You know that movie School of Rock? What if I told you it had been adapted into a musical? What if I told you it’s composer was Andrew Lloyd Webber, the man behind such smash hits as Phantom of the Opera and Cats? No, I am not making it up. This musical exists. I was hesitant at first when I found out that Weber was the composer, but the broadway adaptation has all the angst about sticking it to the man the original had. There’s even a song entitled “Stick it to the Man.”
Webber’s score comes straight out of the 70s and 80s with guitar driven and dream heavy tracks. Like the songs, “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock,” a fantastic raging anthem about Dewey’s longing for a rock star’s fame, or “Stick it to the Man” which is essentially “La Vie Boheme” but for head bangers. The song epitomizes the shows moral that music can be used as a vehicle to effect change, and of course using rock for sticking it to the “corporate sellouts” and the “hipsters.” “In the End of Time,” another guitar heavy track, is taken straight from the movie. It’s the same hilarious monologue Dewey has from the film. The song gets an a cappella and rock version on the album.
The album isn’t all rock ‘n’ roll. Webber manages to strike a balance between rock and songs that are more in line with the traditional musical style. “Here at Horace Green” and “Faculty Quadrille” fall into this category. They’re well written and well sung, but nothing spectacular. “Where Did the Rock Go” stands out in the album as it isn’t purely rock or a song for a musical. It’s more in the style of a singer-songwriter ballad. It’s a heartbreaking song as the principal, Rosalie lamentingly sings about how she has lost touch with the rebellious music of her youth and how it doesn’t move her anymore. The tracks that solely have the kids in them, like “Band Practice” and “If You Would Only Listen,” don’t have the best vocals, but aren’t bad to listen too and are still entertaining.
The best part about the whole album is Alex Brightman as Dewey Finn. His take on the character is hilarious and brilliant. For fans of musicals, this album brings something new and is worth the listen, or if you’re a fan of the original movie or Andrew Lloyd Webber you’ll find something to enjoy on this album.