• Pop Vicious

Tension Surrounding Spidey’s Ascension

written by: on June 6, 2011

Redeeming Bono and The Edge’s image following their would-be catastrophe Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark shouldn’t be hard. After all, it’s their name that might potentially save the entire production.

Anyone who’s paid some attention to the news within the past year would know what a difficult time these producers have had in the process of bringing this musical to life. The show was stricken with debt, injuries, legal issues and personal drama. Not only that, but the reviews were ghastly. Turn Off The Dark was forced to postpone its actual opening date more than half a dozen times, soon paving the way for the show to become the butt of every recent pop culture joke.

After a month’s hiatus of previews, the producers promised a rebirth that would prove to be significantly greater than the original. They swapped directors and completely re-wrote the show, hoping to fix whatever technical and productive problems were hindering the production’s success.

In the midst of winter previews for Spider-Man, the show’s lead characters performed a closing song from the show on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Though Letterman had a difficult time pronouncing actress T.V. Carpio’s name in its introduction, the performance of “Rise Above” ran smoothly. This was one of two live performances before the show’s rebirth. The other was back in the fall when star Reeve Carney (of the band Carney, who now perform with the orchestra) performed the energetic and contemplative “Boy Falls from the Sky” on “Good Morning America.”

“Rise Above” was originally introduced as a three-person closing character piece, but after the show’s rewriting process, it seems to be positioned Peter Parker’s final solo jam. Slapped with a slightly tweaked title and some new mixing, it was ready for showcasing for America.

The song heard on “American Idol” near this season’s finale featured Bono and The Edge as performers next to Reeve Carney. Though it isn’t the version that happens in the show, it was still true to the production and played its part in promoting the show.

The single plays into radio trends as it explodes into the notably catchy chorus right from the start. Though it doesn’t give Reeve any chance to show character or even much vocal diversity, the implementation of Bono’s vocals and The Edge’s musicianship was a brilliant idea. Bono’s words bring it home.

“Rise Above 1” flew to the top position on iTunes the day after its debut on “Idol.”

The two songs are very similar in style but they vary in character and storyline. Both carry audible hints of U2, especially in the guitar melodies and hollow riffs. The slamming, jamming sound in the background follow every influence of Bono and The Edge that seemed possible.

“Boy Falls From The Sky” sounds especially like it was ripped off the band’s latest record. It’s essentially a U2 song that’s woven into the story of a timid photojournalist graced with a new set of powers. Reeve’s rock ‘n’ roll vocals play out like the spawn of U2 as the next generation of performers in history. When he attacks the final chorus in line with the rough cuts of the guitar, there’s a neat joining of raw emotion and electrical fantasy.

Bono and The Edge composing Spider-Man has been the saving grace of the show. Not only have they attracted viewers to the show but they’ve also connected Americans to the underlying message.

People know to trust U2 because in their history as a band, they’ve never done any wrong. U2 has been around for a while, and their success ensures that anything stamped with their name on it is sure to make it big.

And that’s not to say Turn Off The Dark is a complete disasterpiece. It’s actually hosted packed previews for several months, making millions thanks to its hefty price tags. Whether these numbers are a result of the work Bono and The Edge’s holy hands or the pesky nay-saying critics is unknown.

Not only that, the music we’ve heard so far is legitimately pleasing. Both sneak peeks have been great spectacles to the listening ear and the mind. The music backing the musical, or at least the little we’ve heard, has brought together innovative sounds, entrancing lyrics and familiar flavors for a whirlwind of emotion and creativity.

Fans can now pre-order the cast recording of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark on iTunes. Maybe the rest of the songs can prove that Bono and The Edge’s healing hands have the power to make Spidey both literally and figuratively rise above the mess it’s surrounded by.