The Music of Smash: Album Reviews

This week, NBC Records finally released The Music of Smash, the first compilation of songs (18 for those who purchase the CD at Target, 13 for those who purchase elsewhere) from its musical series Smash, and the album has received mixed reviews so far, with the original songs that Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote for the fictional show Bombshell fairing better than the covers of pop songs.

Heather Phares (All Music Guide): Smash made a name for itself with mostly original songs instead of borderline-kitschy versions of established hits. This was a brave move, but as The Music of Smash shows, it didn’t always pay off. Having the cast members perform songs about their lives outside of Bombshell … means double the opportunity for different kinds of songs. The results feel like a mishmash of Broadway and pop styles from over the decades. … Bombshell’s songs, which were written by Grammy and Tony Award-winning composer Marc Shaiman, are more memorable and allow the cast to have some fun and explore their own dreams as well as Marilyn’s. … Fans who purchase this won’t be disappointed, but The Music of Smash’s varied styles and song quality often feel like the show is trying to have something for everyone – but truly pleasing no one in the end.

Andy Propst (Theater Mania): The musically eclectic world of NBC’s Smash, along with the show’s inherent theatricality, transfers to disc with both ease and decided vitality. … It’s an album that’s sure to please fans of the show, and may turn some people, who’ve yet to become hooked on the series, into regular viewers. At the center of the recording are Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee. … Both performers are remarkably adept at offering up a wide array of pop music covers, as well as the songs that have been written for the series by Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. … The album also contains some fine performances by the show’s male performers. … Music theater fans will, most likely, want to make sure they get the version of the album that’s being carried exclusively at Target, which contains five bonus tracks.

Chris Willman (Reuters): There’s an old adage that goes “Leave ’em wanting more,” and … it’s been adopted for the Smash soundtrack album, which solves the problem of whether to fill the disc up with pop covers or musical-comedy originals by not offering enough of either. … For the first eight numbers on The Music of Smash, you get the Glee side of the series. … The final five slots are given over to the show-within-a-show tunes composed in an old-school style by celebrated Hairspray composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. … Fans may well argue that the soundtrack producers haven’t necessarily picked the five best “bombshell” tunes to throw in here. … Perhaps the CD’s brevity is just a sign of the send-them-to-iTunes-to-buy-singles-in-bulk times. But it’s more of a liability here.

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