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Student Blog: Underrated Musical Theater Songs to Brighten Your Day

To cheer you up after singing “On My Own.”

Student Blog: Underrated Musical Theater Songs to Brighten Your Day

I could (and, let's be honest, probably will) make a list of my favorite moving Broadway power ballads. But there have to be some happy songs to balance out the tear-jerkers, right? Yes, "She Used To Be Mine" and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" will have you feeling like the main character you are, but sometimes we need a little pick-me-up to make the 11-o-clock number just that much more emotional.

I will not be including songs from jukebox musicals, because those weren't written as musicals originally, so unfortunately there won't be any "Mamma Mia" on here, no matter how much of a bop "Does Your Mother Know" is.

Without further ado, and not in any particular order, here are 10 musical theater songs to brighten your day.

1. "Buenos Aires" from Evita

This song is so good. It's ideal for the soundtrack of your life, when you're walking down the street, dancing in your room or when you're just enjoying the experience of being alive. (I know, what a concept these days, right?) Taking place at the beginning of the show when Eva Peron first arrives in Buenos Aires to begin her career, the lyrics and music are full of ambition, zest and hope, with an irresistible dance break to boot.

2. "Get Down" from Six

I'll admit it: I first got into this show about the wives of King Henry the VIII from TikTok. I watched videos with sounds from "Don't Lose Your Head" and "All You Wanna Do," which are both great. But this song from Anna of Cleves' perspective is catchy, and if you've been meaning to get into this musical then it is definitely worth your time. Fans of girl groups like Little Mix and Fifth Harmony will enjoy this song and the show overall. If the line, "Okay, ladies, let's get in reformation," isn't enough to at least intrigue you, then I'm not sure what will.

3. "Today 4 U" from Rent

Sure, I could have picked the iconic "Take Me Or Leave Me," or even the anthem "La Vie Boehme," but this song is pure fun. While the other two deserve all the acclaim they've received, "Today 4 U" seems to be somewhat overlooked in favor of some of the bigger songs from this show. Serving as Mark and Roger's introduction to the lovable and optimistic Angel, this song is bursting with energy and mirth that is sure to have you drumming on every surface of your house.

4. "King of New York" from Newsies

As painful as it was to not include "Watch What Happens," which I highly recommend for anyone feeling overwhelmed by a new challenge, this song was practically made for this list. It has humor, excitement, hope and captures the feeling of your luck finally starting to change during a challenge. Plus, in true Newsies fashion, there's a very long dance break, with the hoots and hollers of the boys to cheer you on as you dance flawlessly around the room.

5. "So Much Better" from Legally Blonde

This one might not be underrated, but it's worth a spot on this list. It was difficult to pick just one song; each one is a fun, cheery or hilarious bop after the other, so you really can't go wrong by just pressing shuffle on the whole album. Ultimately, I picked it because of how utterly gratifying it is to show the world that you proved them wrong. It's comic, celebratory and crescendos into a nice, satisfying belted last note. Elle is all of us who have been underestimated only to come out on top, and she sings the song that we wish we could-without public embarrassment.

6. "We Both Reached for the Gun" from Chicago

Chicago is probably the only show where, in my opinion, the movie is better than the stage production, but you can't go wrong with any version of this song. "Cell Block Tango" is a classic, as are "Roxie," and "All That Jazz." But this song is probably the funniest in the show, with its commentary on the media through visuals of Roxie and the press as puppets controlled by Billy, the puppet master. It's catchy, entertaining and a great way to cheer up.

7. "Bring It On" from Bring It On

This song, similar to the "Legally Blonde" choice, starts out slowly and builds to an anthem that will encourage anyone in a slump. The show is adapted from a movie, but it's almost entirely different, and it's much better, in my opinion. Set after Campbell, the main character, has reached a low point, the music and lyrics are full of power and newfound strength that make the listener feel ready to take on the world. Smoke comes up from the ground, balls of fire form in your palms, and the spotlight is on you. After a few listens, you're ready to bring the "wrath of God" to fight those who wronged you.

8."Times Are Hard For Dreamers" from Amelie

This song is more of a ballad than the others on this list, but its steadfast, quiet optimism is the perfect antidote for someone who needs a little encouragement but doesn't quite feel like dancing around the room. It's great for new beginnings, or just daydreaming and reflecting on where you are in life. It is a great reminder to stay in touch with the dreamer in all of us, as well as being content and even proud of who we are.

9. "Hard to be the Bard" from Something Rotten

Okay, I'm not trying to take away Fun Home's win for Best Musical at the 2015 Tony Awards, but this show is such a gem. Christian Borle rightfully won a Tony for his role as William Shakespeare, and Brian d'Arcy James was, to me, at least the runner up for his award. I could have picked several different songs from the show for this list, but I had to go with this one. From the witty lyrics to the infectious tune, this song (and really the whole show) is delightful. I also highly recommend "Right Hand Man," because it's a joy to sing and Heidi Blickenstaff deserves more love.

10. "The Abduction" from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Get ready to raise your glass for seven minutes of absolute chaos. This song is a surefire way to lift your spirits after a taxing day, or just releasing pent up energy. It is a masterful mix of different tempos, so you don't tire yourself our too quickly, but it definitely keeps you on your toes. It's an escape from the world, providing listeners with a song allowing them to just let go. As Pierre puts it, "Here's to happiness, freedom and life!"


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From This Author Student Blogger: Alexandra Lang