Next to Normal

Photo Provided by Amazon

Photo Provided by Amazon

Macob Jarren, Staff Writer

“Next to Normal” is an extremely interesting musical for its amazingly, relatable story. The struggle with mental health and the unique sound of the music expresses many common feelings that modern day people feel on a day to day basis. “Next to Normal” focuses on the story of suburban mother, Diana Goodman, and her struggle of keeping up with her family, love life and a recent diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, a mental disorder cataegorized by switching between manic/happy and depressive/sad episodes. Something this musical achieves well, is its portrayal of mental health and what it feels like for someones mind to break down piece by piece. However, today we’re talking about the cast album.

The soundtrack of “Next to Normal” uses indie rock music to the highest standard. It has a one of a kind sound similar to “Hair” and “Spring Awakening” but it has an added rock flare. One of the best songs on the cast album is “Just Another Day” sung by Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Jennifer Damiano, and Aaron Tveit. This is the song that provides an introduction to the show as Diana is shown as being the usually strong support of the family. But helps show how she originally descended into madness. In this song the roles switch constantly as the daughter Natalie (Damiano) sings, then the father Dan (Spencer), and the son Gabe (Tveit).

Another amazing song is”Who’s Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist and I” sung by Alice Ripley,┬áJ. Robert Spencer, and Louis Hobson. This song portrays Diana (Ripley) and her Husband (Spencer), Dan going to visit Diana’s Doctor, Doctor Fine(Hobson). Doctor Fine is portrayed as apart of tango with Diana as they talk through her disorder and how her medicine is working. It is also fair to state, that in this song there is extreme chemistry between Diana and Her Doctor portraying a sort of twisted relationship because of the doctor giving her different medicines┬áto cure her disorder . This entire song feels like a quick and dramatic song to add to the tone of how mentally troubling this disorder is for Diana and her family . This song shifts in and out of minor and major scales as well as speeding and adding length of notes with the occasional shift to a ballad. The song ends with Diana saying how she doesn’t feel like herself and can’t fell anything. The doctor then says, “Patient Stable”

The entire tone of this musical feels so twisted in nature due to the complex ways the characters act. Next to Normal is great musical that achieves to help the audience gain perception in the topic of mental health. With great tone, story, characters and vocals, the musical supports why it has such praise and wide spread fame. I believe that you should definitely check this soundtrack out.