Throughout the Uk lockdowns, I have adapted my blog from reviewing live theatre to pre-recorded albums usually available on Spotify. The problem with only listening to these recordings is that you can’t fully comprehend the show (which is actually why I started my youtube channel https://youtube.com/channel/UCHSoxy7Iw6ru0P6mUFOr2iw where I interview the cast and crew behind these projects to get a greater idea of the show which you should check out if you haven’t already! The people not fully understanding the show is only exasperated when the album is just a highlight compilation of the show. Discovering the recording of “In pieces” took me on an emotional rollercoaster, I have to admit. At first, I was super excited as it is a brand new musical but then I realised it was just a highlights so I was initially a little not disappointed. Upon reflection, however, I believe that producing a highlights album is the best idea as it builds the buzz ready for its virtual streaming of the full movie musical available from the 23rd to the 26th. The small selection of the songs from the show (only 10 tracks on the album) helps the listeners to get a general idea of the show which may encourage them to buy tickets for the concert!
The story of “In Pieces” follows the lives of eight individuals in New York as they reflect on the lives they have lived so far. They discuss the high and the low points they have experienced which truly keeps the show set in the real world which viewers will be able to relate to. The show comes from the pop catalogue of pop songwriter Joey Contreras and these pop influences are very clear throughout all of the tracks on this album while still staying in the world of classic musical theatre. This cross-over of pop and musical theatre seems to be an area that is receiving a lot of focus at the moment in shows such as Six and & Juliet which helps to promote musical theatre as a more familiar and accessible format for potential viewers!
The song “you never know” is crammed full of optimism and allows many characters to introduce their own stories. Despite not being the official opening number on the album which is Fork in the road (intro) with this song being almost a classic overture from a show, “You never know” almost acts as an opening number as it builds tremendous amounts of excitement and helps I predict key story points which I enjoyed! One of my favourite songs from this album is “Me and Mr Popularity” which was flawlessly performed by Andrew Barth Fieldman. Andrew most recently played the role of Remy in the TikTok musical ‘ratatouille’ (which I also reviewed available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/01/02/ratatouille-the-tiktok-musical-review/) The song tells the story of Andrew’s character as he becomes close with someone who he thinks has a perfect life but after getting to know each other he quickly realised they even they have their issues. This message is super important especially to consider right now as everyone is fighting their own battle that people don’t know about and it’s important now more than ever to BE KIND! Another familiar face in this album is George Salazar who is known for his performance of “Micheal in the Bathroom” in Be More Chill and his performance in Godspell. George performers the song “This is not me” which perfectly portrays the loss of control of emotions the character is facing. The constantly repetitive ostinato helps to create a wonderful sense of mystery and when the music swells it portrays the outpouring of emotion they are facing well. I enjoyed this song as it was incredibly emotionally powered and perfectly performed! The song “singing the same line” was also incredibly moving with some of the best vocal runs/harmonies I have heard in a very long time!
Overall, this is an incredible professional recording that contains many insanely talented performers. The story is very accessible and relatable as it is set in the modern-day with realistic experiences which is fantastic! The album does exactly in every song but overall helps to build excitement ready for the streaming event starting on the 23rd. I would rate this album 4.5 stars out of 5!