Musicality – Kinky Boots, Cher, Kanye West, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Kinky Boots: Original Broadway Cast Recording
(Sony Music Entertainment/Kinky Boots LLC)
Cyndi Lauper needs a strong high-five for this and all the awards for everything. Music and lyrics are by Lauper, and supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Stephen Oremus. The musical is based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots. Lovers of musicals will eat this up. The CD starts strong and hardly wavers in its excellence. The song “Take What You Got” is my favorite lyrically and melodically, but of course I am a sucker for a good guitar riff and strong vocals. The album takes a different turn with a female vocalist in “The History of Wrong Guys.” In it, I could easily hear the essence of Lauper’s old-school hits like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I really liked the slower “Not My Father’s Son,” because it is surprising and rather heartbreaking in its honesty. One of the songs that caught me most off guard — in the absolutely best way — is “What a Woman Wants.” It’s a fantastically gay tango mash of hauntingly fantastic beats, addictive bass, edgy lyrics, and sass. Don’t wait — give it a chance. If you love musicals, it’s too good to pass up.
Cher
Woman’s World: The Single
(Warner Bros.)
One thing Cher has always been good at is staying in your head. Honestly, I enjoy the single, I really do. I kind of, well, instantly liked it. It’s a dance song, and it doesn’t waver much from that. She took very few risks with the song besides the lyrics, which are simple but inspiring, on a Beyonce-level. As women’s rights have been challenged as of late, with one example being in Texas, we have been seeing women taking the reins and standing up for themselves politically. This song is an appropriate soundtrack for that. It praises strength and truth, and strives to be an anthem. Both the Danny Verde Remix and the R3HAB remix are great versions, ready for the nightclubs.
Kanye West
Yeezus
(Def Jam)
Nope. Sorry, Kanye, not this time. I heard, before listening to this album, that it was “different.” Well, it is certainly that. What I didn’t expect was that it would just be so awkward and that I would dislike it so much. Even though I have a rather negative image of West, I am still a rabid fan of his music. Therefore, I tried several excruciating times to give this album a chance. Thinking that I was simply in a bad mood when I first gave it a whirl, I thought listening to it again in its entirety might change my mind. I was wrong. It is no Graduation. There are pieces within songs that are decent, but not at all worth what this album was capable of. Darkness and anger can be beautiful, and I’ve heard many angry songs in my day, but I think this missed the mark. I do respect West’s desire to do something experimental and industrial. I’m not sure if he knew some of his fans were going to dislike it or if he thinks he can just release anything and everyone will flock to it. I think it may be an unfortunate case here as it debuted at No. 1 the week it was released, and the narcissism seems extremely apparent in the lyrics. But you can’t please everyone all the time.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The Heist
(Macklemore)
Although I’m late on this release, trust me, it is worth it. I needed something to ease the disappointment I felt after listening to Kanye West’s new album, Yeezus. Luckily, I remembered that someone suggested this album to me. My only disappointment about The Heist is that I did not listen to it earlier. It is fantastic. If you love R&B and rap, you are guaranteed to respect and love many of the songs on this incredible album. Unlike the first big single, “Thrift Shop,” which has comical lyrics and a playful tone, many of the album’s songs are either serious, celebratory or a mix of the two. “Same Love” is not my favorite song on the album, but it is a good one and it should be the only thing needed to convince you that Macklemore is on the right side of LGBTQ rights. My favorite songs are “BomBom,” “Thin Line,” and “Can’t Hold Us.”

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