The Greatest Showman: Album Review
By: Dustin Bradley
20th Century Fox’s film The Greatest Showman, which is in theaters now, may not be the box office smash those who have seen the movie hoped it would be, but it’s soundtrack has become a huge success. It hit #1 on the “Billboard Top 200,” #1 on iTunes in sixty different countries and recently a Golden Globe winning Best Original Song for the inspirational track “This Is Me.” Even Kesha was so inspired by “This is Me” that she recorded and released a cover of her own version.
I can tell you that since the album came out on December 8th, I have played it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I didn’t get a chance to see the movie until Christmas night and by that time I already had every word memorized and, for me, it made my viewing experience all the more special. It was like seeing my favorite Broadway show on stage for the first time after hearing the soundtrack for so long.
The score has an amazing ability to mix both Broadway style lyrics with a pop music underscore. This is most definitely the result of having been written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Tony (Best Score for “Dear Evan Hansen”) and Academy Award (Best Original Song “City of Stars” for La La Land) winning duo that is very hot right now in both the theater and film community. They are also nominated this year for two Grammys (Best Musical Theatre Album “Dear Evan Hansen” and Best Song Written for Visual Media “City of Stars” from La La Land). They are on track as well to get another Academy Award nomination for “This Is Me” as well as a few possible Grammy nods next year for this album. Below I will be listing the numbers and give you my thoughts.
1. The Greatest Showman – This rousing number is both our introduction to the film and our finale. The track includes both parts as a whole, seeing as how the beginning introduction last about a minute or so. It’s a great introductory number to give us a clue of the sound we will hear throughout the film. Hugh Jackman gives us a pop sound we haven’t heard from him yet and it is glorious. Towards the end we are offered the glorious riffing of Broadway star and arguably the films breakout star, Keala Settle.
2 & 3. A Million Dreams and A Million Dreams (Reprise) – Most of track 2 is set in flashback and puts us in the mind of a young Barnum. It also introduces us to the love story between he and his eventual wife. This number is more a Boadway song and definitely has a catchy chorus. The reprise is a short number featuring future Barnum kids.
4) Come Alive – Set just as Barnum is getting his circus in order, the number is so catchy. You will definitely be humming its chorus after you hear it. Hugh and the ensemble are amazing in it!
5) The Other Side – A bargaining number between Barnum and fictional Phillip, this number between Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron gives both of them a chance to stretch their dancing legs and have a poppy Fred Astaire Broadway style number.
6) Never Enough – This Adele-inspired song for Jenny Lind is a sweet ballad that, despite the character being a bit lacking, is so infectious. Loren Allred provides the vocals for this number and with her tireless work with director Michael Gracy and “Jenny Lind” actress Rebecca Ferguson, you would have never known it wasn’t Ms. Ferguson if you didn’t have the album.
7) This Is Me – There is a reason why this won the Golden Globe and is on target to win the Academy Award. Keala Settle is a POWERHOUSE. Her vocal ability is perfection. The lyrics and meaning of the song is so incredibly amazing. This really is the anthem of the movie and for good reason. This is my favorite of all the songs!
8) Rewrite the Stars – Zac Efron and Zendaya have such a powerful and important love story in this movie that is really elevated by this song. It is a pop ballad that could be on the radio if they wanted it be. See this number with the film’s visuals and it makes it all the more amazing.
9) Tightrope – Michelle Williams delivers a great performance in the film, but particularly in this song. It’s slowly becoming on of my favorites on the album as her voice soars. This one is my definitely a top pick for me!
10) Never Enough (Reprise) – A short minute long number that is emotional, even if the characters and their actions are despicable.
11) From Now On – The finale number of the album and mostly of the film. Hugh delivers a beautiful performance that goes from heartbreaking to inspiring in a few minutes. It’s an amazing number that I love.
I am obsessed with this album and film. My only wish was that the filmmakers and studio decided against using Barnum and instead created original characters because this circus creator has really just been bad press for a pretty excellent movie. You should definitely stream or buy the soundtrack as soon as possible! You can also go see The Greatest Showman in theatres now.