""What is this Rubbish?!", I thought to myself when I first listened to 'Aida'. I thought that Elton John's music was ordinary, and Tim Rice's lyrics were nothing special. I had heard Adam Pascal in 'Rent', and not being a big fan of 'Rent', I was not thrilled with his voice. I thought Sherie Rene Scott's voice was more like a screech, and, well I didn't mind Heather Headley's voice that much. That was my first listen, and after that I just put it away for a couple of months. After a few more listens I actually came to enjoy 'Aida' more and more, and now I just cannot stop listening to it. Based on the opera, by Verdi, 'Aida' follows the love-story of Nubian Princess, Aida (Heather Headley), and her nation's enemy, the Captain of the Egyptian Army, Radames (Adam Pascal). Yet, Radames is betrothed to Princess Amneris (Sherie Rene Scott), Pharaoh's daughter. Radames must chose love or power, and his choice of love leads to tragic circumstances. Husky, yet versatile in range, Pascal's voice grew on me, and I believe that he portrays Radames very well. Listeners are first introduced to Radames in the song, "Fortune Favours the Brave". This fast-paced rock song is sheer brilliance on the part of John and Rice. Pascal's voice fits into this type of song perfectly. But as I listened more I discovered that his voice fitted into most of the songs on this album. He develops his character from a follower of his father's commands, to a man who decides his own fate. Heather Headley's portrayal of the proud, majestic Aida is brilliant. Headley adds so many dimensions to her character; she is a lover, she is passionate and strong-willed, and she is loyal to her nation and her people. Headley has great range in her voice, especially in "Dance of the Robe", the gospel-like "The Gods Love Nubia", and the sombre "The Past is Another Land". She performs all of these songs with great passion and precision, and one can not help but admire her. "My Strongest Suit", what a song!!!! Sherie Rene Scott's performs this song with great enthusiasm, and I think she is just brilliant. She plays the part of the superficial Princess Amneris. Listeners observe great contrasts between the princesses; Aida being strong-willed, proud, and magestic, and Amneris being shallow and materialistic. Yet, listeners observe an inner-emotional dimension to Amneris when she sings the song "I Know The Truth", as she realises that Radames loves Aida and not her. Pascal, Headley and Scott all perform absolutely brilliantly, and I am sorry that I doubted them in my first listening of 'Aida'. However, the best songs in 'Aida' are when the three leads collaborate together. The duet between Pascal and Headley in "Enchantment Passing Through" creates an inspiring beauty, as with the lovely "Written in the Stars". But listeners are in for an even bigger treat when Pascal, Headley and Scott combine to sing the compelling songs of "Not Me", "Elaborate Lives", and "A Step Too Far". These songs are truly brilliant!!! I urge potential buyers of 'Aida' to listen to the album more than once if you don't like it the first time, because it contains some fantastic music; Elton John should be commended, as he has created a musical with period as well as contemporary music. All too often lyricists are forgotten, but Tim Rice's lyrics are just as good they have ever been, they can compare to some of his earlier musicals, such as 'Evita' or even 'Chess'. 'Aida' is truly an album to purchase if not for the score, for the incredible vocal talents of Pascal, Headley and Scott. Buy this and be enchanted!"
I REALLY LIKE THIS!
RJStuart | 06/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the "All-Star" Album, I was a bit nervous about the real recording. But it turned out to be one of the best Broadway albums I have ever heard.Now, I'm not one of those Elton John freaks who will tell you to buy anything he makes. I don't even own an Elton album. But the fact remains that this is a wonderful album.The album starts with the slow ballad "Every Story is a Love Story" that blends ingeniously into the pop-rock song "Fortune Favors the Brave." Other note-worthy songs: "How I Know You," "Elaborate Lives," "A Step Too Far," "Written in the Stars."The vocal talent on the CD is excellent. Heather Headley is wonderful as Aida (she deserves the Tony...and I'm just going off the album!) Adam Pascal (of Rent fame) is good as Radames, but seems to have some trouble with the slower songs; his voice is better suited to the faster rock and roll songs. At times he also sounds scarily like Elton John. Sherie Rene Scott is also good as Amneris.I know some of you are going to scoff, thinking John&Rice will never compare to Sondheim. And this is true. But the album is good enough that I would recommend it to you. Elton John and Tim Rice fans should pick it up without a doubt, but for the rest of you, I would say it's worth a look."
Eric L. Magnus | Olathe, KS USA | 12/23/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I guess it's a great show to watch on stage...but bland to listen to on CD."
Amazing and Heartfelt Performances led by Headley
Robert Lopez | California | 06/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't get to see the Original Broadway Cast with Tony Award Winner Heather Headley, but I was fortunate enough to experience the first National Tour with Simone, Patrick Cassidy and Kelly Fornier. That night I was blown away by the touching story, haunting tunes and brilliant performances, mainly Simone's Tour-de-force "Easy As A Life."The Original Broadway Cast Recording, recreates all the passion and heartfelt longing that the live show created. The show's opening number cleverly starts off in an Egyptian Museum in the present time, where tourists are viewing the Ancient Ruins. A man and a woman are mysteiously drawn to the tomb of Aida and Radames, and to each other. The Egyptian Mannaquin comes to life and begins to tell the tale of the Wars between Egypt and Nubia and we are instantly taken back in time. "Every Story is a Love Story" starts off dark and mysterious, then with a wicked force and rock tempo we are catipulted back in time and greeted with "Fortune Favors the Brave." This is one of my favorite beginnings in a musical theatre production. Very clever, very catchy, and it's driving beat commands you to listen.Enter Heather Headley. Her performance is raw, powerful, proud and enganing. "The Past Is Now Another Land" is a simple yet stirring song of the Princesses vision of her beloved land. Headley's natural accent lends a special added touch to the authenticity of creating the character of the Nubian Princess, it's as if she was born to play the role, and the Tony voters seemed to agree. Headley shines in "Gods Love Nubia" the princesses ode to her country, "Easy As A Life" her painful decision to deny Radames' love, and "A Step Too Far" the gorgeous trio sung by the tragic lovers. Heather's 30 second tour-de-force ending to "Dance of the Robes" will have you leaping out of your chair and cheering for her sheer brilliance, power, and belting intensity..."I know expectations are wild,
and almost beyond my fulfillment
but they won't hear A word of a doubt
or see signs of weakness
My nigh on impossible duty is clear
But if I can rekindle my ancestors' dreams
It's enough It's enough It's eeEEENOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUGHH!!!!!"What note is that anyways??The major problems with this album are songs for Zoser. They are dry, unamiginative and rather pointless, and always skipped when I listen to them. I seemed to have the same feeling when I saw the show. The show seemed to stop and drag whenever Zoser sang his songs. Although both the cd and the National Tour Zoser did a fine job, the songs alone are quite forgettable. These two songs do not drag down the rest of the show. Such memorable ballads as "Written in the Stars" "Elaborate Lives" "A Step Too Far" "Not Me" "Gods Love Nubia" and "Dance of the Robes" shine effortlesly. Helping these songs come to life Adam Pascal, RENT's Original Roger, and Sherie Rene Scott, of The Last Five Years. Both performers support and even level with Headley's powerhouse vocals and performance. Although Pascal's voice is a little raw for the role it does seem to suit a young soldier on the brink of greatness, while underscoring his love and affection for the Nubian Princess. Scott's witty and diva-esque "My Strongest Suit" is a rockin-riot in the style of 1970's rock and roll. Although the song is a hilight with the fashion show it's a real crowd pleaser, it could be removed from the show because it does not push forth the story, I guess it's a real "show-stopper."Tim Rice's lyrics are very creative and heartfelt, yet at the same time we have cheesy and very uncreative lyrics. "The Past Is Now Another Land" "Every Story is A Love Story" "Easy As A Life" "Gods Love Nubia" and "Dance of the Robes" are all amazing songs with ingenious, stirring and heartbreaking lyrics. Every now and then we get some lyrics that are less than effective, and just for rhyming sake, but the good outweigh the bad by a long shot. Aida continues to wow audiences four years later, and it's not surprising that this show is staying afloat. No, Aida isn't the best musical ever written. No, it doesn't come close to the greats like Les Miz, or Saigon, but it does have a hearfelt score, and a passionate story that should continue to affect theatre goers for years to come."
A performer's playground
Donald | Ohio | 06/14/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This score is a lesson in mediocraty. The lyrics are uneven and unrepresentative of Rice's usually good work. The score, mainly Gospel and Pop-Rock, fails to take advantage of the musical moments the story lends. There are two cultures in this show, the Egyptians and the Nubians. The music should have reflected the differences of the two cultures, and what happens when the cultures meet via the two young lovers. The score makes no such attempts. Each song in the score sounds like a totally seperate track, not part pf a larger work. (This is not a good thing). The songs are generally enjoyable, if formulaic. Fortuantly, most of the songs allow the immensly talanted cast to shine. Headly shows off her wonderful voice in every song she sings. "My Strongest Suit," one of my personal favorites from the show, lets Scott release the diva inside. Pacale sings his songs well, though he is most effective in "Fortune Favors the Brave," possibly because that song is very RENT-esque. These three performers are talented enough to carry the album and make it enjoyable. Buy it for them, not for the score."