The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure Music Poster Image
Racy cult film music still delights free thinkers.

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Kids say

age 8+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

For a couple of generations now, the Rocky Horror Picture Show has attracted outsider kids. The film's gender-bending sexual point of view has made a unique space for questioning teens and young adults, as well as those who just like a fun rock 'n' roll musical. The 25th anniversary soundtrack to Rocky Horror is full of the same humor-laden sexual openness that pervades the movie.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Composer Richard O'Brien's lyrics are sung by characters that are probably too wild and two-dimensional to be any kind of role models, but some listeners may find liberating Tim Curry's Dr. Frank-N-Furter and the ways Brad and Janet open themselves to new experiences.

Violence

Whereas the still-popular Rocky Horror film includes a few violent, shocking visuals, the song lyrics are generally tamer. In "Eddie," a character "threatened your life with a switchblade knife." The opening theme to the film, "Science Fiction Double Feature," mentions "androids fighting Brad and Janet."

Sex

The delivery of these songs is just as overtly suggestive as the lyrics, which are riddled with sexual references: a "hot groin" ("Charles Atlas"), "at night I'm one hell of a lover" ("Sweet Transvestite"), "I wanna be dirty" ("Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me"), "my libido hasn't been controlled," ("Floor Show"), to name a few. And then of course there's the "pelvic thrust that really drives you insane" in the "Time Warp." "Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me" and "Sweet Transvestite" probably have the most sex in them, but this is a movie and soundtrack mostly about sexual experiences so every track contains that element.

Language

In addition to the super-sexual language of many of these tracks, there's one "f--k," in the song "Planet Schmanet, Janet." The song "Dammit Janet" repeats the word "dammit."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Rocky Horror soundtrack includes one reference to drugs: "Eddie" is said to have been "shooting up junk." Also, there are a couple of references to drinking. "Time Warp" refers to "drinking, those moments when the blackness would hit me," and "Once in a While" has wine in it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 25 Years of Absolute Pleasure is the 25th anniversary edition of the soundtrack to Richard O'Brien's still-popular musical from 1975. The film became a cult classic several years after its release, and young people still "discover" the film and music today, attending midnight screenings that include a lot of in-joke audience participation. The movie and lyrics are overtly sexual, including numerous references to sexual lust, tension, and desire. "Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me" and "Sweet Transvestite" have the most sex in them, but every track contains that element, including references to transvestitism and homosexuality as well as heterosexual behavior. There are a few violent references ("threatened your life with a switchblade knife"), and a couple of curse words ("f--k," "dammit").

User Reviews

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Teen, 15 years old Written byKmfan97 October 10, 2015

Absolutely phenomenal soundtrack to the greatest cult classic movie of all time!

I watched the rocky horror picture show for the first time two months ago and I thought it was fantastic. However I think the main thing that stood out in the m... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 8, 2013

All ages

I have been watching this since i was two and when i was 10 i saw it live twice yes it contains implied sex silouted sex a man in short gold boxers and a transv... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: 25 YEARS OF ABSOLUTE PLEASURE is the 25th anniversary edition of the soundtrack to Richard O'Brien's still-popular movie musical. The Rocky Horror movie is still in limited release -- usually as a midnight movie attended by teens and young adults -- and is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. The music, like the film, is about a nerdy, newly engaged couple -- Brad and Janet -- whose car breaks down, and who look for help at the "Frankenstein Place," a castle inhabited by an oversexed, transvestite Dr. Frankenstein-type (Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry), his minions, and an incredibly beautiful blond "monster." This rock 'n' roll soundtrack, which describes much of the action from the film, includes bonus songs that were not included in the original film or soundtrack album.

Is it any good?

The music from The Rocky Horror Picture Show continues to delight teens and young adults decades after it was first released in 1975, and with good reason. The songs and arrangements have a great oldies rock 'n' roll feel, and the subject matter in the lyrics is racy, exciting, and often funny, too. Singing about a "Sweet Transvestite" isn't nearly as shocking today as it was in the 1970s, but Tim Curry was (and is still) a really talented singer and actor -- his songs are expressive and strong. Susan Sarandon's career in musicals was short-lived, but she sounds suitably sweet when she sings as Janet. And the "Time Warp" is probably as hooky a dance number as could be in a musical from the '70s.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring nature of Rocky Horror Picture Show -- the film and music. Why do new generations of young people continue to discover and embrace it?

  • What do these songs say about human sexuality?

  • What did it mean for Richard O'Brien to write a musical about a transvestite in the early '70s?

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