Sunday, January 6, 2008

Girls Who Love Murderous Barbers (or at least those played by Johnny Depp)

My friend, Dragon, recently saw the Sweeney Todd film and has now been converted into a fan of the musical. For those of you who are not familiar with Steven Sondheim’s masterpiece. It is about a nineteenth century London barber named Sweeney Todd and his downstairs neighbor Mrs. Lovett, who runs a pie shop. Todd likes to murder his customers as his way of taking revenge against the world and Mrs. Lovett, ever the practical one, helps dispose of the bodies by grinding them up into her delicious meat pies. What can I say; Dragon is a very cool person and she has excellent taste.

What befuddles me though is that her favorite song from this musical is Green Finch and Linnet Bird. The song introduces Johanna, Todd’s lost teenage daughter. This is a run of the mill song about a young girl coming into her womanhood and wanting to be free to experience the world. It is a pretty song but there are much more interesting versions of this type of song. I would point to Cosette’s In My Life in Les Miserables or Luisa’s Much More in Fantasticks. Much More is the source for my most fervent prayer: “Please God please don’t let me be normal.”

To me going to Sweeney Todd for a song like Green Finch completely defeats the purpose. It lacks Sondheim’s trademark complexity and furthermore, the song contains not a single reference to blood, guts or anyone getting murdered. Green Finch is not My Friends, in which consists of Todd singing to his razor blades and demonstrating a truly remarkable ability to transition up and down the music scale. Or what about Todd singing Johanna, which is him slitting the throats of his customers and singing how he no longer needs to get his daughter back as he now has something else to live for. And then there is a Little Priest in which Todd and Lovett sing a duet about how various people might taste as pies.

Mrs. Lovett: It’s priest. Have a little priest.

Todd: Is it really good?

Mrs. Lovett: Sir, it’s too good at least. Then again, they don’t commit sins of the flesh, so it’s pretty fresh.

Todd: Awful lot of fat.

Mrs. Lovett: Only where it sat.

Todd: Haven’t you got poet or something like that?

Mrs. Lovett: No, you see the trouble with poet is, how do you know it’s deceased? Try the priest.

Todd: Heavenly. Not as hearty as bishop, perhaps, but then not as bland as curate either.
Mrs. Lovett: And good for business – always leaves you wanting more. Trouble is we only get it on Sundays.


I must confess that the musical tastes of women lie outside of my field of comprehension. My musical sensibilities are rather simple. I like powerful heroic songs with loud bangs, like what you get in Richard Wagner. If it has some really dark humor and blood to go along with it, than I am all the merrier.

3 comments:

Tobie said...

Oh yes, your friend's tastes must reflect that of all womankind. Of course.

Personally, I like geek rock. I listen to lyrics too hard to be able to buy almost any other genre.

Izgad said...

I do not claim that my friend represents all of womankind. If she did the world would be a much more interesting place. It is simply that this is an example of my not being able to understand women. Of course it is not like I understand NT males either.

Dragon said...

Yes, Green Finch and Linnet Bird is my favorite song. Knowing what it is like to be a caged bird, or I should say dragon, it speaks to my heart. Also, it is a song that fits my vocal range beautifully.

However, in the course of conversation, I believe I mentioned that I very much enjoyed the song My Friends. I happen to love sharp pointy objects and a song devoted to them tickles my fancy, perhaps even more than a song that speaks directly to my heart. The song The Priest is fun and light hearted and who wouldn't love baking certain people up in a pie from time to time. Lastly in the Sweeny Todd music, I very much enjoy the duet Pretty Women between Alan Rickman and Johnny Depp. They compliment each other's voices beautiful.

In some ways I do enjoy the typical likes/dislikes of womenfolk. However, you should have seen my smile at the sight of those lovely razors.

Also, I have been a fan of musicals for a very long time. Singing in the Rain is one of my favorites as is the King and I, Camelot, My Fair Lady and many other. Recently, I have been rather fond of Rent, Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked. I have had the fortune of seeing my favorite musical, Les Miserable on Broadway my senior year back in '01.

Izgad is right, if I was the norm when it came to women, the world would certainly be a more interesting place. In truth, I don't understand women any more than I understand men and what their typical tastes are. I like being an individual.