Although it's kind of a messy post, with too many line breaks and the lyrics sometimes taking up more room than the explications.
CD Rec: Into the Woods soundtrack, Disney version
When I'm in the mood, I will always listen to the whole thing as one giant song (except for “Hello Little Girl" because gross pedophile song). It's a pretty great musical, and like all musicals, weaves a few familiar motifs throughout several songs. However, I do in fact have several favorites within it, and because not explaining them in detail was upsetting me, I have decided to explicate the top half.
This is over 14 minutes long, so it's either like a bunch of songs in one or it flies by like nothing, introducing all the characters via what they're wishing for and why they're going into the woods, including narration and spoken word exchanges, while firmly implanting the musical's central melody in your ear.
30. Cinderella at the Grave
Are you certain what you wish is what you want?
There is such an ethereal quality to this one, with the rippling, almost underwater effect of her mother's voice, that's nothing like anything else in the musical.
31. I Know Things Now
Once his teeth were bared, though, I really got scared
(well, excited AND scared)
Apparently I now love Red Riding Hood's pluckiness, despite hating her voice when I first saw the movie.
32. A Very Nice Prince
He has charm for a prince, I guess
90 seconds of a most delightful exchange between Cinderella and Mrs. Baker, my two favorite characters and voices.
33. It Takes Two
At home, I fear, we'd stay the same forever
And then, out here, you are passionate/charming/considerate/clever..
In which The Bakers are delightful, upbeat partners who learn that going on a quest for magic objects in the dark woods is the secret to falling in love all over again. P.S. You know what someone should do? Make a Barney/Robin gifset featuring at least parts of the following verse:
[cut for time and space]
It takes two.
I thought one was enough,
It's not true:
It takes two of us
You came through
When the journey was rough.
It took you.
It took two of us.
It takes care.
It takes patience and fear and despair
Though you swear
Who can tell if you do?
It takes two.
Alternate option: Just a Barney gifset
If you could see-
You're not the man who started,
And much more openhearted
Than I knew you to be.
34. On The Steps of the Palace
Which do you pick: where you're safe, out of sight, and yourself,
But where everything's wrong?
...or where everything's right
But you know that you'll never belong?
One of my favorite lines in the whole movie. I love the way she sings the whole thing, though. As well as the intense 30 seconds or so of dramatic orchestral music during her flight.
35. Moments in the Woods
Why not both instead?
There's the answer if you're clever
36. Your Fault
Well, if you hadn't gone back up again- / We were needy- / You were greedy! Did you need that hen?
But I got it for my Mother-! / So it's her fault then!
Yes? And what the harp in the third place?
HYPERACTIVE BLAMEY DELIGHT.
37. No One Is Alone
Mother cannot guide you
Now you're on your own
Only me beside you
Still, you're not alone.
I love its heartbreaking prettiness that turns into a slightly bittersweet message of support.
38. Finale/Children Will Listen pt. 2
There are always wolves
There are always spells
The Company delivers a rousing closer.
39. The Last Five Years soundtrack (Anna Kendrick) – Still Hurting
Jamie is over and Jamie is gone
Jamie's decided it's time to move on
I meant to listen to the whole soundtrack, but I got completely stuck on the first number for days on end until I gave up. What a great opening track. From the opening piano/music box theme, it has some beautiful sweeping rises and falls in the volume. Now excuse me while I bawl about this bravely sad little ode to being abandoned.
40. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
DON'T BELIEVE ME?
Ugh, I swore this would not get on here, but every time it came on the radio I was always like, "Is this Michael Jackson reincarnated or did I time-travel back to the 80s and discover a lost song*." And now it's just so ridiculous/awesome** that I've been forced to admit it is physically impossible not to dance to this. GOOD JOB, BRUNO. It took you 5 years and 5 songs I despise, but you finally got me.
*Wikipedia says I'm supposed to be hearing Prince. Whatever! I'm not music-smart. All I know is I love it for the same reasons I love Glee's cover of "Give Up the Funk."
**It might have been aided by this Tumblr post.[preserved in a spoiler cut if the link dies]
*sees a really hot boy in English class*
me: romeo and juliet act 3 scene 5 line 176
make a playwright want to retire man
stop. wait a minute. fill my cup put some poison in it.
Take a sip, fake your death
Juliet! Exit left!
41. Coolio – Gangsta's Paradise
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there's none left
Ever since I parody-titled that post “Livin' In A Shipper's Paradise,” I realized I'd never heard the whole song in full and I only had a vague sense of the chorus because of Weird Al's Amish parody. Turns out, the original is a GREAT sound.
42. Echosmith – Bright
Did you see that shooting star tonight?
Were you dazzled by the same constellation?
I'm still fascinated by how much she sounds like Fearless-era Taylor Swift, and how deeply it soothes my soul to feel like I've found a lost track. An oasis of reprieve from 1989.
43. Frank Turner – The Next Storm (I can only find one link. Listen, don't look at it if you value not seeing gross Ultimate Fighting.)
I don't want to spend the whole of my life inside
I want to step out and face the sunshine
I have not really paid attention to most of the lyrics because these two lines are the most important in the whole song. It's a very upbeat, happy and hopeful sound, overall. It's also pretty much my theme song when I'm mired down in a Work Weekend. Chris gets credit for letting me know about it.
44. One Direction -- One Thing
So get out, get out, get out of my head
And fall into my arms instead
I was reading an old blog post that reminded me I heard this once. So I looked it up again...and promptly watched it like eight times in a row, fascinated by the glory days when most of the boys in this band still looked normal, there was no creepy sexual innunendo in any of the songs I knew about, and I was all, "Look how delightful it is to have a generically pleasant boy band sound around again!" (but seriously, the high harmonies in the chorus make my ears trill with pleasure)
45. American Idiot Broadway Cast – 21 Guns
Did you try to live on your own
When you burned down the house and home?
Did you stand too close to the fire
Like a liar looking for forgiveness
From a stone?
As stated twice before, I tripped over this in a Revolution fanvid, and WOW. I've always been kind of amenable to the original, just never enough to own it, but hearing this start with a woman's voice blew me away. Male voices join in later, and it just makes it better. Having a full chorus with harmonies and stuff makes this, like, “Rent” levels of inspiring.
46. American Idiot Broadway Cast – “Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Sounds near identical to the original at first, albeit with calmer music, but then adds some really amazing female harmonies in the latter half, and tacks on a tiny sample of "City of the Dead" at the end. Just enough for me to declare it a new/numbered track and get around my "but I have always loved the original" rule about numbering.
46b. Rockabye Baby cover
Much like the "Where Is My Mind?" cover, this uses some very cool percussion to recreate a classic.
47. Halsey – New Americana
Survival of the richest
The city's ours until the fall
They're Monaco and Hamptons bound
But we don't feel like outsiders at all
Very much reminds me of Lana del Rey, moody and mysterious, but with a dash of Tumblr Youngin's about it (“high on legal marijuana”). I have to tip my hat at Spotify for insisting I listen to 15 seconds in between my music.
48. Billy Burke – Removed
I promise you I would be elsewhere if I could
And stay for good
There is truly nothing remarkable about this, and I don't even know what it's about, but I am just so tickled by the novelty of its existence and kind of gravely bluegrass sound that I keep listening to it on loop anyway.
p.s. For the love of all that is good and holy don't watch the official music video unless you need a laugh.
49. Madilyn Bailey – Wrecking Ball (Miley Cyrus cover)
Don't you ever say
I just walked away
I will always want you
On the one hand, the magic of this song is that it's so completely tied to Miley/Liam, no one else can really own it. On the other, I like Madilyn's voice better, especially on this really ear-pleasing part of the chorus, so guess which cover wins.
50. Madilyn Bailey – Heart Attack (Demi Lovato cover)
Make me wanna act like a girl
Paint my nails and wear high heels, yes you
I have heard the original and considered loving it, but I am on a Maddie B resurgence kick, so no dice. Now that I have fallen for the stripped-down, slowed-down version, I can't go for the synthesized nonsense.
51. Madilyn Bailey/Clara C – Clarity (Zedd/Foxes cover)
If our love is tragedy,
Why are you my remedy?
If our love's insanity,
Why are you my clarity?
Once upon a time I vaguely liked the Glee cover, and then I thought I might listen to the original, but then I never listened to either one again, until I happened upon it here. I really love the harmonies on the chorus. Those are also the only words I know so far.
52. Bastille - No Angels
Shine bright like a diamond
"This is a cover, and you'll just have to guess what it is." I really, really, really want you to experience this magic for yourself if you haven't yet, so please just click that link. That's all I'll say. (I promise I'm not rickrolling you.)