“Are people born wicked, or have wickedness thrust upon them?”
The infamous Wicked has made its way into the blog space. (Well, the soundtrack at least.) This week I went into the magical World of Oz to explore the depths of the musical stylings of Wicked. Although I previously did have some knowledge of Wicked, I have never listened to the whole album start to finish. Let me just say this, if you are an avid Broadway fan like myself, I suggest you give this album a listen in its completion. What am I saying? If you’re an avid Broadway fan, you probably already have.
I pushed off listening to Wicked because I was convinced it was overhyped. (It was not overhyped by the way.) The vocal choices of the cast and lyrical choices of the writers makes for such an immersive experience that the listener just gets completely lost in the story.
It was so hard to pick favorites off of this soundtrack to write about because each song tells an essential part of the plot. But even though it was challenging, my human nature did its job, and I did end up picking favorites.
SECOND INSTALLMENT: WICKED
Ok, yes I know, very predictable. But the honest truth is that you just can’t cheat music. The song completely embodies the whole make-over trope in the best possible way.
It really gives perspective into both of the character’s mindset. The lyrics of the song aren’t your average “Popular girl gives less popular girl a makeover” vibes. The wording choice and responses from Elphaba to Glinda give you insight into what both characters are feeling in the moment.
Glinda is offering to give Elphie a makeover in the song, but Elphie turns down the offer numerous times. And from the what Glinda’s lines in the song portrays, she doesn’t really want to help her either. Glinda is secretly scared that if she makes Elphie more presentable, people will end up gravitating towards her instead. The lyrics give a fascinating insight to both characters and how they are feeling at the moment.
2. I’m Not That Girl
Something about Idina Menzel’s voice is just so entrancing, and I’ll repeat it time and time again. Idina Menzel just knows how to really work a song to pull emotion from the listener. Not only through her choice of vocal stylings, but even the way she enunciates her words is perfect musical theater.
In the song, Menzel’s character sings about how she is not the ideal girl that gets chosen in the end of a fairytale. While the song is specific to the character’s experience, it can also be interpreted to be relatable to almost anyone. I feel like everyone has had one time or another where they felt inadequate and like they were nobody’s first choice. The song has a sense of relatability in the aspect that it is a common feeling that lots of people have experienced, which I think, is why I was so drawn to it.
The emotion in the lyrics and music can really be felt as Idina sings. She carries the emotion of her character so well. I really think there is no better choice for the role of Elphaba.
1. Defying Gravity
Predictable? Maybe. Any less amazing because of said predictability? Absolutely not.
This song has been on every one of my favorite Broadway playlists since my early middle school years. Even before I had an interest in Wicked, I had a certain affinity for the song. From being introduced to the song on Glee, to listening to the song when I first heard the original years later, Defying Gravity has always been a staple in my musical hobby.
Something about the song just is so raw and inspiring. The way Elphaba took her own fate into her own hands after being told for so long of her own limits. She just decided that enough was enough, and she sang her heart out in an empowering melody about defying odds.
Not just the lyrics are empowering, the power that is put behind the lyrics with Idina Menzel’s voice add just as much feeling. Her famous high note conveys the feeling of strength that really sets the scene. The power in Idina’s voice just fits so perfectly with the tone of the lyrics.
Ever song on this album does such an incredible job of not only conveying dialogue through song, but also showing the characters’ inner emotions and feelings. Each song gives the listener such a rollercoaster ride of emotion that makes the album so much more enjoyable. If you are like me, and don’t have access to view the Broadway musical in all its glory, I highly suggest sitting down and listening to the album from start to finish. The picture that the music paints is so easy and captivating to follow. Even through only song, Wicked is an all-around immersive album