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Bad Vibrations


Bad Vibrations

by Kenneth Lyen

A new musical called "Good Vibrations" will open in Broadway next year using 30 Beach Boys’ songs. It is about a group of teenage boys going to Southern California. Doing what? Well, what they actually do is probably quite irrelevant to this genre of musical.

Hey, am I having deja vu? We seem to be returning to my pet topic. Namely, is the borrowing of established songs for a new musical, the result of a bankrupt imagination, or its opposite, a creative pilfering?

We already have "Mama Mia" featuring Abba songs, "Movin’ Out" using Billy Joel’s pieces, "We Will Rock You" using Queen's music, "The Buddy Holly Story", and "Saturday Night Fever" which uses BG's music. Will this type of musical continue to be manufactured, ad infinitum?

At best this technique is a misnomer, and is really just a concert of original compositions by a famous singer or pop group. At worst it is a musical with a contrived unconvincing plot.

The question I'm dying to ask is whether or not such a musical concoction can be considered art? The nearest art equivalent of this type of musical, I guess, is the collage. Can a mishmash of disparate pieces placed within a frame ever become art? My gut feeling is no. But then I’m a philistine.

I was brought up on Beach Boys music. It conjured up a free and easy lifestyle surfing all day in sunny California's beaches. I guess one day I will attend this musical, probably with my eyes wide shut. I will just sit back and listen to the music, and hope that the plot does not detract from my enjoyment.