It never truly feels like Christmas for me unless there’s some kind of musical event in either the television or film world. Whether it’s a new movie musical for Hollywood or another one of those live musicals on TV (via NBC or FOX), a big part of my Christmas tradition nowadays is a new musical to watch and enjoy right before the big holiday. This year was no exception, bringing two musicals to my eyeballs. FOX just aired A Christmas Story Live! this past weekend (with a book by Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins and music and lyrics by the songwriting duo Pasek and Paul) and 20th Century Fox is releasing a new movie musical about P.T. Barnum (of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame) directed by Michael Gracey, with a screenplay by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and music and lyrics by Pasek and Paul. You might have noticed a theme there with both of this year’s big, new musical offerings: they both feature the music of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Fresh off their recent success with Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen, Pasek and Paul have written original lyrics and music for The Greatest Showman as well as composing a new song for the live telecast of their 2012 Broadway musical A Christmas Story. (Also of note: one of last year’s big musical offerings, La La Land, also featured the lyrics of Pasek and Paul.) So with Pasek and Paul taking over my screens in both of the big new filmed musical offerings, I thought it worthwhile to give my thoughts on the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman (I haven’t seen the movie yet), FOX’s telecast of A Christmas Story Live!, and my general thoughts on the music of Pasek and Paul. (more…)
Today, Fall Out Boy dropped “Young and Menace”, the first single off their upcoming album M A N I A, released on September 15. I have a whole lot of mixed feelings about this song and its accompanying video. I wanted to like it, I really did. I have always had a soft spot for Fall Out Boy, especially their 2008 album Folie à Deux. But this song is just… weird. And not in a good way.
I mean, it’s not good. It’s not terrible, but it’s not good. Emma Watson really isn’t a strong singer. She’s trying, but she just doesn’t have the voice to pull off the role. Maybe watching her is better (I doubt it – I’ve never found her acting to be terribly strong, she has her moments and she’s not terrible by any means, but she’s also not great either). From the moment Watson starts singing, you can hear the autotune. I normally am not a person to even notice autotune (supposedly lots of things have been autotuned, and I rarely hear it), but Watson’s autotune was painfully noticeable from the first word. And it took me right out. Yeah, she looks the part of Belle and she’s star power, but she can’t sing the part of Belle. And that’s important.