Les Mis Songs- Choosing a Favorite

Musical theatre fans know that in a musical they have their favorite song. There is an exception to that, and that is in Les Mis. Why do I think that is? I think it is a combination of things: the passion, the epic nature, the powerful nature, and the level of emotion. There is something found in the songs that has made Les Mis last so long in the West End, and had made it keep on touring throughout the World. The songs are key to any great musical- they are the first step- then the characters and plot.

On My Own- this is one of my favorite songs in the musical. It is perfect for Eponine. It is about her unrequited love for Marius while still giving some insight into her life outside of Marius. It perfectly complements her character- it shows just how strong of a character she is. It also shows how strong and deep her love for Marius is. A beautifully heartbreaking song, which can be sung in so many ways- different emotions can be shown each time. This easily can be my favorite song from Les Mis, but the same applies to a number of other songs from Les Mis.

A Little Fall of Rain- this song ends Eponine’s story. She has sacrificed herself after seeing a gun aimed at Marius. This is the most intimate moment Marius and Eponine have. After Eponine collapsed in Marius’ arms, he realized she was dying, and he was devastated. Despite how he felt, he ended up staying with her to the end. A bittersweet scene- you do feel devastated for BOTH Eponine and Marius, but happy for Eponine because she is in the arms of Marius. He is there for her, and is comforting her. You get to see how much compassion Marius is capable of. This is my favorite death scene in Les Mis.

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables- While “On My Own” can easily be my favorite solo, I can’t help but think about how this song can also be that song. Devastatingly heartbreaking-more heartbreaking than “On My Own”. It perfectly complements Marius- the rebellion has ended, and Marius is the only one who comes out alive. He lost all of his friends, and is now dealing with survivor’s guilt. Marius is my favorite survivor in Les Mis, and has become almost a core favorite character.

One Day More- the perfect act I finale. Do I have to say more? This easily could be my favorite song from Les Mis song too. There is no way to describe what you are feeling in this number. It is one of my all-favorite musical theatre finales.

Bring Him Home- This song is another song that can be my favorite song from Les Mis. This further highlights the love Valjean has for God, and shows his love for Cosette in a way. After all, he went to the barricade to protect and save Marius, the revolutionary his adopted daughter loves, from dying. It sounds like a prayer.

Do You Hear the People Sing- This song is a very passionate song. It perfectly shows the passion the students have for the rebellion. It easily gets stuck in your head- it got stuck in my head after seeing the movie the first time.

Drink With Me- The thing I really love about this song is how intimate it is. It shows a vulnerable side to the students. It is sadder than it seems to be- you will understand after seeing it a first time. Once you know what is going to happen to them, the song becomes heartbreaking. This is the last moment they will truly get to spend time with each other. They know this is a last cause, and that they will most likely die, and feel hopeless. At least, they still have their brotherly love for each other, and they still have the passion.

Finale- the perfect finale to a musical. The first half is heartbreaking. Valjean is dying, and he is alone in a church. However, you know he has become a better person, and that he has redeemed himself, become “saint-like”. You might think he will die alone, without anyone by his side. Soon enough, Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in-law, come to his side. I think there is some symbolism in the deaths- Fantine, Eponine, Gavroche, Enjolras and the students, and now Valjean will have died with someone with them- have you noticed a pattern with these characters? They know how to love- it doesn’t matter if it is love for a child, love romantically (even if it falls unrequited), or love for a country. After Valjean dies, you are heartbroken, but then a reprise of “Do you Hear the People Sing” starts- you are still heartbroken, but you feel hope- I think the ending represents heaven. You do not leave devastated- you leave the theatre uplifted and with hope.

See what I mean? There is something about each song that makes it hard to choose which is your favorite. Whether that is the bittersweet “A Little Fall of Rain”, the heartbreaking “On My Own”, the devastating “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, the intimate “Drink With Me”, etc….. So many of the songs have something special about them: you can see the spirituality shine in some of them: “Bring Him Home”, “Come to Me”, “A Little Fall of Rain”, “Finale”, “What Have I Done” are examples of that.

Do you think Les Mis is hard to chose your favorite song, and why? I gave a few examples.

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Journey with the Les Mis movie

As many musical fanatics know, there is always a way you become a fan of a musical. It is either by songs, stage, or film. Where did my love of Les Mis begin? It was by the musical movie.

I first saw the Les Mis film in December 2012. I came into the film with a very slim knowledge. I knew of the song, “I Dreamed a Dream”. I barely knew the plot. I knew of the actresses, Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway. I was unsure coming into the film- I only went to listen to “I Dreamed a Dream”. Right after Fantine died, I came to a realization- Les Mis is a tragedy. I was shocked and confused after realizing that. After all, I never knew musicals could be tragic. I did not know how to exactly respond. By the end of the film, I did have “Do you Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head, but at the same time, I did not know if I liked Les Mis. So I had a rocky start to Les Mis. I was NOT an emotional wreck watching Les Mis this time around.

Fantine singing "I Dreamed a Dream" during the film, Les Mis

Despite not knowing if I liked Les Mis, I started researching the musical. I also wanted to listen to the songs on Pandora. I have no idea why I wanted to do that.

March 2013- I don’t why I did this, but I decided to watch the film a 2nd time. Due to knowing the film’s tragic nature, I was able to calm down. I got so much more out of it. This time around, I truly became a fan of Les Mis. By the end, I felt uplifted. I was thinking “why would such a tragic musical make you feel uplifted?”. So I continued researching it. By Summer 2013, I was officially obsessed with Les Mis. I know the 2nd time was when I began to have a beautiful bond to Eponine; I have no idea when I began to have an emotional connection to the other characters I have an emotional connection to. If I didn’t give the film a 2nd chance, I never would have a Les Mis fan.

Eponine singing "On My Own" during the film, Les Mis

Summer 2013- I think my family was on vacation in Florida, and we were in target in the DVD section. My mom told me, will you find it? I did not know what she was talking about at first. She told me- you know what I am talking about. I realized- my mom was talking about Les Mis. My emotional response to the film grew over time.

Present- now it is 2019, and I have watched the film so many times. Now, I have to buy another copy of the film. Usually in that amount of time, I don’t wear out a DVD. I still am an emotional wreck watching it. This film was why I love Les Mis, which led to my obsession with Les Mis. Without the film, Les Mis wouldn’t have been in my life.

The Hopeful and Heartbreaking Love Triangle

Here we are venturing into the Les Misérables love triangle. It is less complex than the Wicked love triangle. It is between Cosette x Marius x Eponine: in this one Marius and Cosette are the couple while Eponine has the unrequited love. It is one of the major storylines that I am emotionally connected to. Of everyone in the love triangle, Eponine is my favorite character.

MAJOR SPOILERS:

I will start by bringing up Eponine and Cosette’s childhood. At one point both Eponine and Cosette lived together. Eponine’s parents are the Thenardiers, who abuse Cosette and treat her like a servant. Eponine, on the other hand, is spoiled and appeared to be loved by her parents. Then Valjean arrives and rescues Cosette.

You already know the Thenardiers are abusive. In “Master of the House”, you learn that they also are pickpockets. You start to get a general idea of the environment Eponine is going to grow up in. You already know Cosette is going to have a better life. So the girls situations are reversed- while Cosette’s horrible childhood improves; Eponine’s life gets worse. That is one of the things that intrigues me- the switch that happens between the girls.

Eponine’s family ends up living in extreme poverty. Eponine’s parents have raised her to be a thief and criminal. You realize they do not care or love their daughter. They just use her for their advantage. She serves as watchdog for the law. She wasn’t shown kindness growing up- it never happens to her. That never happened- it eventually did happen- Marius was the only person who treated her with kindness. The kindness that Marius showed her made her fall in love with him. I am glad he was in her life- she needed Marius even though he didn’t love her romantically. Soon enough, Marius and Cosette bump into each other and fall in love with each other. Eponine is well aware that the two have fallen in love.

Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius is quite heartbreaking and painful. After all, he is the only good thing in her life. Despite that, she is the girl who would do anything for him. She risked her life several times for him no matter the cost. She ended up finding Cosette for him when he asked her to. She ended up protecting Marius and Cosette from her father and his gang. Her love for Marius is so strong that she ended up sacrificing her life for him. At least in the end, she died in the arms of Marius= at least she was with him. Her death scene was the happiest moment of her life.

I love Marius and Cosette as a couple. They are the ones who help bring hope to this tragedy. Marius had to survive the rebellion in order to keep hope alive. They are such an adorable couple in so many ways. Both of these characters are so sweet and kind. In the end, although they lost so many important people in their lives, at least they still have each other. Marius was the only survivor from the the barricade and Cosette lost her adopted father.

The love triangle offers a lot. I love all three characters. Yes, Eponine is my favorite character in the love triangle, but of all three Marius is my favorite survivor. I have never found the love triangle to be silly. Even though I understand that Marius and Eponine are not friends, but neighbors in the book, I love that their friendship is in the musical.

Les Mis Survivors

Like many people know, Les Mis is tragedy. That means, characters do die in Les Mis. At the same time, there are those that do survive. Les Mis is the “everybody dies” musical- there are four characters left in Les Mis. 

Spoilers: 

Thenardiers- These two characters are the true villains of Les Mis. They are abusive, despicable, greedy, and unloving. They only care about themselves- they are pick-pockets. They are the parents of Gavroche and Eponine. They kicked Gavroche out at quite a young age and raised Eponine to be a thief and criminal. They do not love their children and do not care that those two died at the barricade. They are two of the ones to survive in the end. In the book, they are not funny- HOWEVER, in the musical, they serve as comic relief- I am so glad that they serve that purpose because it is much-needed. 


Cosette- She is Fantine’s daughter, who becomes Valjean’s adopted daughter. I love her much more than those Thenardiers. She used to live with the Thenardiers. As a child, she was horribly abused by them having to work as a servant. She had a strong spirit as a child- having hope she will be rescued, and she was rescued by Jean Valjean. She was overprotected and sheltered by Jean Valjean- I don’t blame that for happening since they were always on the run from Javert. She becomes part of a love triangle between Marius, Eponine, and herself. She is the symbol of light and hope in this tragic. She is a wonderful character- it is such a shame that she is hated by so many people- I love her. It might seem like she has her happily ever after, but she lost her adopted father. All she has left is Marius, the love of her life. 

Marius-Just like Cosette, disliked for the most absurd of reasons. Of all the survivors, he is my favorite character. He is brave, awkward, compassionate, kind, and sweet. He might seem shallow on the surface, but he is a complex character. People don’t understand why he is oblivious to Eponine’s love for him: don’t forgot she never told him she loved him. He had a lot going on: he is a revolutionary and fell in love for the first time. People say he never treated Eponine fairly- once again I disagree- all because of the errands he asks Eponine to do. I believe at the beginning of act II, he sent her to deliver that letter in order to protect her from the uprising in hopes to prevent her from getting hurt or worse killed.  Compassion- I do see the compassion in Marius the most in “A Little of Rain”- this is Eponine’s death scene- Marius is there for her and never leaves her side in this moment-that is COMPASSION right there. By fighting at the barricade- that makes him brave. People also think he gets his happily ever after- think again- he lost all of his friends at the barricades- Eponine, Enjolras, Gavroche, and all the students died at the barricade. There is something about Marius’ awkward nature that makes him more charming. Marius and Cosette’s love for each other bring HOPE to this tragic tale- they are meant for each other. 

Unpopular Opinions in Musicals (Part 2)

I know I did an unpopular opinion on musicals before, but I decided to do it again. 

Major and Minor Spoilers:

No Hamilton Interest- many know I am a musical theatre fanatic. However, I have no interest in seeing Hamilton. I am listened to some songs on Youtube, but I have felt “meh” on them. If that happens, I never want to see the musical. So no way I want to see Hamilton. Many people respond by saying “but your’e a musical fan. 

Christine and Raoul- I love Christine and Raoul as a couple. I do not want it any other way. They are meant for each other. Phantom is too dangerous for Christine- he acts in revenge, is a murderer, and is destructive. So I am always a Christine and Raoul couple fan. 

Les Mis love triangle is not silly- You saw that right. The Les Mis plot line is so carefully planned that if you get rid of one plot line, the entire storyline falls apart. I love all three characters- with Eponine being my favorite character in the love triangle. Marius now is almost a core favorite character. Marius and Cosette are meant to be together and Eponine is meant to have the unrequited love especially because Cosette represents hope and light. After all, I am fascinated by the switch that happens between Eponine and Cosette. 

Love Marius and Eponine as friends- Yes, their friendship is NOT in the book. I love how it is in the musical. Marius never mistreats Eponine, and she always sees the kindness in him. His kindness moves her to fall in love with him. He is the only person to treat her with kindness- it is all she has in life. People think he did not treat her fairly- I disagree- he did treat her fairly. I know it seems that way when he asked her to do those errands for him. Look, at the barricade- I believe he sent her away with the letter to keep her safe from being hurt or worse KILLED. When he discovered she is dying- he stayed with her and held and comforted her- that is COMPASSION. I love them as friends- he never treated her unfairly. Without Marius in her life, she would not have any light- she needed him in her life even if he did not love her. I loved how he was with her at the time of her death- that was one of the happiest moments of her life. 

Want Marius and Cosette together- I want them together. They are perfect for each other. These two bring hope to the tale. By the end, all they have left is each other. Marius lost Eponine, Enjolras and the rest of his friends and Cosette lost her adopted father. I love the two of them together- I know people say “he should have been with Eponine”- I disagree”. I always wanted him with Cosette- once you understand why a love triangle is set up the way it is- you love it more. 

Marius is not a jerk- I HATE it when people call him a jerk. I did explain a lot of why he is not a jerk in an earlier unpopular opinion. He is kind, sweet, awkward and compassionate. If he was a jerk, Eponine and Cosette  NEVER would have fallen in love with him. He ended up fighting at the barricade- that shows an incredible act of bravery. At the beginning of act II, I believe he sent Eponine away with that letter to protect her from the uprising. His best act of compassion was at the time of Eponine’s death- he stayed with her till the end. He truly cared about her- it does show- he was devastated in that scene. He is not a jerk one bit- he is fully aware of Eponine situation- right after she died, he said to the students- “her name was Eponine, her was life was cold and dark, yet she was unafraid”. If it wasn’t for Marius, Eponine’s life would not have a source of light period. 

Top Ten Songs From Les Mis

Oh Boy, how can earth can I pick my top ten songs from Les Mis. That to me is like picking a needle in a haystack. Les Mis’ songs are just that brilliant, but will just do the best I can do. This musical is filled with emotional songs that touch you in such a way that even words alone can’t describe them.

Extremely Spoiler Heavy:

1. On My Own- this will always be in my top ten no matter what. It is just a very beautiful song with a lot of depth and strength filled with emotion. I have this very beautiful connection to Eponine. I love being able to experience just how deep and strong her love for Marius goes, which is perfectly expressed through this song. It even gives you a glimpse of her life outside of him through this song. This even has become my favorite solo in the entire solo. This song can be portrayed in several different ways: each way a different group of emotions can be shown.

2. A Little Fall of Rain- this song is filled with emotion in a very touching and bittersweet way, but super heartbreaking. This is after all Eponine’s death scene. Marius is devastated  in this duet, but he does the right thing by being there for her. It allows her to be happy for once in her life. It is packed full of emotions. It really shows just much Marius really cared for her. It shows just how compassionate he really is. Even though he is breaking, he stays brave for her. There is just something about this song that touches me in such a beautiful way. This just happens to be my favorite death scene in the entire musical. This is once again another song that can be portrayed in several different ways- for instance, Marius can show his grief and compassion and Eponine can express her emotions, pain, and dying in various ways.

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3. One Day More- this song just had to be there. Just the perfect act I one closer: do I have to say more?

4. Do You Hear the People Sing- another perfect ensemble song. It perfectly expresses the students’ passion for the uprising. You can feel their fire, their passion, and it makes you root for them even if you know what is to happen in the end.

5. Epilogue- This includes both a death and a reprise of Do You the Hear the People Sing making it show both the tragedy and the spirituality of the show. Valjean is dying, but like with most characters, he doesn’t die alone. Cosette and Marius arrive so he gets to die with Cosette, his adopted daughter, and Marius, his now son-in-law by his side. So during that death, you are feeling very heartbroken, but once that reprise happens, you start feeling this sense of hope. I feel like this version of Do You Hear the People represents heaven. This shows how Les Mis perfectly mixes tragedy with elements of spirituality. Perfect ending to such a heartbreaking musical.

6. Empty Chairs At Empty Tables- of all the characters who don’t die, Marius is my favorite character. That is part of why this song is in my top ten. It shows all the trauma Marius faced at the barricade. He had to witness the death of Eponine and later all of his friends got killed. This song is extremely devastating: I even think it is even more devastating than On My Own. It reminds you of everything that happened at the barricade.

7. Drink With Me- What I love about this song is the intimate feeling found between all the students. It doesn’t seem that sad the first time you watch Les Mis. But once you know the fate of the uprising, it gets heartbreaking. This is when you really see how much they really care about each other. When you know this is really the last moment they will be with each other, it really hurts. You are faced with the reality that all of the students, but Marius, will die if you know what is going to happen.

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8. Bring Him Home- even this song does the same thing that Drink With Me does. Once you know what is going to happen, it affects this song. Valjean is singing this song hoping Marius will survive. It is just a very beautiful song that is a prayer and shows the importance of God in the musical. It reminds me of the reality that Marius will be the only one to make it out alive. That really hurts.

9. I Dreamed a Dream- Yes, I was going to include this song. Once again; another heartbreaking song. It is hard listening to this song; it hurts me much more in the movie than the stage show due to placement. It shows how Fantine got caught up in the situation she is in. Sad reality she has to put up with.

10. A Heart Full of Love- this song has a incredible brilliance behind it. It is mostly this romantic duet between Marius and Cosette so I am literally feeling so happy for the two of them. But just out of nowhere, Eponine starts singing. Than I have no idea what on earth to feel: I am still feeling happy for Marius and Cosette but then I am feeling heartbroken for Eponine- it becomes this jumble-load of emotions being thrown at me.

 

Literally about all the songs I put are heartbreaking songs. That is the reality that is Les Mis. About every single song is a heartbreaking song; there is only about two or so songs that give you a breather. One of the unique things about the Les Mis songs is that are just multiple ways to portray the songs.

I couldn’t literally pick just my top ten; just picked ten for now; but some will always be there no matter what. One of the Look Downs, Red and Black and some others could have been on this list. It is nearly impossible to pick my top ten Les Mis songs.