Buffy The Vampire Slayer Original Cast Once More With Feeling Review


BBC Review

Soundtrack from musical episode of Buffy. Full of horrors.

Morag Reavley 2003

You can imagine the kind of production meeting which might have given rise to this album. Buffy creator and producer Joss Whedon announces one morning to his young, gullible cast: "Hey, kids. We've had a great run so far, but things are getting kinda samey. What can we do to give a bit of life back to a tired old format? I know, lets do a musical episode! Yes, I know I've never strung two notes together before, but how difficult can it be?"

The result is an episode of the spooky teen series in the form of a musical opera. Originally screened in November 2001, the soundtrack is now back from the grave as an album. And, appropriately, its full of horrors.

In its favour, it doesn't attempt to take itself seriously. It's a pastiche of musicals, and music of all genres, from heavy rock in the vampiric 'Rest In Peace' number to the whimsical and naïve (any track with singing by Sarah-Michelle Gellar).

And the lyrics have their comic moments, as with the ironic "I've got a theory/Some kid is dreamin'/And we're all stuck inside his crazy Broadway nightmare". In general, though, humour verges on the puerile, limited to the simplest and least sensical rhymes. Cole Porter this certainly is not.

Much more lamentable is the quality of the singing, which is on the level of your average school musical society, only less talented. The honourable exception is Hinton Battle (the devilish Sweet), who doesn't so much steal, as smash and grab the show with 'What You Feel', a jazz number which would not be out of place in a Kander and Ebb production.

Pastiche and irony can only go so far; a recording needs other qualities to make it worth listening to (plot or fine voices would be a fine start). This unquiet being is definitely for fans' ears only.

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