I've moved bookishwhimsy.com to tumblr! This blog is now an archive of my past posts.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Top 8 Favorite Songs from Musicals

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
I have two features on my blog where I talk about musicals - "Books to Music" which is a bit defunct, but there is every possibility I will post again for it, and the "Movie Musical Challenge" which is currently ongoing.  But day to day I listen to a lot of songs from musicals.  I have three catch-all albums in my iTunes (for songs that I like, but I don't want to have the whole album, and it just gets cumbersome if I let them sort in their own album...) and my album for Musicals is my biggest one.  (The other two albums are for oldies and for more contemporary music).  So I wanted to share some of my top favorite songs from a musical here - these are ones I listen to ALOT, and dearly love for so many reasons.  In no particular order, I'll start with a song from Jane Eyre the Musical:

She saves me, but I can't be saved
Frees me, but I'm still enslaved

This is a dramatic, emotional duet between Jane and Rochester, with Jane's pull for Rochester likened to a Siren from Greek mythology.  It's not an obvious connection, but totally works for me, and makes for some wonderful sea imagery.  I love the passion in this song - how Mr. Rochester is trying so hard to resist, and Jane earnest in her need to help Rochester, even though she doesn't know everything about what is really troubling him.  Of course the singers - Marla Schaffel and James Barbour have glorious voices and mix together wonderfully in this song. [Listen]


Like stepping on the air so blindly,
I trust you will be there to find me

This is another romantic duet from one of my all time favorite musicals The Scarlet Pimpernel.  It's a wedding song, about trust and love and faith.  So gorgeous!!  The irony being that is this beautiful song about trust is immediately undermined when the husband comes to believe something terrible about his wife.  Which of course is not true.  But the connection the two have in this song is so touching to me, and the imagery of their love in the lyrics is so imaginative.  My favorite line is "As waves lean on the sea, my love come lean on me."  If I could have that engraved on a future wedding ring, that would be great! [Listen]

When your feeling certain feelings that just don't seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light
And turn 'em off

The songs in The Book of Mormon are so catchy, and "Turn It Off" is one of the catchiest I think.  It's effective because the catchy and upbeat melody comically belies the really awful issues that are coming up in the song.   And it's showing how unhealthy it can be to suppress sorrow or anguish or just your true self which is a good message.   But the real appeal of this song for me is the melody which is just fun to sing along to.  There's also this really fun tap dance that goes along with it, if you watch it performed, so that's a winner. [Listen]

Niña, Niña, Niña
I'll be having neurasthenia
Til I make you mine

This is a song written for the film The Pirate, as far as I can tell, which starred Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.  There are many things I love about this song.  The fact that the character singing it is such a womanizer, that he can't be bothered to learn the name of every woman he woos, so he just calls them all Niña.  Which should be insulting on so many levels, but Gene Kelly is so charming in this.  And also the rhymes that Cole Porter comes up for Niña are so inventive - gardenia, neurasthenia, schizophrenia - what? Awesome.  But the funny thing about this song is the orchestration for the second half of the album version does not match up to the film.  In the film, there is an extended dance sequence, with sort of a different melody, but the album continues the melody of the actual song and it's so pretty to me.  The melody makes me think of something light and airy - pretty much like the way Gene Kelly dances. [And I would most definitely put a link to the song here, but I couldn't find the same exact version I have on youtube!] 

Someone's gonna make good
Cross his stupid heart
Make good and finally make you
Proud of your boy

This is a very recent obsessively favorite song of mine - I love the melody but the focus is on the voice here and Adam Jacob's expressive singing is utterly bewitching.  So emotional and touching as well, with his Aladdin so desperate to be someone his Mom would have been proud of.  The filial love in this song is something I don't hear often and it really makes me emotional somehow.  There's an underlying sorrow to this song and also a wonderful optimism that just gets me every time. [Listen]

Wish I knew why, she says
But on a sunny day, I find the rain
Let's give it a try, I say
We can dance all through the pain

I've never seen Tick, Tick... Boom! and I'm not sure I ever will, because I don't find the story of the musical very appealing, but I do love this song so.  Another song centering on sorrow and optimism!  The man's attempt to help the girl through her depression makes this such a poignant and beautiful piece.  Raul Esparza is the singer on the version I have, and his voice has this raw quality to it as well which highlights the emotion and empathy he's feeling for the girl.  This is a simple, beautiful song with very well written lyrics. [Listen]

For here you are standing there loving me
Whether or not you should

Of course this is one of my favorite musicals, and "Something Good" is my favorite song from the show.  I realized that I truly loved it, when I was listening to the Overture in the movie once (the medley of music that plays over the opening credits), and I realized that the section of music from Something Good was the most appealing to me.  It's the melody that really gets me - the lyrics aren't the greatest, but a good, sweet, and romantic melody always catches my ear.  Of course it helps that this song occurs during one of the best proposal scenes ever - I just love how Maria and the Captain finally get together.  [Listen]

It's a famous, if unwritten law 
That when a man is smitten
How he treats his other friends is obscene
Two's company, and suddenly you are a one-girl mob scene

This is another musical I've not seen or know much about, but it was written by Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Wicked) so I'm sure all the music from the show is wonderful.  I heard this song on an album of duets with Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner and it's so amazing with their skilled vocal range.  The song starts off slowly, and then gets faster and faster, as the the two sing their verses over each other.  It's fantastic to try and sing along - it's so tongue twisty, especially because the melody goes up and down really fast. 

Share this post: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr
Scroll Up

0 comments: Comments

Post a Comment