I haven't seen "The Book of Mormon" yet, but you can hear the songs online, and people have already started discussing them on Main Street Plaza.
When the reviews of the musical first started appearing, I remember there was a lot of focus on whether they got the doctrinal details right (Is Kolob a planet or a star? Does God really live there? etc.). But it appears that what they really got right is unique character of Mormonism — what it’s like to be Mormon! (And, really, placing less importance on the precisions of doctrines like Kolob and more importance on Mormon practice and attitude is, itself, quite accurate.)
If you have an opinion on any or all of the songs, please vote in our poll and tell us about it. Here's my favorite (followed by what I wrote about it):
A lot of the songs had me going “Wow, fantastic! And so true!” But it was listening to “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” that made my whole youth and childhood pass before my eyes. Standing there, happy to supportively sing “my best friend…” while somebody Awesome! sings his heart out about serving God. And it didn’t hurt that the song kind of reminds me of ’80′s pop, and of “Humble Way” from God’s second-favorite musical:
This same missionary scenario — including the leader/subordinate relationship, and the fact that it’s cute that they’re not really humble about their awesome task — is exactly what the song “Humble Way” was about. “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” is what “Humble Way” wanted to be (if it had been totally brilliant).
I completely agree with Holly’s assessment that this would be perfect sung as a duet between a young LDS guy and his fiancee. I don’t think that’s reading anything into it that’s not there. Hierarchy colors so much about Mormon interpersonal relationships. And the (officially unequal) partnership between missionaries sets the model for marriage.
One point that is pure genius is the fact that their unequal relationship isn’t quite the central focus of the song. The leader’s earnest desire to do something great for mankind and God is as central (if not moreso). And the fact it’s tied in with his own ego is winked at.
You can see this symbolized in the Mormon temple endowment ceremony (which I haven’t been through, but I’ve heard about it). The fact that the wife covenants to obey her husband is OK because the husband is making a covenant with God. If you complain (or do anything other than stand beside him being supportive), then you’re the buzzing fly that’s detracting from a man and his important business between him and God!
I can’t imagine any song could more perfectly capture what Mormon patriarchy feels like.
And I can't wait to see the whole musical!!