Top 5 Les Miserables Songs
| By Ephram Ryan
You’ve seen the musical. You’ve seen the film. And the truth is, Les Miserables never ceases to be moving. It’s simply a timeless masterpiece that tells the tale of a nation plagued with homelessness, poverty, famine and disease and a middle-class rebellion that decided to take matters into its own hands and stand up against the oppression by the monarchy. The musical’s soundtrack is one that will evoke all kinds of emotions and, for many, it can be quite the tearjerker. Be sure to keep a box of tissues nearby as you revisit some of the show’s best songs in our list for the Top 5 Songs from Les Miserables.
Pictured: “Do you hear the people sing?”
On My Own
A heartbreaking song about unrequited love sung in Act Two by Eponine, a girl who has disguised herself as a boy to join the resistance and is secretly in love with Marius. During the number, she walks alone in the streets of Paris, having no idea of the tragedies that lay ahead.
Key Lyrics: “I love him / But when the night is over / He is gone / The river's just a river”
One Day More
This ensemble number serves as the finale for Act One, and it is nothing short of spectacular. It is essentially a ‘collage’ that overlaps the characters’ voices singing about their hopes, dreams and struggles. It is also a mash-up of previous songs combined into one and this heterogeneous medley will give you chills upon every listen!
Key Lyrics: “One day to a new beginning / Raise the flag of freedom high / Every man will be a king”
I Dreamed A Dream
Betrayed by her peers, sacked from her job and forced to live the lowest life imaginable, Fantine has hit rock bottom. The poverty-stricken woman, now having sold her locks, her locket and her body, is a damsel in distress with no saviour in sight. Realizing that she may no longer be able to support her daughter, she begins to lose all hope and the will to go on. This song is painfully sad to hear from such an angelic voice.
Key Lyrics: “But there are dreams that cannot be / And there are storms we cannot weather / I had a dream my life would be / So different from this hell I'm living”
At the End of the Day
This brutal song sets the scene for just how rough life is for the impoverished in 19th century France. Fantine, who works as a seamstress for a textile factory and whose only sin is to have been born too beautiful, has recently been rejecting her ‘slave driver’s’ sexual advances. Her boss then takes this out on her co-workers, who then begin to resent her for it. When one co-worker discovers a letter of Fantine’s proving she has a bastard child, Fantine falls victim to society’s conservative values and her co-workers persuade their boss to sack her. Her life rapidly spirals out of control.
Key Lyrics: “At the end of the day you're another day older / And that's all you can say for the life of the poor / It's a struggle, it's a war / And there's nothing that anyone's giving”
Do You Hear the People Sing?
Arguably the most uplifting song in the entire musical and taking place just before the Paris Uprising of 1832, this number will really stir your emotions, even making you tear up for reasons different than those found in “I Dreamed A Dream.” Perhaps it’s because the spirit of the song remains so relevant in our ever-changing world where the poor become poorer and the rich become richer. A world where those in power no longer work for the interests of their people. This is an anthem of hope. Hope in that we as a people can band together and rebel against the wrongdoings, scandals, and disgraces of those in power and bring the focus back on the people. We must resist! Vive la résistance!
Key Lyrics: “Do you hear the people sing? / Singing the songs of angry men? / It is the music of the people / Who will not be slaves again!”
Do you agree with our list? Which Les Miserables song is your favourite?
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