A couple weeks ago, the webcomic Darths & Droids had an episode that quoted two songs from Les Misérables. In forum comments, those who recognized the quotes linked to the relevant YouTube videos (At the End of the Day and Do You Hear the People Sing?), for the benefit of those of us who didn't recognize the quotes.
And I found, rather to my surprise, that I quite liked both of the songs.
I think a friend of mine who was a big Les Miz fan played me some of the songs many years ago, but they didn't have much impact. And sometime around the time I first heard of the show, I saw an article in which the writer mocked theatregoers for spending large amounts of money to see a musical about poor people, while ignoring the real people living on the streets outside the theatre. So I kind of had it in my head that I just wasn't interested in the show.
But those videos whetted my interest. I looked up the albums on iTunes and in Wikipedia, and compared song clips from the various versions, and ended up buying the Original London Cast recording—it's not as complete as the full symphonic concert recording, but I liked the performances better, from the clips I heard.
And then after a few days of the songs running through my head nonstop (really—I would wake up in the morning and they'd still be going), I checked out the DVD of the tenth-anniversary concert performance from the library and watched that. (That's what the two abovelinked video clips come from.)
And then Wednesday night something set me off, and I listened to half the London album again.
As you can tell, I really like it. I find the story compelling (more so, I think, than the novel, which I read in high school), and I like a bunch of the songs and most of the performances.
There are a couple of bits of the music that I really love. One is the stirring dramatic moment in "At the End of the Day" when the music swells under the line "At the end of the day there's another day dawning." (Around 1:08 in the abovelinked video version.) The other, possibly my favorite bit of music in the show, is the very simple sequence of notes at the end of the intro to "On My Own," just before she starts to sing the line "On my own." It's so simple a bit of melody that I figured it out on my keyboard; don't know what I like so much about it, but wow. (And I like the London version of that bit more than any of the other versions I've heard.)
And I like the rest of that song, too. It doesn't hurt that I'm a sucker for doomed romance, and for self-sacrificing sidekicks/best-friends who are more interesting characters than the romantic lead. The song itself may be a bit on the sappy side, but I like that sort of thing.
Anyway, so "On My Own" was Wednesday night's earworm. But over the course of writing this entry that night, it got gradually replaced by various others. Then Thursday morning I once again woke up with "Come to Me" running through my head, and spent most of the morning with half a dozen of the songs competing with each other for brainspace.
But I imagine sooner or later I'll get used to these songs and they'll fade into the background.
(I tweeted about Les Miz the other day, but I don't seem to have posted about it here. Wrote this entry Wednesday night; finished it Thursday night; was going to post it, but had just posted two other entries in a row, so in the interests of not overwhelming readers, am scheduling this to go live on Friday morning.)