ByCharles Broughton, writer at
Just someone who has a few things to say about film. Twitter: @chazwickb
Charles Broughton

With Damien Chazelle's highly anticipated movie musical La La Land (2016) just around the corner, I thought I'd revisit the movie musical genre and indulge in the various interpretations of the musical. Firstly we have the musical adapted from the stage. These ones include: Chicago, Into The Woods, Sweeney Todd, Grease, and countless others. Then we have musicals written directly for the screen. Similar to La La Land, these include wonders such as (insert absolutely any Disney Original movie), God Help The Girl, Sing Street, Pitch Perfect, and the list goes on.

However, there is one type of musical that is often quite rare to find. These are the musicals that are entirely inspired by an artist's work. While yes there are musicals are written around ballads and hits of various artists, such as Moulin Rouge, Rock of Ages, and Pitch Perfect, I'm talking about the musical whose numbers are the songs of a single artist. Think Mama Mia, Jersey Boys, and Green Day's very own American Idiot.

While all these musicals and artists are wonderful in their own right, there are musicians whose discography could prove to be an interesting take on the musical. Here are my suggestions for such artists whose work could provide unique stories and interesting movie musicals.

3. Tom Odell

Despite having only released two albums in his career, Tom Odell's work arguably displays him as an incredibly talented singer-songwriter. Having won the BRITs Critics Choice Award, Tom's discography is one that evokes love, loss, relationships, forgiveness, etc. At first glance these tracks are the hallmarks of a classic musical, but the way in which the music would suit film instead of stage is that of the intimacy in the lyrics and solo piano.

Stringing various tracks together can create wildly different stories. Redemptive love, holding onto someone, craving for something better, etc. In other words, his music could create an incredibly endearing character study due to Tom's personal and intimate lyrics.

2. Mac DeMarco

On the opposite end of the spectrum musically, we have Mac DeMarco. While this laid-back, down to earth, Canadian signer-songwriter sings of love like Tom, he does so in incredibly stark contrast. With his songs telling stories of small-town life alongside songs of love for his significant other, his movie musical would be one with an Indie vibe. Think God Help The Girl or Sing Street. Once again, his intimate sound is one that would suit film instead of stage. Unlike Tom however, DeMarco's discography is one whose movie musical can put a smile on one's face.

1. Nick Cave

Last but certainly not least, we have Nick Cave. Arguably one of the most poetic of all singer-songwriters, Nick Cave's discography is one that taps into subject matter of all kinds. From religion and death, to love and violence, Nick Cave's emotional intensity and lyrical prose could lend to an incredible variety of movie musicals. What ties them all together however is the maturity and stunning inventiveness that is present throughout all his music. In addition, the key that could make his music suitable for a movie musical is his ability to play a storyteller. All his tracks are individual stories that can blend together to create a greater narrative. Just take a look at his murder ballads albums.

Nick Cave is no stranger to film, having written for films such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Road. With such experience, Cave's instrumentals alongside his lyrics could potentially make for an incredibly powerful study in emotionality, spirituality, and mortality, and ultimately that's what a movie musical should be.

Check out the trailer for La La Land below and see why this movie is already being praised for its music and its visuals:

I know that these musicians are ones that I enjoy, but I am acutely aware that there are many more that can be added to this list. Which musician's work do you think would an make interesting musical movie?


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