It’s that time of year again; cast recording season! Every year there always seems to be one album that I really can’t wait to listen to, and this year that honour falls to Something Rotten! It’s an entirely new story (not based on any pre-existing source material!) set in the 1590s and it follows Nick and Nigel Bottom as they aim to take on Shakespeare and write the first musical. Yes, it is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. After being obsessed with Welcome To The Renaissance (and I mean probably 5 listens a day minimum) since it was put on YouTube about 3 weeks ago, I think it’s fair to say that when I realised there was a full stream of the cast recording up 5 days earlier than it’s due to be released I was pretty excited. Worryingly, I actually knew a large amount of the words to God, I Hate Shakespeare and Will Power already as it seems I may have watched the performance on Good Morning America more times than I initially thought. So thank goodness the full album lived up to my high expectations!
It’s definitely the mark of a good cast recording when it genuinely makes you laugh out loud just by listening to it, and Something Rotten! has this in bucket loads. Asides from obvious hilarious lines (don’t be a penis/the man is a genius a prime example), there’s just so many little details that add to the overall humour of the album. My favourite examples of this are the little ‘woo’s’ after renaissance authors are mentioned in Welcome to the Renaissance and in Will Power when the crowds sing ‘now is the winter of our discontent!’ as if Shakespeare is the 1590s equivalent of Harry Styles (is he still cool?).
A massive stand out has to be A Musical, it’s so clever to hear all the references to other shows (I heard Rent and Chicago first time round… I’m sure there are loads more!). It’s also a brilliant celebration of everything that is completely ridiculous about musical theatre – it definitely shouldn’t work, but somehow it really does! I also love Right Hand Man, and I love how there are so many reprises on this album, something about melodies from earlier in the show returning later on makes me really excited…
Something Rotten! is essentially a lesson in how to write a musical, in more ways than one. There isn’t really a weak song as far as I can see and I can’t wait to see this show if it comes to London in 2016!
Something Rotten! is released on June 2nd, but you can listen in full here.