Why (Alan Cumming cover)

I woke up the other day with thoughts about Cabaret. I’ve always played around with an idea of doing a modernist adaptation of the play using the exact same play but setting it in modern times with the new symbols of fascistic/fundamental iconography to replace the Nazi rise depicted in the play. In this version, Sally Bowles would be played by a man, as Sally Bowles. I don’t know if the idea is best suited with Sally Bowles as a transgender woman or a man in drag.

Of course, in this fantasy, I could sing and dance and act and I would be playing Sally Bowles, and only because I want to have a chance to sing Maybe This Time. To balance it out, the emcee would be a portrayed by a woman. The idea was to present this story in modern times because the rise in fascistic/authoritarian regimes are returning and we needed to be reminded of what we are not noticing around us. Something like that.

It’s a fantasy. Leave me alone. I love Maybe This Time and I’ve actually committed the song to memory.

So I found myself on Spotify right after playing around with that thought for a millionth time and found Alan Cumming’s artist profile. I also found this song, which he recorded in a live album Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. I bought it off of iTunes immediately.

I really, really love this song. My sister used to sing in when she was in a show band 20 years ago. In various parts of my life, I’ve locked myself up in my room singing this song and dedicating it to my most recent heartbreak.

When I used to sing this song, I would always end up singing falsetto just to attempt to reach Annie Lennox’s range but listening to this version — and all the other songs from Alan Cumming’s albums (I also got I Bought a Blue Car Today) — I realized I didn’t have to try and belt and just sing in my register comfortably. Falsetto or belting isn’t emotional intensity. You can act it. You just have to feel it. It taught me a new way of singing just by listening to his version.

I love it. I love both albums and I’ve been listening to them constantly since yesterday.

There’s a song on I Bought a Blue Car Today called Don’t Tell Me which I also fell in love with. I’m listening to that a lot as well. And there’s a gorgeous version of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb, a song which I’ve always loved and he does it and it showed me that I don’t have to hit high notes to capture the emotional strength of the song. The Climb is one of my HIV songs. I wrote about it in a past blog entry five years ago. To have this version that shows me how to sing this song now without failing miserably at singing in a higher pitch/register is just a blessing.

I love these two albums of Alan Cumming. Grab a copy. Let him know we love it so that he records more albums. Please. It’s wonderful music.

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