Monday, November 30, 2009

Music Monday: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

One of my favorite albums is the soundtrack from the movie Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is based on the musical of the same name. Ranging from hard rock to sugar pop, each song tells a piece of Hedwig's story.

Hedwig began as Hansel, an East German teenager who fell in love with a U.S. soldier. But in order for Luther and Hansel to marry and escape communist East Germany, Hansel had to have a sex-change operation and take his mother's name, Hedwig. The operation is botched, leaving Hedwig with a scarred, dysfunctional one-inch mound of flesh -- the "angry inch" of the title. Hedwig and Luther move to the U.S., but on their one-year anniversary Luther leaves Hedwig for a man.

Hedwig forms a band comprised of fellow Army wives and performs at VA halls, before meeting angsty teenager Tommy. Hedwig falls in love with Tommy, but he leaves her to become a popular rock star, stealing songs written by Hedwig, and failing to give her credit for songs they co-wrote. Angered by the betrayal, Hedwig forms a new band, The Angry Inch, and follows Tommy on tour, with Hedwig and the Angry Inch performing at restaurants and coffee shops and trying to garner media attention.

The clip below is of the song "Wig in a Box." Before leaving her, Luther often gave Hedwig wigs of different styles, which she would use to dress up and act out different characters. For that period of time, she can be anyone she wants to be -- instead of being Hedwig.

The clip below is of my favorite song from the movie, "The Origin of Love." The song is a take on Aristophanes' speech at the Plato Symposium, a satirical explanation for the three sexual orientations (heterosexual, gay, lesbian).

The song tells a tale of early humans who were once two-faced, four-armed, four-legged creatures. Some were two men together, some two women, and some were a man and woman together. After angering the gods, Zeus cut humans in half, separating the two beings. Humans were then filled with the desire to seek out their other halves -- their soulmates, if you will. When the two halves try to fit themselves back together, they're making love.

With interesting animation interspersed with shots of Hedwig and the band, the song has emotion and energy behind it that makes for compelling music.

Have you seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Are there any movie soundtracks you enjoy listening to?


Book Boor said...

I have seen and enjoyed Hedwig and the Angry Inch! Fierce doesn't even begin to cover it.

As for movie soundtracks I enjoy...hmmm...I love everything from Amelie to The Wiz. I think I have more scores and soundtracks than anything else. Right now, I have Bride & Prejudice in heavy rotation.

Katie Mack said...

You know, I keep meaning to add Amelie to my Must Watch List, but I forget. Thanks for reminding me!