Most helpful positive review
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A Musical and Soundtrack to Cherish for Years to Come
on June 3, 2014
I saw this musical on Friday, May 30, 2014 on Broadway, during which I immediately purchased the soundtrack (for a great deal more than one can buy it here), then had Idina sign it at the stage door. I have been listening to it on repeat almost constantly ever since. It's a very timely production that has been created with If/Then, asking in many ways the endless possibilities and directions that one's life might take. The musical is hip, contemporary and perfect for fans of Rent (of course), Once, Wicked, or the beautifully talented Idina Menzel...
Although not a native to New York, I appreciate the tone and subject matter of each song on the album. They speak of the city like it's a dear friend, and not just concrete under their feet. The city makes these characters come alive. Containing nearly 70 minutes of songs delivered with gusto by each member of the cast, you will find yourself tapping to the beat and being drawn into the surprisingly emotional depth in the lyrics. Standouts are, of course, 'Here I Go', sung by the shy but hopeful Idina (Liz) and James Snyder (Josh), 'I Hate You' (Liz) as well as 'You Learn to Live Without' (Liz/Beth). These three songs in particular allow Idina's voice to soar. 'I Hate You' even takes some notes from 'No Good Deed', which was also sung by Idina in Wicked. You'll know what I mean when you hear it - but man! Can the lady sing fast!
I'll admit, I CRIED while watching the play, and I cried again listening to this album. The stars hold nothing back in their delivery. It's not for those with sensitive ears, as many of the lyrics (even one edited song title on the outside of the album) are explicit. These are 40-somethings living in New York City. Choice words are realistically expected. The explicit content is as much used for humor (especially in the song 'What the F---?") as much as it is used for realism.
There are some elements missing that I wish had been contained on this album, but simply for story purposes. Some dialogue at the beginning and the end of the play (delivered by Idina) would have been nice accompaniments to the rest of the lyrics. There are also a few (singing) cast lines omitted in the 'What If? (Reprise)". Not sure why they cut those lines out, but they were. Still, the album is full of music and feels complete, even with those few slight omissions.
In general, I don't think that anyone could go wrong with purchasing this album. Be aware that there are two different story lines interchangeably being played out through these songs, so while you may not fully understand the plot as you listen, you will still enjoy the ride.
And if you ever get the chance, please do try to see If/Then on Broadway, especially while Idina continues to fill the lead role. It'll be an experience to remember.