One of my favorite cast albums in recent years is The Bridges of Madison County, with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown – about whom you will hear more when a movie version of his The Last Five Years is released next year. Brown reveals some behind-the-scenes information about the musical along with one of his leads, Kelli O’hara, in the following collection of Youtube commentaries. Full tracks from the album are included in the playlist. It’s a fascinating story of creativity and a wonderful collection of songs.
Frozen‘s Idina Menzel reunites with her Rent co-star Anthony Rapp in the currently running Broadway production If/Then. While not entirely successful, the musical features some wonderful songs and performances, particularly from Menzel. Here are some highlights:
Stereoshock’s “Au Revoir” is a gorgeous, cinematic, ambient instrumental – the most appealing I’ve heard aside from Bing Satellites or scores by Hans Zimmer. Stereoshock (a.k.a. 21-year-old Producer/Composer Josh Cohen) submitted the song with an eloquent description detailing his goal to make the piece an “uplifting, emotionally driven soundscape” with an easily accessible, universal central theme and a more personal, emotional undercurrent. The song is a great success at all of the above and more.
“Our Streets Will Carry Echoes. Our Silence Will Live On.”
Yes, it’s as good as everyone says it is. Mary J. Blige is one of the few true singers and her new album, The London Sessions, showcases her extraordinary voice in a variety of ways with a guest roster that includes Sam Smith and Disclosure.
There are plenty of slower, soulful songs like “Whole Damn Year” that put the spotlight directively on Mary’s gorgeous pipes and call to mind her classic hits “Not Gonna Cry” and “I’m Goin’ Down.” But there are also uptempo (and downtempo) tracks that experiment with electro-pop and a wide range of other genres – my favorites being the first single “Therapy” and Disclosure’s collaboration “Follow.” You can hear the whole album and watch videos below…