5 Songs from Ryan Scott Oliver's 35 MM that are Phenomenal

After being released for digital download about a month ago, the cast recording for Ryan Scott Oliver's 35 MM was released yesterday. You guys...I downloaded the album about 8 minutes after it became available and it has been on loop every since. And rightly so...

I have so many feelings about this album...it achieves something fantastic and I only fall more in love with every additional listen. Each song has the lyrics and orchestrations of a short movie vignette inspired by a Matthew Murphy photograph. The collection of vocalists - Alex Brightman, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Lindsay Mendez, Betsy Wolfe and Ben Crawford - play a variety of characters and narratives. 

What Oliver does, that is but one of many homerun aspects, is that every song is great to listen to on its own, but these seemingly disparate story-songs have a cohesive thread in the tone and feel. It's uncanny...the songs run the gamut from beautiful and ethereal to dark and gritty, sometimes combining the elements on opposite ends of the spectrum wonderfully. In the end, 35MM is a fully-realized exhibition that manages to sound 'inspired' (if that makes any sense), passionate, dramatic, unique and alluring. And those are understatements at that...

I can't say enough good things...in a recording filled with knockout number after number, here are five numbers that make me have a music-gasm while making me reach for that repeat button.


This is plain effing hysterical and everybody knows it. It also happens to be one of the more "uplifting" songs on the album and a nice shot in the arm to prevent the entire recording from being...well, a little too depressing. That sort of thing doesn't bother me, but it is a valid observation. And this has got to be the most anti-babysitting song in the history of forever; my nuts hurt just thinking about it.

The Seraph

All the vocalists singing their faces off on the album are across-the-board fantastic, but Jay Armstrong Johnson may just be my favorite. This song is GOR-gous and oddly western-sounding, but that works somehow. I won't try to explain it and neither should you...just listen and enjoy the heartfelt.

Leave Luanne

Damn it, can't find a YouTube video - but for those of you who have heard the song, does this or does this not sound like a song Quentin Tarantino would (and should) adapt for a feature film? I tweeted a similar thought and even Ryan Scott Oliver himself agreed with me. Have I mentioned that Kill Bill Vol. 1 is my all-time favorite movie? However you break it, the lyrics are jaw-droppingly on-point and the orchestrations are a perfect accompaniment. Granted, that can be said for every 35 MM song, but that is particularly true here as it hits all the right notes.

Twisted Teeth

Remember how I said that 35MM has songs combining elements on opposite ends of the spectrum? Case in point. The orchestrations are pretty and subtle, but the lyrics go for something a little a lot more sullen in tone and subtext. Even the top comment from the video goes on to say that it is "creepy." It's damn well accurate, but that is stated like it is a bad thing. It isn't...I wouldn't have it any other way and my ears love the juxtaposition of pretty and weird.

The Ballad of Sara Berry

LOVE THIS - a dark, sometimes comedic take on a prom queen's downward spiral into full-on oblivion. That sounds awesome in theory and they exceed on the promise of the concept. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out Lindsay Mendez' job well done here - because we can always count on her for beautiful singing and some insane belting, but the girl also happens to be a great actress as she nails the 'narrator' role with poise and style. When she starts belting in the final verses of the song, it is so dramatically moving and cathartic, I just want to cry tears of intensity and amazement. As one does...and this is so the number one song that I want to sing in a group karaoke number. I call Jay's part! I just go around my room saying, "What a Bitch!" about 38 times a day now.

Photo Credit: 35mmthemusical.com
Video Credits: RyanScottOliver & NewMusicalTheatre on YouTube

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