Title - 'Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical'
Artist - Various
Coinciding almost perfectly with the 20th anniversary of the Roger Kumble film from which it is based, the new Off-Broadway musical 'Cruel Intentions' uses hit songs from the 1990s as its central motif.
Throughout the show, cast members pay tribute to the decade with stellar performances of The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony', Christina Aguilera's 'Genie In a Bottle', the Cardigans' 'Lovefool' and the lead single from the film itself, the highly-infectious yet one-hit wonder-bound 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (Deep Blue Something).
So, as I'm sure you can all attest to yourselves, those of you of a certain age that were teens when this film originally came out of course, first love is truly a bittersweet symphony!
Ergo, not only the stage play of the same name, but the plethora of radio hits from that decade found here on this just-released 18-track Original Cast Album once again pull you into the manipulative world of Manhattan’s most dangerous liaisons: Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil!
Seduced by revenge and fueled by passion, the two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet on whether or not Sebastian can deflower their incoming headmaster’s daughter, Annette Hargrove.
As the two set out to destroy the innocent girl—and anyone who gets in their way—they find themselves entangled in a web of secrets, temptation, and the cruelest game of all: love.
The album really does capture the '90s perfectly, with these well-voiced cast members bringing us such classics as favorite throwback hits by artists like: Boyz II Men, Christina Aguilera, REM, *NSYNC, and, of course, Britney Spears and even 'Kiss Me' from the highly-underrated Sixpence None the Richer.
Two time Grammy-winning record producer Stewart Lerman took music director Zach Spound's orchestrations and arrangements from 'Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical' into his studio in August of this year and came out with, well, … this!
The album kicks off with an original from the Off Broadway Cast, 'Every You, Every Me,' which amazingly sounds like it was born in the '90s! The guitar heavy power track is clearly built for the stage, but begins our nostalgic trip down memory lane just perfectly.
Melissa Etheridge's powerful vocals still come through on the multi cast-sung 'I'm The Only One' with both Lauren Zakrin and Constantine Rousouli on Aguilera's 'Genie In A Bottle' and Carrie St. Louis' quite brilliant 'Just A Girl' (No Doubt) well worthy of a spot here too.
A cover bandesque 'I Want It That Way' (*NSYNC) from both Alex Boniello and Brian Muller lacks strength and I was also hoping for more passion from Six Pence None the Richer's 'Kiss Me' (Cast).
Constantine Rousouli and Carrie St. Louis get the music back on track with a rousing 'Lovefool' (The Cardigans) and that's backed by much better collaboration from Alex Boniello and Brian Muller on *NSYNC's blazingly addictive 'Bye Bye Bye.'
One of the highlights of the original movie was 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (Deep Blue Something) and I'm here to say that both Jessie Shelton and Matthew Griffin knock it out of the park!
Sadly, Matthew Griffin, Lauren Zakrin and Patricia Richardson on TLC's 'No Scrubs' doesn't work for me as there's just too much plot point chit-chat in between, but the soundtrack gets back on track with the Cast-sung 'Only Happy When It Rains / Act 1 Finale Medley.'
Boyz II Men's beautiful 'I'll Make Love To You' is slaughtered here by the pitched wail of Jessie Shelton (although Alex Boniello, Brian Muller and Matthew Griffin all manage to harmonize decently enough), but a stunning rendition of Natalie Imbruglia's catchy 'Torn' by Carrie St. Louis and Constantine Rousouli make up for it in spades.
The Counting Crows' love song 'Colorblind,' sung here by Constantine Rousouli and Carrie St. Louis and backed by the Cast is a lovely musical moment, and then comes Rousouli doing his karaoke version of The Goo-Goo Dolls' 'Iris.'
Jewel's 'Foolish Games' gets a rather splendid crack at the whip from Carrie St. Louis, with the album rounding out nicely with 'Kathryn's Turn Medley' by Lauren Zakrin and Constantine Rousouli (inclusive of a highly charged 'Bitch' - Meredith Brooks), before the Cast come together for an acoustic guitar singalong on The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony.'
NYC’s most intoxicating new musical is a full-on ’90s party so run out and get this wonderful Original Cast Album recording now!
Chock full of all the songs you know and love from the '90s allow yourself to be transported back to a much better era of music than we have now!
Amazon CD Purchase Link