The music. The glorious music by Stephen Trask. And I’ve decided to butcher it in front of you lovely internet people. Please don’t hate me. I was trying to raise my spirits after an awful evening.
Tear Me Down
Unlike show tunes, the music works on two levels. Each song furthers the story by giving us additional insight into Hedwig's character and backstory. As an added bonus, each ditty stands on its own and very few of them require knowledge of Hedwig to enjoy their own status as great songs. Wicked Little Town and Origin of Love (not my versions) could have been runaway pop hits, if given enough radio play. Wig in a Box, which I have not butchered here, is the most "Broadway" of the set, and I've been known to sing the refrain over and over again when I’m feeling down.
Wicked Little Town
It doesn’t matter how many times I hear Origin of Love, I’m still blown away by the poetic and touching lyrics. The sequence in the film, which mixes Hedwig’s performance and animation, can stand on its own as a great music video.
The Origin of Love
I have to confess that I haven’t put any bras in the dryer since seeing Hedwig. And I’m still looking for this pink plaid beret. Years ago, the search was an obsession.
The bravura performance from John Cameron Mitchell as the rock singer who is just trying to forge an identity is at times caustic, at others very funny. Mitchell's Hedwig is the very definition of a person hiding their fear and confusion under a mask. I can relate and maybe that’s why I love this movie so much. There are other points where Hedwig is nothing but brutally frank—so searing and truthful in her emotion that we have no choice but to sympathize with her. Even though she has experienced things few people have, there’s some part of this paragon of sexual ambiguity that’s doggedly omnipresent. Hedwig’s search for completeness in her life is one that we all experience, and Mitchell brings out that universality with astonishing clarity and powerful emotion.
The Angry Inch