Various Artists - Phantom of the Opera: Original London Cast
I never thought it would, but this soundtrack is starting to sound dated. When it came out, we all thought the electronic drumming in the title track was fantastic, but it now sounds nearly as ridiculous as the gunshots in MC Hammer's "Crime Stories." Most of the non-standard instrumentation in this soundtrack now sounds hopelessly behind the times though it was absolutely cutting edge in its day. Even though it is beginning to show its age a bit, Phantom will always be remembered as one of the greatest musicals in the history of the genre. All of the vocal performances are top notch, and the songs are as good as ever. As a matter of fact, this recording is a perfect example of my love/hate relationship with all things Andrew Lloyd Webber. I tend to find Sir Andrew to be generally ridiculous, but his tendencies toward the pompous actually work well here. Also, I always thought Michael Crawford a silly choice for the phantom. He is, after all, Condorman. He always seemed to do better in light-hearted affairs like Hello Dolly!, but he is most certainly one of the best phantoms to ever don the half mask (Oh, and he's milked Phantom for more than Andrew Lloyd Webber ever has. How many different versions of "Music of the Night" has he recorded? Seriously). Oh, and Sarah Brightman sings like she has a stick up her butt (take a look at her performance in the 25th anniversary show and try again to tell me how awesome she is). Despite the fact that all the ingredients of this musical seem created for the express purpose of making me hate it, I actually really love it. It somehow all works.