One of the most exciting things in life (for me) is the range of fo characters you meet in random moments of your life that develop into people who you could not imagine your life without. The fact that you can think of I hadn’t had done this or gone there I wouldn’t have met someone had become such an important person in my life is something that constantly plays on my mind. Your life could be complete if you decided to go to a different school, not go on that Holliday, deciding to stay in rather than go out for the night etc which to me is baffling. I believe that this is the central idea of the new musical Contact High which has recently published a soundtrack on Spotify. The show follows the lives of two people who form a very unlikely friendship, on one hand, there is Jean Simon who is a drug dealer and recovering heroin addict and on the other, there is Haley Walter Keys who is a misunderstood teen genius with a secret phobia of human ‘Contact’ (there a joke in there is you try hard enough!) These two pupils are pupils in the same school and form the most unusual friendship considering their backgrounds. With music, book and lyrics by the wonderful team of Kyle Reid Hass and Jeremy Swanton, this is a show written for a young teenage audience with a constant air of toughness and energy throughout. If you enjoy Be More Chill then you will love this new soundtrack!
The musical in this musical soundtrack is very high-energy and show influences for 80s electric pop music. The songs are listed under the creators rather than the performers and so it is very difficult to deliver praise where it is due but I believe people will be able to (through extensive detective work) be able to who the compliments are directed to. My favourite number in this show would have to be “The World and It’s people” which is a fantastic number which talks about how life could always be worse. While this isn’t the most uplifting message it does help people put their issues into perspective and that there are plenty of people who constantly face bigger and more intense issues every day. The performer who sang this song on the album was a very talented singer whose voice worked perfectly with this song to create an incredibly moving performance to listen to. “Last One Standing” is a song that manages to perfectly capture the anxiety and stress out upon higher achieving students to constantly push boundaries. We need to consider that while we may believe that we extend students to achieve the best we can we also need to realise the amount of added pressure we may be accidentally putting onto them. As someone who is training to be a teacher and also a fan of musical theatre, it is extremely interesting to me that the show has decided to explore the stress of being a high achieving student all the time as I believe this is something that does not get the attention it deserves.
The album takes an unexpected turn during the song “I’ll have it all” which is a rock-inspired number that was performed excellently by the performer in this number. The song “Benjamin’s Defence” however returns back to the style of music that majority of the songs in this show live in. It’s a very beautiful song with simplicity and pure beautiful emotion. Due to the chord progressions and heartfelt nature of this song it does remind me at times of the timeless classic “Can’t help Falling” by Elvis. The musical riffs at the end of this song are absolutely incredible to listen to but upon reflection, we’re also totally unexpected and did appear to come from nowhere. Don’t get me wrong I long a vocal run but I believe that they should fit with the genre and emotion of the song and I do think in this instance they were just added to be an impressive tool. When I saw that there is a song titled “Touch the Sky” on this album, I assumed it would be a heart wrenching balled and would be the powerhouse song of the show. It was not! Instead, it was an upbeat musical number with a sense of comedy throughout which to be honest I think I preferred to the assumptions I had created.
Overall, Contact high is an energetic show that also delivers many emotional numbers. It documents accurately the lives of teenagers and encourages them to seize every possible moment. I would rate this show 3 and a half stars out of 5 and would recommend it to people you like the youthy perspective on theatre that is clear in shows such as Be More Chill!