Album review

This Month In Soundtracks

Even if you remain immune to the dark charms of Joss Whedon's mighty Buffy The Vampire Slayer, you'll have noticed that some of us drone on about The Musical Episode from season six like it was the second coming of Abbey Road, Diamond Dogs and Closer. It is absolutely that and no less. The soundtrack, my most prized possession since someone burned it off a mobile MP3 laptop duck-billed web-pager for me (or whatever), is now officially released by popular demand, the first authentic use of the phrase 'by popular demand' since Disraeli's era. It rocks, desperately and epically, and is funny and heartbreaking. Love it without irony.

The genius Whedon wrote the music and lyrics, which is as quietly depressing for the rest of us as learning that F Scott Fitzgerald was Gershwin in his spare time. The cast perform gutsily, but not slickly, which gives it a spooky, sour edge. Whedon often employs a Greek chorus, resulting in fantastic moments such as a demon taunting the declining slayer with, "She's not even half the girl she...ouch", and rhyming "my life's endeavour" with "yeah, whatever". Willow and Tara sing of their lesbian love. Anya and Xander have an acidic divorce-looming song—"When things get rough he/Just hides behind his Buffy/Now look—he's getting huffy", while neutered punk vampire Spike wallows in unrequited angst—"If my heart could beat it would break my chest/But anyway I can see you're unimpressed". Eventually they all heroically "Walk Through The Fire", but not before Willow responds to "I'll kill her" with "Erm, I think this line is mostly filler". No room here to list a tenth of the prime-cut gags, any of which Seinfeld or Sanders would slay for. That the songs are genuinely great is a ridiculous bonus. The best album by a bunch of actors playing resurrected bisexual sometime-demon archly witty mutant cuties ever.

Rating: 5 / 10


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Weird serendipities aplenty this week: versions of "O, Death" on two albums I downloaded one after another, by Mike & Cara Gangloff and Bessie Jones; dovetailing into Sea Island overlap between Jones and Loscil. It makes for a nice blurring between time and genre with, say, the Gangloffs...