Which song would you rather listen to?
Musicals often have similar songs, perhaps none so more identical in theme and style than Annie‘s Maybe and Les Miserables‘ Castle on a Cloud.
Both are sung by a little girl desperate to be reunited with their parent(s). The lyrics are melancholy, the tunes are slow and hummable and both are insanely touching.
Perhaps the main difference is the hopeful undertone running throughout Maybe. Annie is determined that maybe one day she’ll find her parents. I’m actually fonder of the lyrics, with lines such as ‘their big mistake was giving up me’. It’s touches of sadness mingled with Annie’s hopeless optimism – these perfect imaginary people are painted beautifully, the lyrics totally matching with children’s language and ingenuity. The sing-songy tune is also well fitting and it’s likely to bring a tear to your eye.
Castle on a Cloud is also a lovely tune, though much sadder somehow. Cosette knows she’s unlikely to be reunited with her mother unless she dies, which is a far cry from Annie’s dreams of settling into a swell life when her parents come to collect her. The lyrics are poetic and dreamlike, and we get a beautiful insight into young Cosette’s character.
One major caveat for both songs: it has to be sung well. Screamed and screeched by a stage school voice is hardly going to make for nice listening. A soft, beautiful rendition of either tune will have audiences reaching for their tissues. I particularly loved the version of Maybe from the 2014 film version of Annie, so give that a listen if you want to see it performed perfectly.
Do you have a favourite musical tune?
Photograph originally sourced from https://theculturevulture.co.uk/cultures/theatre/annie-alhambra-theatre-bradford, courtesy of Bradford Theatres.