10 '90s Albums That Should Be Broadway Musicals
It seems Broadway may have a taste for those ironic jagged little '90s pills after all.
Here's the thing: Jagged Little Pill, that mega-huge album from our favorite '90s alt-wailer Alanis Morissette, is being adapted for the Broadway stage. As in, they're making the album into a Broadway musical, and Alanis is all for it. She's even helping to expand the story behind it, "fleshing it out into ever deeper layers of emotionality, specificity, humanity, power, physicality, spirit and fabulism." For real.
Yeah, we're a bit confused too, but we like anything with jazz hands and high kicks, so we'll go with it. Hell, it worked for Green Day's American Idiot, and that album barely worked as an album, so Jagged Little Pill: Broadway Style, is sure to be theater genius, right?
But Ms. Morisette and her down-and-dirty theater antics got us wondering, in a non-ironic way, about what other badass '90s albums we could turn into decent Broadway musicals. Here are the ten we'd like to see. Jazz hands!
10. The Fragile, Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor's heavy reliance on soundscapes, electronic beats, and pure grit made The Fragile much more of an art-rock album than the two that came before it. Reznor has always had a bit of Broadway in him, with his spiraling-into-despair type of vibe, but when he threw out this album -- which reeks elegant misery and a cultured loneliness -- it elevated not only the type of music he was making, but the Broadway-crossover elements as well. We say a Nine Inch Nails show is just what Broadway needs.
9. Hit to Death In the Future Head, Flaming Lips It's the Flaming Lips. Every album they make is some sort of weird-play/album/art-show mashup anyway, but think about the possibilities. You've got tracks like "Halloween on the Barbary Coast" or "You Have to be Joking (Autopsy of the Devil's Brain)" that make it seem like Wayne Coyne and company wrote this album with Broadway hopes in mind.
8. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins Really, is there a more theatrical group than Smashing Pumpkins, especially when both D'arcy Wretzky and James Iha were in the band? The plot lines would be insane, and the sets could be pulled straight from their music videos, which you've got to admit are still pretty rad all these years later.
Not only that, but something tells me Billy Corgan could bust out some pretty magical jazz hands, given the opportunity.
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7. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill What? Turn an album about the breakup of a band, wrought with the protagonist's complicated outlook of the on love, pregnancy, and life? Yes, please. Lauryn Hill's solo album, sans Fugees, is almost a Broadway soundtrack as it is. If you throw in a cast of characters to back up "Doo Wop (That Thing)," a song begging to be sung on a Broadway stage, and a Marley or two, and the entire idea goes platinum. You wouldn't even have to rework the title; it's already as Broadway as can be.
6. Ten, Pearl Jam As narrated by Jeremy. We think that says enough.
5. The Slim Shady LP, Eminem Lawsuits and boycotts were hurled at Eminem with the quickness over the violence depicted on The Slim Shady LP. The dude depicted in "Brain Damage," DeAngelo Bailey, sued the rapper for slander and invasion of privacy, and Eminem's own mom even jumped on the bandwagon.
That makes the idea for this Broadway album adaption ripe for the picking: it's full of escandalo! Plus, think of all the ways you could depict the crazy church-lady zealots bugging out over "97 Bonnie and Clyde."
4. Dr. Octagoneycologyst, Dr Octagon Granted, all the porn sampling and faux gynecology references on this album would label it slightly unsafe for the younger crowd. But Dr Octagon (or rapper Keith Thornton, as his mama knows him) may not be the best rapper of all time, but he's certainly fuckin' creative about it.
Thornton created Dr. Octagoneycologyst, an alter ego he debuts on this album who is basically a murdering, time-traveling, extraterrestrial gynecologist from Jupiter, who also treats chimpanzee acne and moosebumps while dropping some hilariously juvenile jokes. Yeah, he kind of outdid the whole murdering/dentist-eating plant thing by accident, which makes this strange psych-horror-rap album perfect for Broadway adaptation.
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3. The Chronic, Dr Dre You've got Dre throwing some Eazy-E shade and Snoop Dogg rapping about violence in the hood and his stint in the Wayside County jail for cocaine possession. The freakin' script writes itself. Also, "Let Me Ride" is the best song ever and needs to be sung by a bunch of Broadway nerds because yes.
2. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Ice Cube Ice Cube's debut solo album is all about life in the ghetto, racism, poverty, and other sociopolitical issues plaguing the '90s. Cube also calls out Arsenio Hall for being a sell-out, hip-hop stations for playing total crap, and America's Most Wanted for delighting in the arrests of black people. Fuckin' awesome and totally necessary for Broadway.
1. Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black, Public Enemy "By the Time I Get to Arizona," Public Enemy's justifiably pissed-off, violent track about then-Arizona governor Evan Mecham's refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr's birthday as a national holiday, is basically torn from the pages of a Broadway play. There's political strife, reactionary violence, and desperation by the repressed, who are trying to right the misdeeds by any means possible. It's got everything.
There's also that whole Anthrax mashup on "Bring Tha Noize," which makes the whole thing, Broadway play or not, that much more awesome.
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