Avenue Q

Original Broadway Cast Recording

RCA Victor Broadway, 2003

REVIEW BY: Elizabeth Crowder


Think back to your childhood and the joy which shows like Sesame Street and Zoobilee Zoo brought. There is something so calming about puppets and furry creatures, and that contrast makes Avenue Q even more irreverent. A musical based in an outer borough apartment building of New York City, Avenue Q parodies these children’s classics with puppets who address sexuality, pornography, and racism.

This album includes songs like "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist," a track about how each of us has a small amount of discrimination we hold against others (lyrics define that as "Not big judgments, like who to hire or who to buy a newspaper from.  Just little judgments like thinking Mexican busboys should learn to speak goddamn English.") "It Sucks To Be Me" compares the circumstances of life between the friends, ending with a determination that Gary Coleman (the superintendent at their complex) has the worst life of everyone.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Another favorite song that many of you may have already heard is appropriately titled "The Internet Is For Porn."  While the main character, Kate Monster, is excited to tell her kindergarten class about how amazing the Internet is, Trekkie Monster (patterned after Cookie Monster) informs her that the Internet is, in fact, for porn.  Bert and Ernie are parodied in the roommates Rod (who denies his homosexuality with the song "My Girlfriend Who Lives In Canada") and Nicky (whose curiosity about Rod's actual orientation is discussed in "If You Were Gay.")

While it seems this is an entire musical of controversial topics, there are also some more normal tracks which balance the insanity.  "Mix Tape" is about the gift of a tape of songs that Princeton gives to Kate Monster, and how she thinks he likes him and can tell from the tracks he adds to the tape.  Then again, her confusion is increased by seeing songs like "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Goodnight Saigon" alongside "I Have To Say I Love You In A Song."

"Schadenfreude," the German word for happiness at the misfortune of others, is another great cut from Avenue Q. The characters of Gary Coleman and Nicky list items like "Don't you feel all warm and cozy watchin' people out in the rain" as ways that we take pleasure in pain which others face. As with all the songs from this musical, there is humor mixed with truth, making it tough to laugh at the lyrics without realizing your own faults.  As far as reflection goes, we all have faults and we all make mistakes.  Seeing them sung and performed by puppets just makes them easier to recognize and get through.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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