MGF Reviews Hairspray: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture

Hairspray: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture
New Line Records (7/10/07)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Hairspray soundtrack. It’s supposed to be a gay Broadway musical classic, and I have never seen it on stage. Of course, the story that is overshadowing the movie is John Travolta’s controversial interview where he inadvertently alienates his target gay audience, one that has been sliced and reprinted everywhere. Like most albums, there are some hits and there are some misses. Sometimes, it feels too long, from a soundtrack point of view, clocking in at nineteen tracks, but maybe in the movie, some of these songs are critical and that’s what I have to assume.

There are shining stars with Nikki Blonsky’s vocals in “Good Morning Baltimore”. Blonsky was even able to make “I Can Hear the Bells”, about teenage love in comparison to boxing rounds, tolerable. The headliner of the soundtrack for me was Queen Latifah who has been able to carry herself as a strong presence in the Broadway movie genre, specifically with Chicago. “Big, Blonde and Beautiful” and “I Know Where I’ve Been” are two very strong Latifah songs that really made this soundtrack work and stand strong.

Zac Efron never won me over on anything he sang, which was usually a rocking number like “Ladies’ Choice”. I couldn’t connect with James Marsden on “The Nicest Kids in Town,” but I understand why it’s on the record by being very Broadway.

Michelle Pfeiffer added sexiness and sass to the funny and tongue-in-cheek “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs”, while Christopher Walken was a complete surprise in “(You’re) Timeless to Me”. John Travolta—which is the biggest question I had going into reviewing this soundtrack of what it would be like, having enjoyed him during the Grease soundtrack—did okay… not great, but okay. He’s playing a woman in this movie so it’s not exactly going to be the same.

I believe you have to see the movie before you even entertain buying the soundtrack. Having said that, this soundtrack does have fun future and established star power.