In The Heights (2021)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

I don’t think Lin Manuel Miranda can do anything wrong! This film is such a beautiful adaptation of the Broadway musical. The songs are infectious and complex; the cinematography is colorful and vibrant; and the plot is as heartwarming as it is realistic. This was Miranda’s first award winning Broadway show, and it catapulted him into the mainstream. It’s so well cast and so well written. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a musical and/or Lin Manuel Miranda fan.

Located in Blu Rays (BLU RAY IN THE HEIGHTS)

Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ll admit I always enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, so when I heard she was starting to remake her old albums, and add new songs to them, I was very curious. When I originally heard her album “Red” many years ago, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. But after listening to it many times, it really grew on me, so I was excited to listen to Red (Taylor’s Version).

I loved this new version of Red, and while all the additional songs are great, my favorite was the 10 minute version of “All Too Well.” “All Too Well” is probably my favorite song of hers, so when I heard the fabled 10 minute version would be released, I was very excited. It did not disappoint and I will admit I’ve listened to it many times already (I’m currently listening to it while writing this review!) So if you are a fan of Taylor’s music, I would suggest listening to her version of “Red”.

Available through the Bridges Library System

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power by Halsey

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Although not my usual genre of music, I thoroughly enjoyed pop rock staple Halsey’s new effort. Their voice is soaring, their lyrics haunting and the production from geniuses Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is a standout. Though songs like “Darling” are plaintive and haunting, the standout is synth-pop anthem “I am not a woman, I’m a god.” Though this is my first listen to their work, it won’t be my last.

Located in Adult CDs (CD POP/ROCK HALSEY)

What You See is What You Get by Luke Combs

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Lawn care and spring cleaning are upon us and music helps keep the energy and motivation flowing. When ‘refrigerator door’ came up in a Spotify shuffle I knew I needed the whole album. Lines such as ‘Cause they’re just pictures hangin’ side by side Forgotten memories from another time, played it rang a bell as did the reminders from ‘Dear Today’ to take a time out and check on those you love. If you are in the mood for a mix of sentimental thinking songs, dancing songs, and songs you can’t help belting out right along with Combs in the most pop country of ways, give this CD the aux cord.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Waitress: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Years ago, while going through a break-up, a friend saw my sadness and handed me the 2007 movie Waitress (starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion), an unexpected romantic comedy about nurturing the spark of life inside you, especially when it seems the world has snuffed it out. It never became one of my favorite movies, but it made a distinct impression on me and I would think about it often.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I learned that Sara Bareilles, a singer/songwriter I admire, had composed the soundtrack for a Broadway musical based on this overlooked cult classic. I was unsurprisingly intrigued and sought it out. Within the first few lines, I knew this music was going to be something special, and by the end of the album it had become my new favorite musical. The songs grabbed onto those emotional threads that had stayed with me after watching the movie and tied them tightly to my heart with rich lyrics and melodies.

The songs range from hilarious to heartfelt, with phenomenal performances by the Broadway cast. Uplifting, strong, and honest without becoming sickly sweet (despite all those songs about pie!), this album will pick you up when you’re down. I also highly recommend the album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress, where Sara Bareilles herself performs many of the songs with less of that Broadway theatricality and more of her intimate piano and vocal style.

Located in Soundtracks (CD SDTK WAITRESS #1)

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

This film follows the complex romance between Leonard Cohen and his muse, Marianne Ihlen from their first meeting in the sun drenched Greek island of Hydra to Marianne’s death just months before Cohen’s in 2016. Personal photographs and home videos as well as intimate interviews with the pair’s inner circle are enhanced by the brilliant direction of famed documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield. Broomfield himself being intimately connected to the couple adds to the films poignancy. For any music lover, or 1960s bohemian fan, this film is a must see.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Beetlejuice: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

Classic flicks of the 80’s have been getting musical reboots in the last few years, and I’m on board. Beetlejuice: the Musical is full of newly written rock-y ballads, appropriately creepy lyrics, and irreverent humor, as well as the classics from the film like “Shake, Senora” and “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”. Sophia Anne Caruso, as Lydia, belts out the track “Dead Mom” with enough angst, pain, and authenticity that makes the song stand out from the crowd. Actress Kerry Butler’s Barbara Maitland is an equal delight with her melodic and sweet voice, making it the perfect accompaniment to Caruso’s grittier sound. Overall, the soundtrack is a great listen, however, as the lyrics remind you, “this is a show about death.” If that’s something you’re sensitive to, this would not be a musical for you.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Moulin Rouge! The Musical (2019)

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’ve always enjoyed the music from Moulin Rouge, so when I heard a Broadway musical was being made based on the movie, I was excited to hear what it would sound like. Finally, the soundtrack for the Broadway musical came out and I got to take a listen, and I was pleasantly surprised.

This musical is what is considered a “jukebox” musical, where the creators took a bunch of snippets of popular songs and combined them to tell the story. While some people might not enjoy this, I found it fascinating and entertaining. And no worries, the favorites from the movie are still there, including “Your Song” and “Come What May.” This musical contains songs from all the popular musicians of today, from Beyoncé to Katy Perry, and many more! I enjoyed this soundtrack and would definitely recommend it!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Center Point Road by Thomas Rhett

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

I’m not a big country music fan, but my sister recently got married and her first dance was to Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man.” After watching their dance, I decided to check out his new album, Center Point Road and I’m so glad I did.

I think one of the reasons I loved his album so much was because of the stories told through his lyrics. I follow him on Instagram, and his family is adorable and through some of his songs, you can tell how much he loves his family. “Dream You Never Had” is a thank-you to his wife for going on the journey of being a country star even though it isn’t her dream. This album has songs for any mood you are in. If you need a fun party song, there is “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” featuring Little Big Town, and “VHS” which stands for Very Hot Summer. If you need something emotional there is “Remember You Young” and “Blessed.” I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite song, because I enjoy them all, but two standouts for me are “Center Point Road” and “Almost.” But really, I enjoyed the entire album, and I have listened to it multiple times which is shocking for me, since I normally don’t like country music. I guess this goes to show that it is good to try new and different things, because who knows, you might find something wonderful!


Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the Disco

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

I love this album! The songs are incredibly well written and the use of jazz elements like the saxophone make this the perfect dance while cleaning the house album. Brendon Urie began writing the album while starring in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, and the songs show it. The tracks abound with theatrical creativity and sass. As a band that’s got nearly 15 years in the business, they are still turning out amazingly fresh music. This one is a definite recommend for those who like to rock out and dance like no one’s watching.

Located in CDs (CD POP/ROCK PANIC)