Why is that almost always the best musicals tend to have negative emotions within their songs? When I was younger, I discovered that I preferred the musicals that have the negative emotions within the songs. It was at a time where all musicals were happy. I understood the negative emotions differently than I do now. Heartbreak was an emotion that I wasn’t even aware of. I don’t have much recollection of the negative emotions so long ago. The best way to trace how far the negative emotions have come is to use the musical, Wicked.
I started to understand the emotional nature of musicals through Wicked. I actually knew that “I’m Not That Girl” was a sad song since middle school. By high school I was definitely knew that the song was a song dealing with a love triangle. That was how I viewed it for most of my Wicked journey. When I first discovered heartbreak through “Les Mis”, the emotions of other musicals changed drastically. Just like “On My Own” from Les Mis, “I’m Not That Girl” is also an unrequited love song. Through that shocking realization, “I’m Not That Girl” started to become a heartbreaking song and I saw the insight of it through memorizing the lyrics.
Another drastic change of the negative emotions in Wicked happened with the song “No Good Deed”. For the longest time ever, I always hated that song and never got anything out of it. I never could pick up on any of its emotions. But when I actually saw Wicked the fourth time, I finally got something out of the song and was finally able to pick up on its emotions of anger and frustration. Through the changes of “I’m Not That Girl” and “No Good Deed”, I felt the most vulnerable the fourth time around.
For me, I feel like the negative emotions are in the musicals I prefer are due to the fact that those emotions help make a musical more well-rounded and even more complex. When a show has a good deal of conflict, the negative emotions are usually in the songs themselves. Having the negative emotions makes it easier to emotionally connect to the characters. Those shows feel a lot more real and help make the experience even more worth it. The negative emotions have strengthened a lot since I first encountered them through the happy musicals.
Having sad musicals in my life actually gave me a bigger appreciation of the negative musical emotions. By seeing musicals through the perspectives of Rent and Les Mis, I was able to understand the negative emotions so much better.
It is very important to keep an eye on the negative emotions in the happy musicals. I am aware that the negative emotions have a few limitations when it comes to them. Some musicals are not home to them like “Music Man” and you need musicals like those to exist for balance.
The newest musical of my life that happened to have negative emotions in the songs is “Newsies”, which happened during “Santa Fe”. Sometimes you are conflicted as to whether or not you actually felt the negative emotions the first time you see a new musical. The negative emotions in musicals tend to develop steady over time. The happy musicals are the shows where the mildest layers of sad do exist. The happy musicals can even consist of negative emotions being powerful.
There is an amazing strength when it comes to the negative emotions. There is an incredible fragility when it comes to them as well. Sometimes it has either an innocence or an incredible vulnerability or an epic quality or a powerful nature. The heartbreaking songs tend to be filled with such beauty. A song can be sad without being heartbreaking. True the negative emotions do hurt when it comes to musicals, but are so worth it especially if you have the emotional connection to the characters, songs, and plot lines.