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Monday, 14 February 2011

My Five Favourite Romantic-ish Musical Songs

I am not a fan of Valentine's Day. We could put this down to resentment that my boyfriend lives elsewhere, disgust at the growing commercialisation of absolutely everything, or perhaps just a disregard for everybody else's happiness... No, it couldn't be that one. I too frequently put the happiness of every human, mouse and child above my own.

Anyway, it still stands that I dislike this day of the year but I do find musicals to be an absolute treasure-trove of odd little love songs. Since I adore delving into musical scores at the best of times I thought I'd share some of my favourites.

5. 'Baby, Dream Your Dream' from Sweet Charity
Sung by Charity's two friends, examining the realities of a happy-ever-after, the song tells of boredom, impossibly-gained credit and family quarrels. It concludes with a painful reminder that, even though it isn't perfect, it's what these women want:

Baby, dream your dream,
Close your eyes and try it,
Dream of three fat kids,
Brother would I buy it!
Life could be frozen peaches and cream,
If only I could, if only I could,
Dream, dream, dream our dream.

4. 'Hate Me Please' from Robert and Elizabeth
This delightful little song depicts the struggle of forcing yourself not to love when you quite plainly need to love. Interspersed with several drifts back into a poignant ballad, the singers try in vain to force their affections out of them. Some of my favourite lines:

There's just a slender chance a beautiful romance
Would not survive if you would bury me alive!

I'd count it as a favour if you'd shun me, shock me, tear my heart in two,
Halve it up and calve it up and serve it to the zoo.

Wound me, wing me, stab me, sting me,
Something's to be flung - then fling me!
Someone's to be clung to... cling me.

3. 'Love is Always Lovely in the End' from The Drowsy Chaperone
A rather dotty woman draws on some loved-up couples to illustrate how love endures: Samson and Delilah, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Romeo and Juliet.

2. 'Opposites' from Blitz
This takes up the old adage that opposites attract in a delightful way that promises an exciting life ahead. Lionel Bart was a genius in getting to the humour in things, especially love.

Two similar kinds of poodles
Bring up an upper-pedigree pup,
But two opposite kinds of mongrels
Produce a pooch you'd love.

Where I see black, you see white,
Wrong to me, to you seems right.

1. 'Losing my Mind' from Follies
This is just an outstanding song about love and longing. I don't think I've heard a better analysis of how it feels to lose your train of thought as you stand in the middle of a room and drift away to forbidden places. Of course, it's Sondheim, and he expresses almost anything better than anyone else.

All afternoon, doing every little chore,
The thought of you stays bright,
Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor,
Not going left, not going right.

I dim the lights and think about you,
Spend sleepless nights to think about you,
You said you loved me, or were you just being kind?
Or am I losing my mind?

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