NPR’s First Listen: Cast Recording, ‘The Book Of Mormon’

I’ve only had the time to hear the first song, “Hello,” which has been streaming online for a few weeks now. Yesterday NPR put a full cast recording up on their site with a warning:

Advisory: Language on this recording may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Interested in your reactions to the songs.



11 Replies to “NPR’s First Listen: Cast Recording, ‘The Book Of Mormon’”

  1. Sort of what I expected. Really crass. But funny nevertheless.

    Basically the message of the play seems to be “Mormonism (along with all theism) is a placebo. But it is a placebo that works so it ain’t bad.”

    I might post something on that.

  2. I was a lot more revolted than I thought I’d be. It lost me at the first African song, and while “I believe” and “Tomorrow is a latter-day” were catchy tunes, I was surprised at how disappointed I was at the idea that Elder Cunningham just invented his own religion and so it wasn’t the Mormon faith anymore at the end.

    The first three songs though…best roadshow ever. I could almost imagine someone heavily editing the whole thing for Education Week.

  3. Coincidentally, I just finished a post about this score on my blog. I guess if you’re really interested, you can read my thoughts there.

  4. I liked “Hello,” and also “I Believe,” although I quibble about bits of it just for the sake of quibbling. Some of the other tracks are quite remarkably offensive, though. Overall I was a bit disappointed, I hoped for some better catchier tunes. And the language etc. was somehow a bit worse than I expected.

  5. I like the music. I don’t like the language, and dislike the stereotypes of the Ugandan people more than I dislike stereotypes of the LDS. The blasphemous language grates on me. But when I listen at a “deeper” level, when I listen from the perspective of a person deeply skeptical of religion or organizaed religion of any kind (and deeply skeptical of religious narratives and theology), I see a certain beauty. For individuals with that world view, and there are many people I know who see religion that way, I think the music (and perhaps the play itself) may touch feelings and lives in a way that LDS produced work would not. Though satirical and blasphemous, it asks important questions and in an odd way is open to the possibility of even spiritual answers.

  6. I was surprised at how disappointed I was at the idea that Elder Cunningham just invented his own religion and so it wasn’t the Mormon faith anymore at the end.

    I didn’t know that. Interesting that few reviews mention that. (At least I’ve never seen one – and I’ve read many of them) I could understand a spoiler warning but many reviews do suggest it’s Mormonism at the end.

  7. I’m nor sure nonmembers would interpret it the same as I did, but the final song goes to it being prophet Cunningham and his sacred addition to the book of Mormon that is being preached, as well as frog raping being the secret American cure for aids. I guess the average nonmormon can’t tell that is a different religion.

  8. Oh Kramer, that’s frightening. It reminds me of what I heard on Clik and Clak the other day:

    “Clik: So you put sand in your gas tank instead of gas eh?
    Caller: Yes…
    Clak: That’s dumber than Mormons
    Clik and Clak: Ha Ha Ha Ha
    Clik: Seriously, the only thing you can do for that is remove the gas tank, take the fuel soak sand, pore it on a mormon and set it on fire!”*

    Oh the Humanity!

    *-Not intended to be a factual statement

  9. The vulgarity of the thing is pretty cringe-worthy but at the same time, I agree that 3 or 4 of the clean songs could easily be adapted for roadshow/Young Ambassador use. Contra those who think that a little bit of cow dung in the cake ruins the whole thing is an insightful metaphor for lived experience, the overall sweetness of the missionary characters is undeniably there.

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