I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Books to Music: Shrek "Who I'd Be"

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
An ogre always hides.
An ogre's fate is known.
An ogre always stays
in the dark and all alone.

Shrek the Musical is based on the animated movie which is based on the children's book by William Stieg, so I think it fits the whole books to music thing!  But I'm just song spotlighting "Who I'd Be" from the Broadway cast recording for my post today because I love the song a ridiculous amount of course, and then it's a lovely "I want" song which illustrates a lot of character.

For me, the songs in musicals that have a lot of longing, appeal to me the most and in "Who I'd Be", Shrek puts aside his cynicism a little to sing what he would like out of life instead of what he has. Our Shrek has a romantic heart underneath his gruff exterior, and his song is really very poignant because he's trapped by his exterior and other people's perception of him.  One of my favorite moments in this song is when he's singing of how he would hypothetically rescue a princess:

But standing guard
would be a beast.
I’d somehow overwhelm it.
I’d get the girl.
I’d take a breath,
and I’d remove my helmet.

We’d stand and stare.
We’d speak of love.
We’d feel the stars ascending.
We’d share a kiss.
I’d find my destiny.
I’d have a hero’s ending.

There's a dramatic pause between the first and second stanza where the music completely cuts out.  He removed his helmet - what is the princess's reaction??  Completely perfect because Shrek is accepted. It's so moving and then immediately poignantly sad because Shrek follows up by saying "it's not for me."

There is something else that appeals to me the most in musicals - when two or more characters (usually singing about different but complimentary things) are singing together in harmony.  And in this song Fiona and Donkey start singing towards the end.  Donkey seemed like he was added on kinda last minute, but I love Fiona's lyrics because the audience knows she's an ogre too, and both Shrek and Fiona want the same thing, but their attitude towards it is completely different.  Fiona believes she can have her happy ending, but Shrek doesn't.  It's so brilliant to juxtapose their thoughts that way in this song!  

The lyrics are witty, the melody is ... melodious, and the emotions of the characters comes through very strongly in this song.  It captures so much about the story all in 4 minutes!  Brilliant!

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


  1. I love musicals/broadway and all that jazz. This came through but I didn't go. I love that you posted a video so I can see how it plays out live. Seems good and like a show I would enjoy!


    1. So awesome that you love musicals too - I don't know enough people who do (everyone should really, they are amazing!) It is a really fun show, it came through here about a year or two ago and it's so funny! And very sweet. Thanks for stopping by!