Friday, April 26, 2013

Top 100 Showtunes: 40-31

#40. "Uninvited" from Sleeping Beauty Wakes. Sung from the point of view of the evil fairy in the Sleeping Beauty story. It's a great angry song with clever lyrics and fantastically fun music, and it is so satisfying to sing along to at the top of my lungs. As far as villain songs go, it's one of the best.

#39. "The Ladies Who Lunch" from Company. And here we have a completely different kind of angry woman song. While the evil fairy is screaming and furious and vowing revenge, Joanne from Company is a miserable creature who, try as she might, gets no real pleasure out of mocking others. Patti LuPone's version of this song is almost devastating in how hopeless a character she is. The song is truly an incredible one, and there have been some great versions, but this remains my favorite.

#38. "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray. Oh, I really needed to watch this right now. Heh. This is one of the most relentlessly happy songs I have ever heard. It's just verse after verse of pure glee and it's impossible to listen to it and not smile at least a little bit. As each character joins in about finding their own personal joy and freedom, I just get happier and happier, and by the end I just want to get up and dance along with them. Easily one of the best ending numbers of all time.

#37. "Everybody's Got the Right" from Assassins. The one at the end, not at the beginning. This show is about those who assassinated and attempted to assassinate our presidents, and it ends with this bizarre, dark, chilling song about how "no one can be put in jail for their dreams." It ends with each assassin firing a gun - indicating that that was part of pursuing their own dreams.

#36. "La Vie Boheme" from Rent. I might not be much of a bohemian myself (I appreciate rules and boundaries far too much), but this song touting the lifestyle's virtues is fun and infectious and so fun to sing along with, even if it does have a lot of in-between dialoguey parts that are kind of weird to hear if you don't know all the background story.

#35. "Drifting" from Sleeping Beauty Wakes. This song about two young people discovering their interest in each other while swimming is dreamy and beautiful and lovely. This time listening to it, I was blown away by how the lyrics truly are beautiful poetry. The words sound incredible. "Pebbles descending, their patterns extending, ripples expanding and weaving and blending, till the surface is as smooth as glass again." Every time I hear this song, I just want to close my eyes, shut everybody else out, and just listen.

#34. "On My Own" from Les Miserables. Emo? Yes. Horrendously overused? Absolutely. Still connects with me on a much deeper level than I sometimes like to admit? Heck yeah. I've loved this song since I first found it, and I still love it. Eponine's a wonderful character for reserved teenage girls, as she is all about keeping her emotions in so nobody really knows what's going on. Then, when she's all alone, she allows herself to imagine what could be if things went her way. There's a reason it gets my vote for THE best unrequited love showtune ever. Also, the music is so, so pretty.

#33. "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. I had heard this song several times, but never really paid attention to it until I saw the movie. It was used in all these talent competitions for females to show off their big belty voices, but it wasn't until Jennifer Hudson's heartbreaking performance that I got it. It is so much more than a loud belty song. It is a raw, broken, desperate, terrified song. Rewatching this, I'm blown away by Hudson once again in this. Watch her hands and how tense and trembly they are - she doesn't have any big powerful diva moves, this song isn't about big powerful diva moves. She's terrified she's going to lose her man, and her determination to keep him is furious in its intensity. It's incredible. I've seen other great performances of the song since then, but this is still my very favorite.

#32. "I Believe" from The Book of Mormon. And, after those more serious numbers, we have this. My apologies to my Mormon friends, but this song always makes me giggle. Andrew Rannells is hilarious as this naive but enthusiastic missionary who is convinced that by spouting his doctrine cheerfully at the Ugandan warlord in some of the most offensive ways possible, that everything will be fixed! Needless to say, that is not how it works out.

#31. "Stars and the Moon" from Songs for a New World. One of Jason Robert Brown's most incredible songs (of course, I say that and I'm sure I have a few more in my top 30). It tells the story of a woman who searched her whole life for what she thought she wanted in a relationship, only to find out she may have been wrong. The imagery is captivating, the music beautiful, and Audra McDonald's rendition here is gorgeous

We only have three more weeks, guys! We are almost done with this series! Whoo!

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