Monday, September 15, 2008

CC gains new appreciation for the touring company of "RENT" circa 1998

When I saw "RENT" on stage, I remember being awed by Maureen's performance of "Over the Moon" and I remember regarding it as an incisive and thoughtful look at our culture from a "modern culture is a crappy wasteland" perspective that I don't happen to share.

In searching for readings for the technology lay service that I'm helping out with, I looked those lyrics up, thinking they might be a cool reading.

Actually, no, the lyrics are pretty much garbage, it's just that the actress who played Maureen did such a great job with them that she completely snowed me ten years ago.

Ah well.



PG said...

Come to think of it, RENT just closed on Broadway, I've lived here for 4 years and I never went to see it there. I saw it in 1997 in DC and 2001ish in Houston.

When I first heard the song I figured Larson was kind of making fun of Maureen -- she's presented as fairly selfish and narcissistic -- not trying to say anything too profound. In fairness to the song, though, it makes a lot more sense in the context of the play. Divorced from that and the charm of the actress's singing, and yeah, unadulterated garbage.

PG said...

You know what is a completely fabulous song about technology, though? "Still Alive," the song that plays over the end credits of Portal, a video game. Someone needs to make that into a YouTube ode to Ahmedinejad.

Anonymous said...

Mooooo with me.

(sorry, couldn't resist)

LinguistFriend said...

Song lyrics tend to be garbage, in general. That has always been true, at least in English. Things weren't bad in the Elizabethan songwriters and their immediate successors, but it went downhill
fast thereafter.
On the other hand, there are musical traditions of setting good poetry, especially true for German poetry. One of the best anthologies of German poetry
is based on song lyrics, but they were not written to be songs.

Joel Monka said...

You're right in general terms, LF, but there are some gems even in this day and age. Jim Steinman, for example- read the lyrics from the two "Bat Out of Hell" albums. Pretty fair poetry even without the music.

As to setting existing poems to music, Loreena Mckennitt is probably the best for English-language poetry. She's setting poets such as Tennyson to music.