BWW Reviews: SUPERHEROES! Soars Through Cincinnati
The Cincinnati POPS Orchestra, under the direction of John Morris Russell, has recorded SUPERHEROES a new and incredibly fun CD. Along with the POPS the CD showcases the talents of the May Festival Youth Chorus, the CCM Musical Theatre Department, Julie Spangler, and even Adam West who played the 3rd feature film Batman in 1966 and starred as Batman in the ABC television series that ran from 1966 - 1968. All 15 tracks are the musical themes for the most memorable television and movie superheroes. This record will satisfy many different tastes of music because while some of the songs are completely instrumental others include speaking and singing.
The fact that the Cincinnati POPs got Adam West to be involved with the record is a tremendous coup and added a true sense of heroism to not only the 4th track but the entire CD overall. Although you can listen to this awesome CD anywhere, I suggest the car. Driving down the highway with a superhero theme song blasting from your speakers makes you feel like a superhero in your own right. It makes a boring mundane drive feel like an exciting adventure. Like you are off to conquer something important and makes you feel like you can handle anything, even the arch nemesis known as traffic! John put together a superb layout for the tracks. He mixed and mingled the orchestral songs with the vocal songs in a way that created a fantastic flow. No matter your age you will love this CD because the level of production and performances lives up to the high standards of the Cincinnati POPS.
However unfortunately there are some down sides to the CD. The POPS made the mistake of keeping the dynamic changes at the level of a live performance. This is an issue because when the song is very quiet you have to turn the volume up and then when the song suddenly becomes very loud, your ears get a little blown out and you have to turn the dial down. So you end up being the volume police during some of the songs, which of course makes it a little difficult to listen to in the car. Another problem is the articulation of the CCM singers, or really lack there of. They sounded wonderful but they failed to enunciate many of their words, which made it difficult to understand what they were saying. The only part of the CD that I did not understand or connect with was the usage of the previously recorded Black Sabbath's song Iron Man as the 15th and final track. I would have loved to hear the Cincinnati POPS play their own version of the Black Sabbath arrangement.
Finally, within the CD's cover insert is a brand new musical superhero story created by John Morris Russell and the POPS themselves. The superhero based off of John is Conduktor, for whom Pete Anthony created a new piece entitled The Launch (Conduktor's Theme). Will Conduktor and his sidekick Rubáto defeat their nemesis Purrfect Pitch and "her partner in musical mayhem" Otto Tüün? Buy the CD my fellow Cincinnatians and read the insert to find out!
Art Direction and Booklet Design by Trish Carmichael
Illustrations by Craig Boldman