Guest Poster: Melisa from The Suburban Scrawl!
Everyone knows that music is an emotional thing. It can take you back to another time, a specific moment in your life. It can cheer you; it can mellow you out. It can give you strength; it can inspire. Most people have certain “it” songs that can stir them up. I know that I do.
I have seen the musical “Wicked” three times, so far. (I was totally over the moon a couple of days ago when I heard that it’s coming back to Chicago in December: I’m saving for #4!) I won’t go on and on about how much I love this musical; the fact that I spent money on it three times already should tell you all you need to know about that.
Two main themes run throughout the fiber of the musical: the importance of fighting for what you believe in and the question of what is good and what is bad (or, wicked). Driving these ideas home were strong performances each time I sat in the audience, by the two female leads. Two songs in particular, “For Good” and “Defying Gravity”, made me sob the big, ugly tears. THAT’S how good the performances were.
The song “For Good” is about how a friendship can impact a person’s life:
“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you… “
The placement of that song within the musical is, of course, perfect (duh!), and, well, that along with the idea of a friendship so powerful has me through half a box of tissues before the song is half over.
“Defying Gravity” is the song that is performed at the end of Act I, just before the curtains close for intermission. The television commercial for “Wicked” (at least, when it was playing here in Chicago), ended with a line from the song:
“And nobody, in all of Oz, no Wizard that there ever is or was,
Is ever gonna bring meeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn!”
Naturally, I saw that commercial about five million times before I actually saw “Wicked” for the first time. I heard that line over and over…about five million times. It meant nothing to me, really, because other than knowing that “Wicked” was the backstory behind “The Wizard of Oz”, I had no knowledge of the plot.
Once I saw it? The scale of the production, especially during “Defying Gravity”, was MIND-BLOWING. When the actress who played Elphaba in Chicago (sadly, I never saw Kristin and Idina perform it live) sang that line that I had heard five million times, I finally got it. And…then came the waterworks.
I’m not sure I have ever—IN MY LIFE—heard two songs that have affected me so deeply as these two, because even now, a couple of years after the last time I sat in the theater audience, I can listen to the soundtrack of the OG Broadway cast and, within the first 15 seconds of either song (sung by Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel), be crumpled up in those big, ugly tears (I did it yesterday!). At my computer: crying. In the family room: crying. Even in the car: crying. Sure, I have other favorite songs that pull at my heartstrings and provoke various emotions deep within me, but not as much as these two.
What about you? Are there any songs that, upon hearing the first few notes, rattle you to your very core?