Review Summary: Electrifying
I am not the kind of person that regularly goes to plays, theatre, musicals, opera or what not, but when I heard that Elton John had written the music to the Billy Elliot the Musical
it got me interested. Considering the amazing work Elton John had done with the Lion King Musicals the Billy Elliot Musical had a high chance of being fantastic, and fantastic it is. Billy Elliot is a story based on the mid 1980’s miners’ strike, and how a young boy takes up ballet against his father’s will, and the struggles the family face at such a desperate time.
While listening to the album without having seen the play or the movie it may be difficult to follow the story line, though this shouldn’t from the listener’s ears as the soundtrack/cast recording of this musical is a treat. The mixing styles of upbeat tempo jazzy numbers like “Shine” or angered protest songs like “Solidarity” will keep the listener intrigued from start to end. “Solidarity” is one hell of a clever song, as it weaves the story lines of Billy learning ballet and the banter between Police and Miners involved in riots through the same song.
“Police: You ***ing worms
You f-cking moles
You f-cking Geordie sh-ts
We're here to kick your Geordie arse
You little Geordie gits
Miners: We're terrified,
Those words are so obscene
We'll boot your f-ckin' cockney skulls,
Right back to Bethnal Green”
The music and lyrics are very much tongue cheek as the musical is taken very lightly and a high level of comedy is added in, which you find listening through the album though this may not transfer to well if you haven’t seen the musical to pick up the laughter, though this doesn’t matter as the music is brilliant the way it is. A perfect example of this is the catchy, energetic and climatic “Express Yourself” that builds from a simple little duet, between Billy and his openly gay friend Michael, into a tap dancing high impulse jazz tune. But without a doubt the highlight, and possibly one of the greatest show numbers that has been written in recent times is, “Electricity”. Billy’s major solo number for the show, it is a hair rising of the back of your neck type of song building from a slow and unforgettable climax into the final chorus, it is something very special as Billy sings about he feels when he dances.
"And then I feel a change, like a fire deep inside
Something bursting me wide open, impossible to hide
And suddenly I'm flying, flying like a bird
Like Electricity, electricity
Sparks inside of me, and I'm free, I'm free"
There are always going to be flaws with a recording of a musical, as you never get the full blown effects of the live entertainment of the time, or the visuals of the actual show. This occurs in a number of the songs on Billy Elliot the Musical
, yet this doesn’t matter as there is a landslide of standout songs that will keep you coming back for more.