Postives About the Hairspray Soundtrack:
1. The music, as always, is a ton of fun.
2. James Marsden can sing. His character, Corny Collins, only has two songs (“The Nicest Kids in Town” and “Hairspray”) but he makes them so much more interesting than they ever were on the Broadway soundtrack. If his acting is anywhere near as good as his singing, this will be Marsden’s breakthrough performance with the public and will lead to truly interesting roles.
3. Newcomer Elijah Kelley’s version of “Run and Tell That.” This could do for him what “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” did for J. Hud. It’s that good.
4. The orchestration on “Good Morning Baltimore” is bombastic, over-the-top and fantastic to the extreme. Just listen to that wailing saxophone in the beginning and tell me you‘re not in love.
5. Nikki Blonsky (as Tracy) is fabulous. Bravo!
Negatives About the Hairspray Soundtrack:
1. John Travolta. Oh God, I hate to say it, but his singing practically ruins “Welcome to the 60’s” and “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The awkward way he says “fabulous” in “Welcome to the 60’s” makes me cringe every time and I really don’t know why. It makes me miss Harvey Fierstein even more and I wish they had taken a chance and hired him instead.
2. This version of “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” The song is as catchy as ever, but the aforementioned Travolta and the elimination of my favorite verse (the Von Tussle verse towards the end) dampens the spirit of it.
3. The new songs aren’t that great. Sure “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)” is a ton of fun and the way Zac Efron nasally wails on “Ladies’ Choice” makes me laugh every time, but they don’t seem to really add anything to the film.