I've grown up listening to musicals. My mom had me singing "Defying Gravity" before I knew how to walk. I watched The Lion King and Cats Off Broadway, and I've always been in love with soundtracks. In the name of that, I've included a couple of my favorite musical songs that you should absolutely include in your daily lives.
(Please note: most of the gifs are not actually from the musicals, but rather just a representation of the song.)
1. "Whoa Mama" from Bright Star
"Whoa Mama" is a cute song that perfectly captures the eternal youth of love. The two characters, Jimmy and Alice, are arguing about whether or not they're going dancing tonight. They tease and joke and all around fall a little bit more in love every second. It's very high energy and features two incredible singers.
2. "Another Round" from Bright Star
"Another Round" is the 1950s version of a club song. It's just upbeat and cute, full of friendship and bonding. The three characters, Lucy, Daryl, and Billy, are off of work and Lucy is ordering drinks for everyone. Soon, Daryl and Billy join in and the three are all dancing and drinking and generally having a good time.
3. "Farmer Refuted" from Hamilton
"Farmer Refuted" is an argument between Samuel Seabury and Alexander Hamilton in the form of a one-sided rap battle. What's crazy about this is the main instrument is a harpsichord, and it's in 3/4. The two actually argue over each other, with Hamilton using key words from Seabury's thoughts to rap with. All in all, it's definitely one of my favorites.
4. "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" from Hamilton
"Yorktown" is the high energy end of the Revolutionary War. Featuring motifs from "My Shot" shows how Hamilton has grown, and you even see him as a general, leading his own command. Hercules Mulligan rap is absolutely the highlight. It's raunchy and raw and everything you'd expect out of a war rap. The dance break is infectious, and the final chord gives me goosebumps every time. If you didn't see it at the 70th Tonys, I also highly recommend.
5. "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen
Of course, I would be remiss to not include Broadway's newest hit. "You Will Be Found" may be slow, but it contains a beautiful message that theater geeks across the nation have taken up. The general gist is that Evan is giving a speech in order to encourage others to not give up. It starts slow, but soon the entire cast is introduced and it becomes a battle cry as people across the nation "share" the video of Evan's speech.
6. "For Forever" from Dear Evan Hansen
"For Forever" is an imagined day of eternal friendship. In an attempt to comfort the grieving parents of Connor Murphy, Evan invents a summer day where he and Connor are best friends. I can't give you a real reason this is my on my list and not "Waving Through A Window"; just know that it's beautiful.
7. "Meant to Be Yours" from Heathers
"Meant To Be Yours" is JD asking Veronica to join him in killing the rest of the school(if you haven't seen Heathers, it's Mean Girls meets Quintin Tarantino). It's very high energy and inspires head banging. All the noise effects that JD makes should be humorous, but are actually kinda scary???? I don't know it's just an amazing song.
8. "Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)" from Heathers
"Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)" is Veronica's desperate attempt to stop JD before he blows up the school. Half of the song is devoted to the pep rally, where the school kids are celebrating. The other half features JD and Veronica and uses interesting time signatures to create a feeling of uncertainty and chaos. Definitely an incredible song.
9. "Coffee Break" from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
"Coffee Break" is every office workers internal monologue. The lyrics are a little too real. The whole song is a tango between the employees and the person who is "responsible" for the significant lack of coffee. Soon, they evolve into coffee zombies, attacking coffee boy. This is just a cute little filler song that everyone can relate to.
10. "Brotherhood of Man" from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
"Brotherhood of Man" is Finch's desperate attempt to keep his friends from being fired. He tells the head honcho, Wally, that everyone is involved in the Brotherhood of Man, making everyone connected. It's so inspiring that it actually works, and everyone joins in! Soon, the whole cast is dancing and singing along with Finch!
11. "Who's Got The Pain" from Damn Yankees
"Who's Got The Pain" is easily the weirdest and most unnecessary song from Damn Yankees, making it one of my favorites. This is the Joe Fan Club dancing for his benefit. There's literally no reason for this song to exist, but that doesn't stop me from loving it.
12. "Shoeless Joe" from Damn Yankees
"Shoeless Joe" is the Washington Senators discovery of their newest star player. Gloria, a local reporter, renames the new Joe Hardy "Shoeless Joe from Hannibal Mo." It's full of exaggerations and renewed energy. Eventually, the cast comes on for dance numbers reminiscent of a ball game. Suddenly, tempo picks up and everyone is running around stage, playing, watching, or working out. There's a lot going on, but it's still a lot of fun.
13. "Many a New Day" from Oklahoma
"Many a New Day" is Laurey's reassurance that one boy will hardly knock her down. It's the ultimate "screw you, I'll move on", even if it's not true. I love this song because it's just a good lesson: don't lose sleep over a lost love.
14. "Kansas City" from Oklahoma
"Kansas City" is Will's recount of everything he saw on his trip to Kansas -- some things that are norms now. It's fun and youthful as everyone is learning from Will about the outside world. Soon, the whole cast is dancing and laughing, wondering about this modern marvel. It's a big party, and a wonderful musical scene.
15. "Casualty of Love" from Wedding Singer
"Casualty of Love" is the result of a heartbroken Robbie attempting to play at weddings again. He rounds up the misfit table at the wedding and joins them together as "casualties of love". Robbie also renounces love, likening it to a number of rather unpleasant things, before telling the newly-wed that they're going to break up and themselves become casualties. It's a nice song to rock out to following a break-up, or in general.
16. "Not That Kind of Thing" from Wedding Singer
"Not That Kind Of Thing" is Robbie's and Julia's insistence that they aren't in love and are only friends. They renounce all the common romantic tropes, telling the "night to save it's moonlight" and the "birds not to sing". However, it's futile, and in the end we get a glimpse into their private thoughts about each other. This is your classic Broadway song, where you can see everyone in v-formation stomping on each hit, while the lights change dramatically behind them. Or maybe that's just me.
17. "God Help The Outcasts" from Hunchback of Notre Dame
"God Help The Outcasts" is a haunting melody pulled directly from the movie. It's a plea from Esmerelda for God to help her people as we see other "godly" people praying for frivolous things. The build in between the prayers and Esmerelda's final cry is an Experience™. I sob literally every time I listen to listen to this song.
18. "Olim" from Hunchback of Notre Dame
"Olim" is the introduction of the musical. It immediately sets the scene as being mournful and religious. I love the bells and then choral singing; everything about this song is beautiful and a must listen.
19. "Crazier Than You" from The Addams Family
"Crazier Than You" is Wednesday and Lucas arguing that they can or can't be together because they're crazier than the other. It's creepy and fast paced and shows the length that the both of them will go to stay together.
20. "Just Around the Corner" from The Addams Family
"Just Around the Corner" is Morticia finding comfort in the fact that death is always close by. That's it, the whole song. The entire song is about death. What did you expect from an Addams Family musical?
21. "First Impressions" from First Date
"First Impressions" is Aaron and Kacey's base-line impression of each other. It's just funny as an aside, and the actors use each other as puppets. The whole song is fun (and features triplets -- is anyone surprised that I like it?). This was the first song that I heard, and how I fell in love with the musical.
22. "That's Why You Love Me" from First Date
"That's Why You Love Me" features Kacey's two awful ex-boyfriends, highlighting the fact that she only likes guys who will hurt her. As genuinely terrible as it is, the song itself is fun. Honestly, this whole show is amazing, but "That's Why You Love Me" is a high point.
23. "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from Cats
Yes, Cats did make this list. I will not be silenced. "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" is the opening of Cats. It invites "cats" from audiences everywhere to join in. The orchestration encapsulates the mysterious nature of cats. Suddenly, the song picks up and we're all dancing along to a bunch of people in cat costumes. I'm not sorry.
24. "Mister Mistoffelees" from Cats
"Mister Mistoffelees" inspires a kickline in my head, don't ask me why. A fast based song, Mister Mistoffelees is about a magician cat that can assist with the other cats. Again, I can't explain why this song is my favorite. I just love the chorus.
25. "Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)" from Spring Awakening
"Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)" is a lamentation about the obvious lack of education for young women. All the girls in town are understandably upset when their mothers won't teach them about necessary things, like pregnancy. I love this song because it's angry yet restrained. Honestly, it sounds cool.
26. "Totally F*****" from Spring Awakening
"Totally F*****" is an angry song regarding corruption in the education following a student death. The ending of "Blah blah blah blah blah blah" on paper looks horrifically boring, but is actually beautiful and high energy. It's the anthem of high school students and angsty teens.
27. "La Vie Boheme" from Rent
"La Vie Boheme" is a party song at it's core. It fights gentrification where the neighborhood kids are living. With a fast pace and intricate rhyming scheme, it's a well loved song from Broadway to the big screen. "La Vie Boheme" is a celebration of life and also aims to make rich people uncomfortable, and I'm always there for it.
28. "Rent" from Rent
"Rent" reminds me a little of Creature Feature. It's about the struggle to pay rent, or to create something beautiful, or the struggle of living. Like "La Vie Boheme", it's fast and fun and introduces each character well.
29. "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" from Next to Normal
"Superboy and the Invisible Girl" is a daughter's lamentation that she is invisible next to her hallucinated brother. The time signature always gets me. It's a mixture of 6/8 and 7/8, which creates motion. Finally, Natalie's brother joins her, as they reiterate that Natalie's "not there".
30. "I'm Alive" from Next to Normal
"I'm Alive" is Gabe, the dead son, celebrating his constant and destructive presence in his mother's life. It's his spirit partying all over the house as he causes havoc. A terrible character, but an incredible song.
31. "In the Heights" from In the Heights
"In The Heights" is the opener of the groundbreaking musical. It starts at sunrise at a small corner store run by the main character, Usnavi. We meet every single character via song or rap. Most, if not all, are bilingual, creating exciting rhymes. Lin Manuel-Miranda is a genius, and it shines through in this score.
32. "Finale" from In the Heights
"Finale" is the end of In The Heights, and reveals Usnavi's renewed determination to stay and continue his relationship and run the shop. The voice break in "I'm home" makes me cry every time.
33. "Santa Fe" from Newsies
"Santa Fe" is when all the newsies turn on Jack, so he retreats to his dream of moving to Santa Fe. It's such a beautiful song, and so unassuming. I love this song for something that transcends words. Santa Fe represents each of our dreams that seems impossibly big and hopelessly far away. In the end, Jack begs Santa Fe to be real, ending on this incredible note that gives me goosebumps every time.
34. "The World Will Know" from Newsies
"The World Will Know" is the final straw. The Newsies have finally decided to go on strike, and now they're determined to hold true and tell everyone what's going on. They threaten their oppressors: "instead of harking headlines, we'll be making them today". It's so much fun and full of determination.
35. "To Thine Own Self" from Something Rotten
"To Thine Own Self" is an argument between two brothers trying to create something new and big. It's accidentally encouraging. The crowd asks Nick to read bits of his play, to which he responds with some of the most memorable words in history: "to thine own self be true". I just love the chorus and everything about this song.
36. "A Musical" from Something Rotten
"A Musical" is the ultimate tongue in cheek song on Broadway. It's someone attempting to explain the concept of a musical to someone in Shakespearian times. It uses as many references as it can, including Annie, Rent, and Les Miserables. I love the high energy and fun it features.
37. "Everybody Says Don't" from Anyone Can Whistle
While this originated from Anyone Can Whistle, I prefer the Barbara Streisand version. "Everybody Says Don't" is an ultimate "screw you, I do what I want". I can't explain the context(it's one of those "you have to be there"), but just know that if you need confidence, this is the song for you.
38. "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from Evita
"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" is a hauntingly beautiful melody. It's Evita's plea for her country to recognize her new position – leading her people to prosperity as opposed to becoming famous. My mom introduced me to this song, and I think it's absolutely amazing.