September 23, 2002 12:00 PM

Original Broadway Cast Recording (Sony Classical)

Broadway doesn’t generate hit songs these days, alas, but even if it did, would any of the songs from this crowd-pleasing new Broadway musical (based on John Waters’s 1988 movie) make it on the radio? With songs written by composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman, this soundtrack is all showstoppers and no show. Nearly every track is a big, bombastic number, and though many songs are a lot of fun and the production brims with restless energy, the pacing seems forced. The singing is spotty, except for the powerful, gospel-R&B voice of Mary Bond Davis on “I Know Where I’ve Been.” The mix needs more moments of quiet romance like “Without Love”: “Without love, life is like a beat that you can’t follow/ Without love, life is Doris Day at the Apollo.”

Bottom line: Rent the movie instead

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