Alanis Morissette announced earlier this year that she’s working on a musical for her chart topping album Jagged Little Pill, which is set to hit the stage sometime in 2018. The Canadian rocker isn’t the only artist whose album has made it to the musical stage — Green Day’s American Idiot was adapted in 2009, and Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell has just been turned into a musical. Rock musicals and operas are quite popular on the musical stage, and I can’t help but wonder which albums should make the transition.
Here is our list of ten indie albums that would make great musicals.
Set Yourself on Fire — Stars
Set Yourself On Fire is an album that takes you on a journey from its first track right down to “Calendar Girl,” which, I might add, would make an excellent closing song to a bittersweet musical. The album’s first track, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” was actually used in a dance routine on the show So You Think You Can Dance, which makes it a little easier to imagine the whole album being played out in musical choreography. It also helps that Stars’ Torquil Campbell has a deep background in theatre — odds are he’d be able to bring this musical to life.
The Suburbs — Arcade Fire
The Suburbs was inspired by Win and Will Butler’s upbringing in the suburbs in Houston, and that is exactly what this musical would be about. Each song in this album is story driven, which makes it easily translatable to the musical stage.
Blue Album — Weezer
A Weezer rock opera makes perfect sense. For starters, Rivers Cuomo has a deep love for musical theatre. Cuomo was involved in musicals in high school, including a production of Grease, and he has also recorded his own rendition of “Tonight” from West Side Story. Que the Blue Album — the whole fricken record screams for a stage adaptation, and I have a feeling Cuomo would be all for it.
The Reminder — Feist
I can see it already: a sobering opening montage to “So Sorry,” monologue-style with a small pit orchestra and choir. The musical picks up with a choreographed dance to “I Feel It All” and we’re ago.
A Man Alive — Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
A Man Alive was inspired by Thao’s relationship with her father, who abandoned her family when she was around 12 years old. The album reflects Thao’s anger and grief associated with her estranged father, as well as her journey to forgive. It’s a highly emotional and raw album that tells a painful story of loss and moving on, the kind of story that could be great when brought to the stage.
Transatlanticism — Death Cab for Cutie
This album is so perfect for a musical that I’m surprised it hasn’t been made yet. Transatlanticism tells the story of long-distance love, making it easily translatable to a musical stage. And let’s face it — “The New Year” would be the perfect opening song for said musical.
Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance — Belle and Sebastian
Call me crazy, or just obsessed with 80s dance films, but I think a Belle and Sebastian musical would be like a modern day Flashdance. Go ahead and watch the music video for “The Party Line” and say to yourself out loud that that song wouldn’t make a good musical number.
Songs for the Deaf — Queens of the Stone Age
Yes. Yes. Yes. Songs for the Deaf was born to be on the big stage. This album would make for an epic rock opera about rock ‘n roll tropes and stereotypes. The album itself is about taking a drive through the U.S and tuning into different radio stations along the way. It’s full of mini skits between tracks and tongue-in-cheek nods to rock n roll legends, which would make for a very entertaining and humbly chaotic musical production.
Pure Heroine — Lorde
There are a ton of possibilities for a Pure Heroine musical. In retrospect, a Pure Heroine musical could tell the story about how a 16-year-old artist took the music industry by storm, while the album itself reflects youth experiences and a pop culture driven world.
Ceremonials — Florence + the Machine
Ceremonials is an album that would make for a powerful stage performance. It’s the kind of album in which a musical production of it would no doubt call for a full orchestra and background choir to make the show as loud and epic as possible. Combine this with a set that is as colourful and fairy-like as Florence and the Machine’s performances, and you’ve got a musical that is bound to leave its audience stunned when the curtains come to a close.
Honourable Mentions: My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade, Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy, The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine, The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
What album would you like to see become a musical? Tell us in the comments below.