Samson and Delilah
Music and Lyrics By: Ron Yatter
Distributed By: Broadway Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Just about everyone is familiar with the tale of Samson and Delilah, but for those who don't remember, Samson was an amazing warrior whose strength, bestowed to him by God, came from his long, flowing hair. Delilah was a temptress sent to destroy Samson. She was able to seduce the warrior and, while he was sleeping, cut his hair, thereby taking his strength from him. In February 2014, Broadway Records released a concept album based on the tale entitled Samson and Delilah.
Starring former American Idol contestants and newlywed couple Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo in the title roles, this album is a new take on an old tale. In this concept album, Samson appears to the world as a conceited warrior, whose ego is bloated thanks to all of his successful campaigns against his people's enemies. Delilah is a young Philistine angered by Samson's deeds against her people.
But after the two meet, a spark is struck and the two fall in love. Samson reveals that, although he appears to be a mighty warrior, he is in fact a lonely young man, hard put to maintain the burden of being his people's protector thrust upon him by God. He is so in love with Delilah that he even reveals the secret to his power - according to God, he must never cut his hair.
Samson makes a vow to Delilah to stop his warring ways, but he betrays his vow when he finds that the death of his brother at the hands of his enemies is too much to bear. Delilah, angered by this breach of trust, decides to have her own brand of revenge and the rest is history...or is it?
The Samson and Delilah concept album makes for a nice tale of love, sacrifice, revenge and reunion, but is it actually a retelling of the biblical tale. The answer is no. This is not the story you have read in the bible, but a more fanciful retelling, playing upon the audience's romantic nature and wish for a happy ending. As I remember it, there is no happy ending to the story of betrayal that is the biblical telling of Samson and Delilah, but this concept album has one.
That isn't to say that the album isn't enjoyable. Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo are excellent singers and there are strong performances by both on this album. Their voices blend together well and they make a formidable singing couple. The songs are of the rock/pop variety with catchy lyrics. One can picture some pretty dramatic rock dance performances behind these songs.
If it weren't for the biblical references, Samson and Delilah would be a romantic musical with tragedy that eventually makes its way to a happy ending. Unfortunately, knowing the biblical story gives me pause. It's one thing to create a new story loosely based on some fictional tale that has been written and rewritten over the years, but to take something that has been told and retold in the same way for centuries as a tragedy and make it a story about a romance that goes wrong but eventually rights itself is problematic for me. I can't say that Samson and Delilah wouldn't make for a decent musical, but the story is all wrong and I can't help but be bothered by that.
So, if you are looking for a rocking romantic musical, Samson and Delilah is definitely right up your alley. But if you are looking for something that accurately portrays the biblical tale you grew up with, you may find this concept album a bit frustrating and want to skip it altogether.