Sunday, November 8, 2015

ALTAR BOYZ-Altar Boyz [2005 Original Off-Broadway Cast] (2005)


Altering the theme somewhat with this latest surprise treat! Still cranking out the boyband albums, but with there's a bit of a twist with this five-piece bunch that calls itself ALTAR BOYZ. As the word 'altar' implies, they are indeed a Christian boyband, but the twist is that they're a fictitious Christian boyband—one that appeared in a New York musical comedy by the same name. It had occurred to me the moment I started entertaining myself with this ALTAR BOYZ crew that, while I've listened to quite a lot of comedic boybands in my lifetime, I've only been exposed to a few religious ones, the most recent one being EVERCLEAN, the fictional Latter-Day Saints boyband whose music graced the waves of "The Music Spectrum" not too long ago. So funny (literally...and figuratively even!) that I should mention EVERLCEAN, because one could say that the lyrics voiced by these ALTAR BOYZ are indeed quite clean themselves. So what do you get, then, when you mix religion, music and comedy all together? A hilarious batch of Christian-themed songs that are pure 100% bubblegum fun—satisfaction guaranteed! 'We Are The Altar Boyz": I would say that this 80's pop-inspired selection is definitely the group's anthem, seeing how they push the tagline 'we're gonna alter your mind' on the main chorus, plus how each individual group member takes turn chiming in with a silly blurb to push that tagline even further. And from that point on, the 'BOYZ have pretty much 'altered' just about every religious theme you can fathom—replacing traditional prayer with communicating to God via cell phones, pagers, faxes and e-mails, for example, on "The Calling" (for a ballad, it sounds really good, actually); delivering their twisted version of the truth of church service regulations on "Church Rulez"; or turning traditional prayers into festive dance celebrations, as they do on the Latin-flavored "La Vida Eternal" when they recite the familiar children's prayer that goes 'now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep...' Sometimes, they simply take a humorous approach to delivering the real truth. "Rhythm In Me" (and this one is a great dance jam with a cool disco/80's pop rhythm going on!) shows the boys confessing that Our Creator is the one responsible for allowing them to be able to get up and move ('shake what he gave ya'—that line is priceless!). "Everybody Fits" (the dramatic theatrical style of this song totally has that Broadway musical feeling) is a reminder that we're all created equally in God's eyes and everyone can be in included in his great family.....even if you're pregnant or old or red and blue, as the guys point out. "The Miracle Song" is a rather quirky praise tune, acknowledging Our Creator about all of the historical miracles performed back in the Bible days, the senselessly light-hearted pop/rap being the quirky part. Other times, religion is take to a whole new level; they proclaim that they are gonna 'get the hell out of you' on "Number 918" another majestic, theatrical production with a lot of poppin' and rockin' and rollin' going on. "Body Mind & Soul" is one of the most entertaining selections, a virtual spoof on the ISLEY BROTHERS timeless classic, "Shout", which has been used in a lot of media in popular culture over the decades, including a remake for the Whoopi Goldberg movie, "Sister Act". They really threw me for a loop on "Something About You". The sweet, tender melody and their mellow voices make you think that this would be your usual romantic ballad, but it's the complete opposite. 'Girl, you make me wanna wait, at least until our wedding day': that line just about says it all for the theme of this song. Refraining from unclean thoughts and dirty practices, are they? Oh, and there's a surprise twist (yeah, there's a lot of those on this album!) with the lyrics at the very end. Appropriately wrapping up this album is a disco dance remix medley (represented by 'Bonus Track' in the track-listing) where they throw in one more popular children's saying: 'here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and there's all the people'. Well, I think it's pretty safe to say that, by the time you've made it through the doors with this ALTAR BOYZ crew, I'm sure they will have somehow 'altered' your way of thinking:

1. We Are The Altar Boyz
2. Rhythm In Me
3. Church Rulez
4. The Calling
5. The Miracle Song
6. Everybody Fits
7. Something About You
8. Body Mind & Soul
9. La Vida Eternal
10. Epiphany
11. Number 918
12. I Believe
13. Bonus Track

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