Soundtrack Madness: Musicals
Before we begin to vote, a brief caveat is necessary. You might have already noticed that not all the soundtracks in this bracket are strictly musicals. Classic musicals are here in this bracket, along with films that feature songs actually sung by cast members as part of the plot. Albums in this bracket are all made up of songs performed and recorded by the bulk of the film’s cast. Although this means that the songs are even more tied up with the characters that sing them, please remember to vote for the soundtrack itself, and not for the movie, as difficult as it may be to make that distinction.
West Side Story (1) vs. Once (16)
I’m sorry. And the choices do not get any easier from here. With Shakespeare as their muse, Bernstein and Sondheim combine powers to create the album that held onto the Billboard #1 spot for the longest run in history. West Side Story goes up against one of the most beautiful collaborations of the last 10 years that has inspired a broadway musical and given the stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova (who are both musicians before they are actors) a chance to tour together as The Swell Season. I know who I will vote for, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be painful.
Sound of Music (9) vs. Singin’ In The Rain (8)
Two classics that have only grown in their popularity and influence will face off here. It has been hard for me to find a copy of Singin’ In the Rain that doesn’t rely on film clips, which could either hurt or help it depending on how people feel about the broadway style of dance. I thought I had a fair amount of nostalgia tied up with The Sound of Music, but when Julie Andrews walked on stage at the Oscars and people in the room watching with me burst into tears, I realized that some folks have an even deeper attachment. I suppose this will be one type of nostalgia against another.
Blues Brothers (5) vs. The Commitments (12)
Which group of soul-singing white men will you choose: The SNL sketch-turned-revivalist movement that drew a fan base extending way beyond the film; or a collection of covers by Irish youth, creating a fusion of two cultural souls expressing their humanity under oppression? At bare minimum, these are two great collections of reinterpreted soul songs.
Moulin Rouge (13) vs. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (4)
Moulin Rouge is what happens when a compilation soundtrack is performed by the characters. Familiar songs by Elton John, David Bowie and The Police are given a rebirth into a turn-of-the-century Parisian context. It seems somewhat appropriate that the cabaret-set Moulin Rouge goes up against Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the music from a transgender performer that has gained a massive cult following and is now back on broadway with Neil Patrick Harris as its lead.
Wizard of Oz (3) vs. Inside Llewan Davis (14)
I have no idea how to compare these two soundtracks. The Wizard of Oz Soundtrack was released in 1956, seventeen years after the film, and is as classic a musical as this bracket gets. Inside Llewyn Davis was released in 2013, making it the most recent album in the Soundtrack March Madness, though the music is mostly 60’s folk tune covers.
Wild Style (11) vs. This is Spinal Tap (6)
Wild Style is not a documentary, but it acts like a time capsule for early hip hop as both the film and soundtrack are stacked with pioneers like Fab 5 Freddy and the Cold Crush Brothers. Spinal Tap is a mockumentary with a strong cult following, and although the metal band is fictional, the album has found success as both soundtrack and satire.
Mary Poppins (7) vs. Grease (10)
Well these albums certainly hit two very different parts of my childhood, how about yours? Julie Andrews continues to have inexplicable powers over much of the world. Grease takes us back to our youth, regardless of whether we were youth in the 50’s, 70’s or 90’s.
O Brother, Where Art Thou (2) vs. Frozen (15)
Not only is Frozen the most recent album (along with Inside Llewyn Davis) in these brackets, it’s also the only soundtrack to a fully animated film. No other soundtrack in the past ten years has broken so many records both on Billboard and in sales, so it seemed appropriate to give it its chance here in March Madness as well. O Brother is a collection of traditional and modern bluegrass and country songs, many of which are performed by the Soggy Bottom Boys in the film, and it is addicting. It also heavily features Grammy darling (winner of 27 trophies!), Alison Krauss.