Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Belated Valentine's Day Top 10

Ah, Valentine's Day. That special day of unbridled romance, chocolates, fancy dinners, Durex, price-hiked flowers, and probably some disappointment.

....And romantic music!!! What better gets us in the mood than some Marvin Gaye or some Righteous Brothers, stimulating our sex organs into a pottery-spinning frenzy?! What makes our hearts soar and eyes tear up better than a song proclaiming everlasting love and devotion? I'd like to commemorate this Valentine's Day with MY Top 10 favorite musical love songs.

The world's general top three favorites seem to be "If I Loved You", "All I Ask Of You", and "Some Enchanted Evening" (this one actually made my list). "If I Loved You"is a truly beautiful and heartfelt song, but I think it's too timid for Valentine's Day. I need a love song that screams of love from the rooftops. "If I Loved You" is all about what you would say if you were brave enough to say it (a cop out in my opinion). "All I Ask Of You" is also a beautiful song, with even more beautiful music. But in the context of the show, I think Raoul is more about comforting and assuring Christine's protection, who is so vulnerable, she enlists Raoul as her personal bodyguard-slash-boyfriend for the rest of time.  I think at this point in the show (if they were smart), they should be talking about searching the opera house for that stalker guy in a mask who murdered that poor stagehand about five minutes ago (and maybe getting Christine some therapy for her Stockholm Syndrome). But no, you're just gonna sit on the roof and proclaim your love for each other. Good for you.
You're even more beautiful up close than when I stare at your through the trick mirror!

I'm going against the grain and making a (short) case for each of my selections, for I believe they contain some of the most romantic, sentimental, schmaltzy, beautiful lyrics and/or music to ever grace a Broadway love song. So allow me to present (in no particular order of preference, just alphabetical) my 2014 Top 10 Favorite Broadway Love Songs:

1. How Could I Ever Know? - Secret Garden
In this gut-wrencher of a song, long-suffering widow, Archibald Craven (played by the am-AH-zing Mandy Patinkin) is visited by his deceased wife, Lily. She apologizes for the pain he's endured from her death and encourages him to stop mourning her and be a presence in their son's life. I mean, of course it's not her fault she's dead, so she doesn't really have any reason to be apologetic!  But to cross back over into the world of the living to help your husband move on after tragically losing you?  That's love, man...

2. Love Can't Happen - Grand Hotel
I never personally believed in the concept of "love at first sight." But Brent Barrett makes me want to be a believer!  Barrett's character, Baron Felix, meets an aging ballerina while attempting to rob her hotel room and "loses himself completely." The sweeping score and climactic belting turn me into a swooning mess of estrogen.

3. Love Song - Pippin
I'm a tad obsessed with this song at the moment. Pippin was the most recent show I've seen (technically Chicago was the most recent, but they were on the same day), so it's still fresh in my mind. There's nothing dramatic or grand about this song. But I think it's a very sweet, intimate song that magnifies the importance of all the "little things" that make a relationship special.

4. Not A Day Goes By - Merrily We Roll Along
I know this song's about a breakup, but you can't appreciate happiness without a little sadness. Even after a relationship ends, the love doesn't necessarily end, as much as you may want it to. In the misunderstood flop, Merrily We Roll Along, the done-wrong wife sings of how her two-timing husband is still in her mind and her heart. Here, the queen of the heart-wrench, Bernadette Peters practically crushes her own soul on stage for the sake of our earballs' entertainment. Bless you, Bernadette!

5. Say It Somehow - Light In The Piazza
Out of my entire Top 10, I gotta say this is the song that reduces me to a blubbering mess the most (especially right when she says "I always understand"). ERMERGERRRRRD!!! It's such a passionate and pure song that breaks and transcends language barriers. Even though Fabrizio and Clara aren't able to easily articulate their feelings, they still know each other's hearts and get the message across even when words fail. Plus a little touch of looming danger at the end is always fun!

6. Some Enchanted Evening - South Pacific
I can't fight the masses completely. This song is good. Really good. Plus it never hurts when Brian Stokes Mitchell (in a tux... a white tux!) sings it. Seriously, if dark chocolate had a voice.... Such a lovely song about spotting a moment that you know is special and vowing to hold onto it.*Sigh* Good stuff.

7. Something Wonderful - The King & I
Lady Thiang pleads with "Meesus Ah-na" to assist her husband, the King, with his kingly affairs, as he is unable to tackle them on his own. I like this song because it's all about loving someone who is not just imperfect, but someone who truly requires your help to get by. It's tough enough to be in a regular, mutual relationship. But to be in love with someone with serious faults who needs you more that they realize and may or may not show appreciation for you? That's tough. And incredibly loving.

8. Song On The Sand - La Cage Aux Folles
This is a very sweet "we-stood-the-test-of-time" song. Georges recalls meeting his longtime love, Albin, how special that day was, and how their love is just as strong today.

9. The Next Ten Minutes - The Last 5 Years
The song starts out with the small request of sharing the next 10 minutes together. Then by the end of the song, he wants ten lifetimes with her. The musical follows Cathy and Jamie through their 5 year relationship: Jamie starting at the beginning and going forward, Cathy starting at the end and working back. For this one song in the show, they meet in the middle and sing together. This is the one time when they're in sync in their relationship. I think I love the harmony at the end of this song more than anything. It just screams chemistry!

10. Unexpected Song - Song & Dance
I don't know much about this show, but I do love this song.  There's nothing more exciting than new love blossoming. This song highlights every emotion, every thrill, and every butterfly just beautifully.

So there you have it folks. My Broadway Love Songs Top 10 of 2014! Agree? Disagree? Did I leave any out?  Share yours and we'll discuss!

Honorable Mentions:
The More You Ruv Someone - Avenue Q

The Song That Goes Like This - Spamalot

Touch Me - Spring Awakening (this is more of a sex song than a romantic song, but I find it pretty hot)

Songs With A Person's Name in the Title
* Johanna - Sweeney Todd
* Maria - West Side Story
* Dulcinea - Man Of La Mancha

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