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Student Blog: Do You Hear the People Sing? Les Mis Songs Ranked

Taking a Look at My Top 10 Les Mis Songs

Student Blog: Do You Hear the People Sing? Les Mis Songs Ranked

If you have any knowledge of my personality, you shouldn't be surprised by this article. Les Mis has been my favorite musical for years and probably will be until the end. For this article, I thought it would be fun to rank some of the show's songs. I'm just going to rank my Top 10 songs from Les Mis, as ranking each of them would be quite a long task and probably not the most fun read. But hey, if the people ask for it, I would be happy to spend a few hours delving into every single song. Sound off in the comments!

10. Do You Hear the People Sing? - This song is a classic and I almost felt obligated to put in on this list, even though it is one of my favorites. The song has transcended the musical theatre world, becoming an anthem for protests around the world. I always felt incredibly powerful singing this song on stage as part of a group.

9. At the End of the Day - What an absolute banger of a song. The orchestration of "At the End of the Day" is simply fantastic, with quick beats and intense instrumentals. Unfortunately, the song does go on for quite a while, leading to some lulls in the music, which is why it isn't ranked higher on this list.

8. Turning - Like quite a few of the songs in Les Mis, "Turning" is heartbreakingly beautiful, with the women of Paris mourning the young students lost in a "useless" fight. Even now, over 200 years after the events of the musical, the lyrics "Nothing changes, nothing ever will" remain relevant, as people continue to lose their lives in causes that may ultimately be hopeless. The haunting melodies remain in your head for the rest of the show, reminding you of when you first heard the same tune sung by struggling prostitutes on the docks.

7. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables - "Empty Chairs" isn't ranked very highly as for me, the song completely depends on how much I like the actor playing Marius. While Eddie Redmayne brings me to tears with his beautiful performance, I barely even feel a twinge of sadness when Nick Jonas sings the same song.

6. I Dreamed a Dream - Like "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," this song also depends on how much I like the actress singing it. The woman playing Fantine can make or break the beginning of the show, as proven by this number. "I Dreamed a Dream" tells the heartbreaking tale of a woman just trying to survive and keep her child safe, a sad swan song of a dying woman. The music is beautiful and the lyrics truly make you feel for Fantine, mourning her losses along with her.

5. The ABC Cafe/Red and Black - I love the Barricade Boys. They're definitely my favorite part of the show and were the highlight of the book for me. Even though I do get slightly annoyed by the song being called "The ABC Cafe" as it's the Cafe Musain in the book, those opening trumpets never fail to get me excited for the following songs. When playing Grantaire I loved being the antagonist of the scene, teasing Marius and going up against Enjolras, showing off my cynicism through song and drinking. I miss the feeling of camaraderie I had during the cafe scenes, even when I was playing the drunken cynic of the optimistic group.

4. On My Own - Even though Eponine has never been my favorite character, I absolutely adore "On My Own." It breaks my heart to hear Eponine imagine a world in which she is loved, only minutes before her death in the show. She ends up accepting her love for Marius and is willing to sacrifice herself to save him, knowing that he will never love her back.

3. Epilogue - What a way to end a musical. The death of the "main" character and the ghosts of those who have fallen all in one grand finale with powerful callbacks to previous melodies. "Do You Hear the People Sing" is on the opposite end of my ranking, but I believed that the version used in the Epilogue deserved a higher spot. It gives me chills as I listen to the ghosts of the revolutionaries sing for the hopes of a future they will never see, but one they helped fight for. Definitely a happier ending than the book.

2. Drink With Me - I'm definitely biased with this one as it was my only solo, but it is so much more than that. Playing Grantaire had been a dream for years and I had the chance to talk with a former Broadway Grantaire about how to interpret "Drink With Me." The lyrics are quite sobering and became even more meaningful once one of my friends passed away after our opening night. "Will the world remember you when you fall?" and the following lyrics hit me straight in the heart, reminding me of those I've lost and the things I fear may happen in the future. A dark song, yes, but absolutely beautiful.

1. One Day More - The best song. Absolutely no question about it. The solos in the beginning, the different parts intertwining, and finally everything coming together in the glorious chorus. Every theatre kid has tried to sing all of the parts at once in the shower, creating absolute chaos. I get chills every time I hear this song - The beginning arpeggios, everyone joining together, the triumphant final notes. It's just a perfect song, and not even the movie could ruin that.


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From This Author Student Blogger: Kat Mokrynski