BWW Album Review: LOSING MY MIND: A SONDHEIM DISCO FEVER DREAM is Just What the Doctor Ordered
Conceived, produced, and arranged by Joshua Hinck and Scott Wasserman, LOSING MY MIND: A SONDHEIM DISCO FEVER DREAM is more necessary today than they or Broadway Records could have ever predicted when they scheduled the album for release on Friday, March 20. Undoubtedly, the album was meant to be a fun, frivolous celebration of Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday. But, now, it's ebullient, mirror-ball infused joy is just what we all need to help us dance a little and get through this era of social distancing, self-containments, lockdowns, and quarantines.
To be completely honest, I totally slept on this concept when it was presented at The Green Room 42 in August 2018. I couldn't fathom enjoying the intersection of disco and Stephen Sondheim's music. Listening to the bubbly and vivacious roughly 43-minute album, I feel like I made a huge mistake not attending that show. Luckily, we can all enjoy this album over and over again.
Leaning into the "fever dream" concept, the whole album feels - in some ways - like a sprawling megamix. Each track dovetails perfectly into the one before and after it, but each can stand alone as well. In this same vein, even when the titles tell audiences what they can expect from the track, there are often melodic and/or lyrical easter eggs hidden throughout the album. These little and always welcomed surprises make listeners smiles' broader and their toes tap with more enthusiasm. This is especially true for the "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" inspired transition into "Any Moment" on the "Hello Pretty Lady / Lovely Moments by the Sea" track.
Vocal performances across the disc are all effervescent and delightful. The joy in Hinck's and Aili Venho's voices is tangible across the entire album, especially on tracks like "Color and Light" and "The Miller's Son." Brittnie Price brings soulful disco diva vibes to "Hello Pretty Lady / Lovely Moments by the Sea." Alison Luff, with Blaine Krauss, adds delectable whimsy to "Unworthy of Your Love," which happens to be one of my favorite Sondhiem songs. Juwan Crawley and Deonté L. Warren make "Our Time" radiate with pizazz. The glowing and tender voices of Charity Angél Dawson and Aneesa Folds, with Warren, deliver a heartwarming disco ballad with "No One Is Alone." Kyle 'Bambi' Louviere and Vishal Vaidya with Warren, Crawley, and Hinck deliver dance-inducing club vibes with their spoken words and repeated vocal riffs on "It's Hot Up Here in this City on Fire." Dawson and Hinck's "Losing My Mind" emanates infectious cheer. The closing track, "Megamix: Take Me to the World" is a 3 minute and 55 second summary of the record, showcasing just how fun the project is.
Broadway Records' LOSING MY MIND: A SONDHEIM DISCO FEVER DREAM is the kind of frivolous but wholly uplifting art that calms spirits in trying times. It may not be high art, but it's the kind of escapism that allows you to forget your troubles and bask in love and light for a brief period of time. It's also a wonderful celebration of the legacy and art of Sondheim. For fans of Broadway, fans of disco, or anyone looking for something to mindlessly dance to, this is a must own album.