My Top 20 Musical Songs

#20 Send in the Clowns – A Little Night Music


I haven’t seen this musical, which is possibly why this song is so low down. I feel that the context really adds a certain umph to musical numbers, as obviously they’re meant to be part of the telling of a story. However I chose Send in the Clowns mainly down to Judi Dench’s performance at the BBC Proms (see above). I think she sings it brilliantly, and the emotions shine through, even with lack of context.

#19 In my Life – Les Miserables

I feel a connection to the song In My Life. I guess it speaks to the girl in me touching on the feelings of falling in love, and wanting to know more about your life. I also like it in terms of story, as we see Epinene, Cosette and Marius’ thoughts and feelings. It didn’t climb any higher in my list because it does miss that grandness that some of the later songs have. It’s quite simple and quaint, telling it’s frame of story and moving without a fuss to the next part.

#18 Cell Block Tango – Chicago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA6R1DMb-Z8

Chicago is a very loud, proud musical. The songs are strong and very stylised. This is true especially for Cell Block Tango. The majority of the song comprises of spoken-sung parts with a sung chorus. You’d expect a spoken song to not be as effective, but the stories are just perfect in setting the theme. I have chosen the film representation because I haven’t seen this musical on stage. I feel the directing of this scene in the film is beautiful, and I’d imagine reflective on the movements on stage. The lighting and editing has kept the song lively and full of energy.

#17 Angel of Music – Phantom of the Opera

I have a particular liking for this song. I like how it introduces the idea of the Phantom. The interaction between Christine and Meg is also nice, with a pretty little duet. Similarly to In My Life, It’s not as grand as other songs later on and so doesn’t have as much emotional impact. But it has its charm for it’s simplicity and sweetness.

#16 A Heart Full of Love – Les Miserables

A Heart Full of Love follows In my Life in Les Miserables’ song order. This song is higher in the listing because of the last 40 seconds. The part where Marius, Epenine and Cosette sing their different parts over each other is just so beautiful. Les Miserables is known for its duets and this is a short example of what I like this musical for.

#15 Memory (Reprise) – Cats

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPcf67Vyri0

I have grown up with Cats The Musical, 1998 video recording then I finally saw it in theatres last year. Elaine Paige is fantastic as Grizabella and I’m unsure if she can be topped. Everything is perfect from her costume, to her performance. I have chosen the Reprise because of the part of Jemima, played by Veerle Casteelyn. Both work together very well and the song is beautiful.

#14 I Dreamed a Dream – Les Miserables

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFcq2fcr_qY

This is probably the most famous song from the musical Les Miserables, but it’s not my favourite. It is however a very emotion-filled and powerful. I have chosen the version by Anne Hathaway from the film, mainly because I prefer the slower and more intimate approach the film had to the songs. While I didn’t like the film, I appreciate the live singing in a musical film.

#13 Defying Gravity – Wicked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4ekwTd6Ig

This was the song that Wicked were selling themselves on; and are you surprised? I remember being so excited to see this when I saw this on talk shows. While I feel the song lacks something when you don’t have context, the song in itself is very powerful and wonderfully sung by Idina Menzel. Staging for this song is also pretty sweet as we see Elphaba flying in the air on zipwires. It’s grand, it’s in your face and it knows it’s good.

#12 The Wizard and I – Wicked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL7FlC1m92c

While not the big show-stopper song of Wicked, I feel The Wizard and I beats it.. I guess cause it touches home. It shows Elphaba and her dreams, starting as a nobody and dreaming of being accepted. The emotion is this song is great and acts as a fun start to the musical.

#11 All That Jazz – Chicago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNFryicvxeE

Keeping with the strong theme of Chicago, comes All that Jazz. It’s the opening song of the musical and starts us off with the sexiness and suave feel that runs all the way through. Again I’ve chosen the film version, as that’s the one I’ve seen, but the direction is just so good. Director Rob Marshall knows just what to do to keep the songs lively, and show the story. I can only presume the stage show does the same.

#10 Good Morning Baltimore – Hairspray

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLaM1d383eg

Again this is another one where I’ve not seen it on stage but I’ve seen the film. I find this film enjoyable, yet very difficult to watch. It’s very in your face and full on all the time, you hardly get a point to rest. However, look at an individual song and you can get a real appreciation for the musical. It’s liveliness is just so catchy and you can’t help singing along.

#9 There’s a fine fine line – Avenue Q

I’ve seen Avenue Q twice now and I think it’s amazing. I feel Avenue Q is accessible for people about my age, and even people who aren’t that keen on musicals can enjoy it. It’s funny, spunky and hits the right notes for me. That being said, I have chosen the most serious of songs to be part of my list because I’m a sucker for ballads and powerful songs. There’s a fine, fine line is fuelled with emotion as Kate Monster sings about love and loss. I find it quite amazing that the emotion can be carried across by the puppets and their puppeteers, even though you sort of forget the puppeteers are there.

#8 Somewhere that’s Green – Little Shop of Horrors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXVSBcfIio

Ellen Greene is amazing as Audrey, both on stage and in the movie in 1986. Alike Elaine Paige as Grizabella in cats I’ve gotten very attached to the link of actress and character. Ellen puts a great performance into all her songs of Little Shop of Horrors. I especially like Somewhere that’s Green as again it touches the idea of dreams and the future. It’s a sweet song and I love it. And… of course, who could forget the Family Guy version…

#7 You Can’t Stop the Beat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K54VMAmjNSk

My god this is catchy.

#6 You’re the One that I want – Grease

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9udY1qGsSo

“Tell me about it, stud”…. This song is so fun. And Travolta! I didn’t think I’d put this song so high up, but I put it on and I couldn’t not sing along. It beat Summer Nights mainly because it’s so overplayed. Ok, so this one is pretty popular too… but It’s more lively than summer nights and just… ooh ooh ooh honey!

#5 The Point of No Return – Phantom of the Opera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk6djcAPGvo

This was another I wasn’t sure would get this high, but I listened to it again and I just have a particular love for its suspense and it’s tension. I guess lack of context might lose some power for this song, but we see the Phantom’s Opera he has demanded be put on, starring his love Christine. Christine was so scared of seeing him again and there he is, playing a part in his own opera. Their mixtures of hate and passion come through so well in this song. Lines in this song are so cleverly written and it is performed so masterfully I just couldn’t let it slide any lower. I have chosen the film version, as I personally prefer the less operatic style the film chose.

#4 Circle of Life – The Lion King

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv802bpA-iw

The style of the stage version of Circle of Life is majestic. Everything about it, from the staging, the costumes, the African chanting, the music: It’s all so grand. I also chose it because of the various things the cast has done out in the public. They look like they enjoy what they’re doing; whether that’s because of clever advertising or because the cast adore it so much. I thought it’d be hard to beat the Disney’s animated feature version of this song, but I think this does that.

#3 A Little Fall of Rain – Les Miserables

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no4B8YWhdFg

This song isn’t grand and it isn’t the star of the show… but it’s my favourite song in Les Miserables. It’s so touching and beautiful duet between Epinene and Marius. I really feel for this character as she has finally gotten what she wants: to be in Marius’ arms, yet it is when she is dying. It’s so poetic and sad; enough to send chills down your spine!

#2 Skid Row – Little Shop of Horrors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0kSBiu1IGk

I love this song. It’s a great intro to Little Shop of Horrors and it’s great for setting the scene and introducing our main characters. I couldn’t think of a better way to start this musical. The films version (see above) is also full of humour and beautiful sets.

#1 – Masquerade – Phantom of the Opera

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PxEvj_tvGQ

I LOVE this song. It’s just so beautifully staged. Look at those costumes and the choreography. It has a quick steady pace and just makes you want to join in with the ball. It incorporates the duets and character stuff I love… Its music is powerful… this is what I love about the theatre.

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