Hedwig And The Angry Inch – John Cameron Mitchell (2001); Track-by-Track review

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Before directing Our Nic in Rabbit Hole and being Hannah’s publisher in Girls, John Cameron Mitchell was…

Hedwig

Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Harry’s owl Hedwig and a German passport stamp.

(song titles in caps)

TEAR ME DOWN is a Tommyesque opener that sets up the story of East German boy (?) Hedwig and provides accurate Berlin Wall history.

Egyptian mythology, identity crises and unrequited love conflate in an epic crescendo to divulge THE ORIGIN OF LOVE. #20 song of the 2000s.

RANDOM NUMBER GENERATION is a self-referential spiriting of Iggy and the Stooges and recalls Mr Pop’s Berlin phase.

Blue grass, saccharine and Helmut Kohl (remember him?) all figure in Hedwig’s ode to absent father figures, SUGAR DADDY. Great singalong.

Long story short, ANGRY INCH, the track that explains the title, has the best first line of any musical number, except maybe Memory.

Quiet desperation seeps out of Hedwig’s trailer and her only escape is vermouth,LaVern Baker and the blonde locks of her WIG IN A BOX.

Before singing the maudlin accusation of Mid-West narrowmindedness, WICKED LITTLE TOWN, Michael Pitt played Henry Parker in Dawson’s Creek.

Having had her songs stolen by the ante-Bieber Tommy Gnosis, the betrayal of Hedwig is laid bare in the toe-tapper THE LONG GRIFT.

(For those wondering, Hedwig is about a trans East German whose songs are stolen by a teed idol after being dumped by her US GI boyfriend.)

Drums clammer and guitars clang and EXQUISITE CORPSE is more noise than music as Hedwig’s inner turmoil overcomes her. She’s all sewn up.

Great musicals have reprises and Hedwig is no different. WICKED LITTLE TOWN is back harder and with more hatred. Follow her voice to safety.

‘Patti, Tina, Aretha, Yoko and me’ – Hedwig’s Marr-jangled delusions of vocal grandeur place her among the greats on the MIDNIGHT RADIO.

We close on IN YOUR ARMS TONIGHT: in the dreamscape of Hedwig’s mind, s/he has found solace. It is not just Hedwig’s journey from East Berlin to Kansas to acceptance. It is the journey inside all of us.

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