“The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Soundtrack” (No. 63)

Rocky Horror Picture Show album coverIt’s probably been at least ten years since I was moved to stay up until midnight to catch a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I still reach for the soundtrack on a regular basis.

Oddly enough, I won’t watch the movie at home. I firmly believe that the only way to experience The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie is in a theater with a very boisterous crowd, a few rolls of toilet paper, a squirt gun, some rice, and (optionally) toast. If you’re not shouting at the screen, by goodness, why even bother going?

But I do love the songs, and even though I’ve seen RHPS more than 80 times, I need to be able to get my “Sweet Transvestite” fix more often than I’m willing or able to see midnight showings.

Much, even most, of my fondness for this album is wrapped up in nostalgia and fondness for the movie. While I’m listening to “Dammit, Janet” I can access my teenage self for a little while. Attending RHPS was good, bawdy, fun.

The cool kids didn’t spend their Friday or Saturday nights seeing RHPS, at least not regularly. It was the outcasts, the nerds, the punks, goths, and (in my case) theater club kids that generally jammed the aisles doing the Time Warp and dressing up as their favorite character.

Even today, I can remember a lot of the standard lines used in St. Louis during the movie. As I understand it, audience participation can have some regional flavor, and I’m pretty sure that nobody yells out “it’s the U-City Police force!” when it’s played in Ohio. If it is, of course. Pretty sure Brad is an asshole everywhere, though.

But I love lots of movies, that doesn’t compel me to listen to their soundtracks regularly. What brings me back time and again to this one is the fact that it has a lot of damn good songs. Richard O’Brien managed to subvert a lot of musical tropes with RHPS, but it remains every bit as catchy and compelling as more standard and well-beloved musicals. I’ll put “Over at the Frankenstein Place” or “Rose Tint My World” up against “I Feel Pretty” and “Jet Song” any day.

If you’re one of the unlucky few who has never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I suggest you look for a midnight showing and remedy that as soon as possible. Then get yourself a copy of this soundtrack to relive it.

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