, both musically and lyrically. He works in chameleon-like fashion from sorrow, to anger, to jealousy, to optimism…and all the way back. His songwriting skill is shockingly impressive, especially considering his previous experience is one Buffy episode; “Once More With Feeling”. Many traits give the song distinctive, unique style; in particular is where Harris and Day sing at the same time, with similar verses yet with entirely contrasting emotions. This can be found in “My Eyes” and “So They Say”, working to portray the state of mind of both characters.

Neil Patrick Harris (whose other work includes the hilarious Prop 8- The Musical and the not-so-hilarious How I Met Your Mother) holds his own throughout the soundtrack as a vocalist. This is somewhat unsurprising, given his Broadway background; but is still undeniably a credit to his role as the star of Dr. Horrible. Even listening to the songs on their own without viewing his character’s facial expression, you can tell the emotion and demeanour of the character the second he begins to sing.

His supporting cast also turn in some wonderful moments. Whedon’s cameo (along with his two brothers) as a part of the “Bad Horse Chorus” is a small gem. Felicia Day has a cute, vulnerable tone to her vocals, which suits her character faultlessly. Nathan Fillon effortlessly hits the nail on the head (forgive the pun), with his beefy, masculine voice which purposely serves purpose as not only making him sound like a tough guy, but also like an idiot.

There’s not a lot to fault about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s another jewel in Joss Whedon’s crown…but most importantly, it is a hugely original concept, masterfully executed. One could only wish that the adventure went on for a little longer.

TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG VISIT:
www.drhorrible.com




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user ratings (23)
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3.8
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2008



16072 Comments


"His songwriting skill is shockingly impressive, especially considering his previous experience is one Buffy episode; “Once More With Feeling""
Which is one of the best mini-musicals of all time.
This didn't impress me much but I enjoyed it.

AtavanHalen
December 21st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know it's awesome, dude, but still; it's just one episode!
I also rate "My Musical", the Scrubs episode.

Captain North
December 21st 2008



6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But...but...it'll only stream in the US! *sobs*

AtavanHalen
December 21st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YouTube.

Anthracks
December 21st 2008



3639 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Friend kept bugging me to watch this, I hated it so much. Along with Prop 8 the Musical for that matter.This Message Edited On 12.21.08

Digging: Tobacco - Ultima II Massage

mutatedfreek
December 21st 2008



7351 Comments


Wow, that sounds so awesome, I have to see it now.

robin
Emeritus
December 21st 2008



4221 Comments


good review david but my musical is a terrible episode of scrubs

VicariousIntent
December 21st 2008



1591 Comments


Ahahaha, I love this sort of stuff so much. Yeah, I remember the first time I watched this, made me grin ear to ear. Really great stuff.

But My Musical was a great episode pianotuna, I have no clue what you're talking about. I loved it! Oh well though.

Steerpike
December 21st 2008



1851 Comments


Which is one of the best mini-musicals of all time.

I actually had the opposite reaction.
Nevertheless, I'll try to get around to checking this out in the interest of fairness.

timbo8
December 21st 2008



618 Comments


Saw this for the first time a few days ago and the songs are indeed great. The lyrics are extremely well done.

Captain North
December 21st 2008



6743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Brilliant. Almost a 4.5...but not quite.

My Eyes and Everything You Ever are ridiculously good songs.

iarescientists
December 21st 2008



5863 Comments


the scrubs musical was so fucking terrible

timbo8
December 22nd 2008



618 Comments


psh scrubs musical was great

AtavanHalen
December 23rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How could anyone hate the Scrubs musical? It was so ridiculously awesome.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2008



20825 Comments


Fantastic review DavID. You have balanced providing information about the musical and the music itself near perfectly. Well done & deserving of a pos.

Otisbum
February 22nd 2009



1912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Slipping is awesome.

Solid review.

PlayCrackSky
October 4th 2010



207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neil Patrick Harris (whose other work includes the hilarious Prop 8- The Musical and the not-so-hilarious How I Met Your Mother)

Dude you clearly have never watched seasons one or two. They're classic. After that not-so-much.

Crymsonblaze
March 2nd 2011



7310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Joss Whedon has the Midas touch.

This rules so hard, My Eyes and Slipping are the best.

TRMshadow
July 21st 2011



4982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Laundry Day, See You There"

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2011



48551 Comments


The Scrubs musical was awesome


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