Vibrant and engaging from start to finish, the soundtrack to the film captures the spirit of the story – despite some of the songs from the original musical missing.
It is very clear from listening to this gorgeous soundtrack that that this is a really well put together soundtrack that retains the strong storytelling technique even if songs have been moved around slightly to offer a fresh interpretation of the story.
With tracks such as ‘96,000’ and ‘Carnaval Del Barrio’ you get a real sense of the community spirit that exists from start to finish on this electrifyingly energetic musical – you feel all of the characters emotions in the context of what is happening in the story. This is something that is not easily replicated when you are simply listening to the songs but it shows the strength of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songwriting capabilities that in this case it translates well – you feel as though you are right there with the characters.
But of course, it is also the fact that even simply listening to this album you get a real sense of the emotional core of the film as well – thanks to stunning numbers such as ‘Alabanza’ that is so emotionally and powerfully performed that it gives you goosebumps, while ‘Breathe’ has a gorgeous wistful quality about it and beautiful harmonies that really make an impact.
The quality that has gone into creating this album is never in doubt – opening number ‘In The Heights’ sets the scene perfectly with great energy and passion that is consistent on every track that is featured. Yes it is disappointing that songs such as ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Atención’ are missing but everything feels as though it flows nicely that you don’t really miss them in the context of the unfolding story.
Even if you haven’t seen the film, you really can’t help but feel uplifted from listening to In The Heights – it has great depth and variety musically that keeps you listening closely to every lyric that conveys every twist and turn in the story in a clear and concise way. In particular, songs such as ‘The Club’ and ‘Champagne’ are just two of many examples of this.
What is also clear by listening to this soundtrack is just how spot on the cast and the performances are. Anthony Ramos Jr has such a warmth to his vocals that makes him the ideal narrator, adapting his vocals depending on the style that the song requires. Elsewhere, Melissa Barrera’s vocals really shine in a delicate way with a hint of theatricality as you can hear on ‘It Won’t Be Long Now’ and ‘Champagne’ that makes her compelling to listen to. But the whole cast convey the sense of joy that this musical brings through their passion and clear dedication.
A stunning way to highlight just how powerful musicals can be, this In The Heights recording is one that I can happily listen to over and over again.
By Emma Clarendon
The In The Heights soundtrack is available to buy and download now.