Dear Adele Bryant,
I understand that some of you may be confused, probably thinking, ‘Why is she writing a letter to herself in a blog?’ To answer? Three simple words: Dear Evan Hansen.
Throughout this new series of blogs, I am going to be reviewing Broadway musicals from a teenage point of view. I am going to listen to each musical’s album in a single sitting and then review my favorites of the batch.
I have always immensely enjoyed everything about musicals and the emotion that is conveyed through songs in each scene. I love the pure talent that is needed to be able to communicate the dialogue and feelings through music. The art of Broadway and the lyricists who so devotedly write songs for productions is truly something I admire. I am a firm believer of the notion that you don’t need money to experience musical theater, and I believe that by listening to an album you can experience the story without having to buy tickets to a show.
So, with that being said, here is my purely opinionated review of my top three favorite songs of “Dear Evan Hansen” and a lyrical breakdown of each one.
FIRST INSTALLMENT: DEAR EVAN HANSEN
3. For Forever
To start off, I would just like to acknowledge the pure and overwhelming feeling over nostalgia that comes with every word you hear of this song. The lyrical genius of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul truly and absolutely shine throughout the song. Ben Platt’s voice and musical choices really bring out all of the emotions of the song that you would not feel if it was simply written on paper. His choice of tone when the last verse comes around absolutely is perfect for the lyrics and the change that occurs slightly in the words.
The wording of the lyrics throughout the song gives the listener the feeling of being back in the days of their childhood. Pasek and Paul do an amazing job of giving very descriptive, yet relatable scenarios that entail the simplicity of childhood and friendships. The use of imagery throughout the lyrics helps the listener to make a whole scenario in their mind.
I enjoyed every second of the song, and I am a sucker for songs that really pull emotion from the listener. That being said, one of the only reasons this song was not my choice for number one or two was that it wasn’t the most emotional of the whole album. The song was absolutely amazing which has made these decisions all the harder.
2. Words Fail
“Words Fail” is a tragically truthful song. The song flawlessly portrays the whole process of human denial. Throughout the song, Ben Platt magnificently projects the emotions that Evan Hansen goes through when he ponders if the life he had achieved would all go away if he truthfully showed himself. The song really tugs on the heart strings with the relatability of asking yourself if you are ready to truly be yourself.
As someone who has struggled all my life with my own identity, the wording of the lyrics authentically represents how many people deal with feeling like they don’t deserve the life they have. The feeling of being out of place is something that I would say 95% of teens have experienced, and working through those thoughts is something I still deal with to this day. So seeing this issue being portrayed in such a beautiful way, honestly, made me very emotional.
So, in regards to relatability, “Words Fail” takes the cake. It is a magnificent, sorrowful portrayal of the human experience, more specifically, the hardships of the human experience. It shines a light on the relevance of doubtful thinking in the minds of almost everyone.
Best. Song. Ever.
I have to preface by saying “Requiem” may not be the happiest song on the album, but it will have you in a million pieces questioning the meaning of life, and most importantly, death. It is such an honest song in every sense.
The whole concept of Zoe Murphy refusing to mourn her brother because she feels as if he doesn’t deserve her grief is intriguing to think about. The intentions of the writers came across beautifully as it changes from Zoe’s point of view to her mother’s. The duality of going from Zoe, who thinks of her brother as selfish, to her mother, who says the same lyric of “I will sing no requiem” but with different intentions, gives the listener a sense of closeness to the characters in the musical.
The mother is singing about how she will not be sorrowful, because she knows her son is still with her, while Zoe is singing about how she feels as if her brother’s decision was selfish and therefore she sings as if she is angry with him. Zoe’s verses in the song are mostly centered around the concept of how she views her brother as the villain in her story. Zoe’s mother also sings about refusing to sing a mournful melody, but for her, the reason is because she still thinks her son is with her. Some would think that with the dueling intentions, the song may be confusing, but the writers do an amazing job of differentiating with slight wording changes.
My favorite lyric of the whole song is “‘Cause when the villains fall, the kingdoms never weep.” The line completely entrances the listener with emotion allowing them to imagine how Zoe feels about her brother. The two sides of how people process tragedy and loss are perfectly depicted in the lyrics created by the writer. The narrative created throughout the whole song pulls such emotion that I would be surprised if someone listened to it and said they didn’t feel a thing.
The authenticity of this whole album is something that really touches the heart of the listener. The songs on the album completely encapsulate the human experience from start to finish. From topics of love and loss, to dealing with the aftermath of both, this musical honestly portrays the conflicting feelings that are a natural accessory to life.
I wish I had something to really critique about this album, but the truth is, I enjoyed every moment of the music and the experience that came with it. The creative lyricism really enhances the whole experience that the listener goes on from beginning to end with this album. Really the only thing I have to say about this album- truly amazing.