The idea of taking Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City and turning it into a musical is a cool, if odd, idea. Why not update the tired form (the musical) with a portrait of Generation X's dissipated lifestyles? This is exactly what Paul Scott Goodman's music and lyrics do, diving headfirst into a hedonistic world of coke, meaningless sex, and all-night parties. For those who found the musical version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels a bit old fashioned, Bright Lights, Big Cities should prove titillating. In the title track, Jamie and the Coke Girl admit that they "love drugs," while "Oden"'s lyric joylessly shouts, "I want to have sex tonight!" These songs tell the debauched tale of a week in the life of Jamie (Patrick Wilson), from his boring office job at Gotham Magazine ("Fact and Fiction") to his attempts to build meaningful relationships with the opposite sex ("To Model"). The music itself reminds one a bit of the Hair-Jesus Christ Superstar school of musicals, with acoustic guitars and ballads like "Perfect Feeling" set against more bombastic numbers like "I Hate the French." The singers -- Wilson, Eden Espinosa, Sharon Leal, and others -- do a fine job with the material, filling Goodman's lyrics with lots of energy. While the Gershwins may roll over in their graves, anyone who came of age in the '80s or later will enjoy Bright Lights, Big City's updating of the musical.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.