October 23, 2017

Paul McCartney and The Book of Mormon

Downloading music from itunes has been my practice of late, but I was compelled to buy two new physical CDs for a road trip in a rental car.

The first on the playlist was Paul McCartney’s “Kisses On the Bottom,” his love letter to song standards such as “The Glory of Love,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” and “Always,” among others. The orchestrations are lush, some done by luminaries such as Johnny Mandel and Alan Broadbent, featuring musicians both famous and diverse like Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and the London Symphony Orchestra, no less. Diana Kral is the pianist throughout providing the delicate accompaniment for McCartney’s surprisingly wonderful take on these vintage lyrics and melodies. There are two McCartney originals, my absolute favorite being “My Valentine,” a simple but effective ballad reminiscent of his much earlier song “Yesterday.” Even the CD package is elegant with clean-lined graphics and interesting liner notes. This would be perfect music for a romantic evening for two, and not just on Valentine’s day.

My second purchase was the cast recording of “The Book of Mormon” which won Tony awards for  best musical, original score, best book, best direction and best actress in a featured role in a musical. Without visuals or dialogue, I could easily follow the story line with just the songs. And what songs! The lyrics are indeed scatological, but so clever and quite profound that one bounces between smiles, giggles and inward “wows.”
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of “South Park” notoriety, team up with Robert Lopez, lyricist and composer of “Avenue Q,” to fashion a musical and cultural clash between Mormon missionaries and the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. This is definitely not “My Fair Lady” in terms of propriety, but the mixture of craft and heart will delight you if you like your musicals “edgy.” I can’t wait to see this on stage.

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