Today is Cheyenne Jackson‘s birthday, y’all! Woot woot! Obviously, that’s a great excuse to look at sexy pictures of him being sexy with his sexiness, so let’s do that. But let’s also celebrate how Cheyenne has ignored decades of tradition and released a really good pop song.
See… a lot of Broadway singers release pop material, and it’s almost always terrible. Most of the time, their records sound like musical theatre performances dressed in terrible pop disguises. The lyrics are too crisply articulated, the arrangements are too shiny and perfect, and the vocals are too pure. All that stuff is great for a musical—and I love musicals—but for a pop song, where energy and lust and messy abandon are always so important, this type of elegance almost never works.
Or put another way, it never sounds cool. So you get very talented people who are wonderful on stage singing corny crap like this or reducing sexy, dangerous songs to cruise ship foolishness like this. It’s embarrassing all around.
And it goes the other way, too. Being a great pop singer doesn’t mean you can invest a musical theater song with the nuance of a dramatic character. A lot of times, pop stars who get cast in musicals just holler or coo without really acting. Because you don’t need to act to sell a pop song, you know? Again… different worlds, different demands.
But—miracle of miracles—Cheyenne Jackson can do both! He’s been great in musicals like Xanadu and Finian’s Rainbow, but on his new single “Before You,” he sounds like a recording star. Instead of theatrical perfection, he sings with a slight, sexy slur, and he blends power notes with cool, jazzy flourishes. He sounds like a contemporary of Michael Buble or Train or maybe even Jason Mraz.
As a bonus, the song’s music video is really funny. It’s a riff on the storyline of The Munsters—a normal boy meets his girlfriend’s monster family—and that’s convenient, since Jackson just got cast in Mockingbird Lane, the upcoming Munsters reboot. But this isn’t a commercial for that show. It’s clever and well made, and it even co-stars Rachel Dratch!
Jackson’s also released a lovely electro ballad called “Drive” that could totally be on the soundtrack of your favorite indie film. Both of these songs are on his upcoming EP (also called Drive), and they’ve convinced me that, unlike most Broadway babies, Cheyenne Jackson has what it takes to be a legitimate pop star.
Previously: Cheyenne Jackson gets wet and shirtless
Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He thinks Cheyenne Jackson is just as cute as a button.