There may be those who feel that High School Musical and Glee provide a somewhat sanitized view of 21st century high school. The musical High School Sucks was designed for them. As heard on this "Original Cast Performance" album, High School Sucks adds back in all the things the TV shows largely leave out: drugs, sex, and ethnic and racial conflict, largely expressed in rap and hip-hop music using explicit language. Somewhere in the middle, however, is a traditional love story between Ricky (Eric Ochoa) and Daisy (Gabriela Banuelos), touchingly rendered in their duet songs "I Wonder" and "Can't Believe It." But the romance is played out against the gang conflict between the Cholos and the Triangle. Sentimentally, all is resolved in the end, as the students even reflect on their secondary education with a measure of regard. "It's high school, and it sucks," they conclude, "but you learn so much." Thus, this musical is in some ways not so different from the more clean-scrubbed versions that play on TV.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann