Les Misérables is a beautifully resounding musical that has seen numerous revivals and revisions, the most recent of which was the 2012 film. Jean Valjean, the main character in the musical, was imprisoned for 19 years after stealing bread and attempting multiple jailbreaks.
He was met by the bishop of Digne after being released on parole and sheltered for the night. He stole the bishop’s silverware, but when the authorities returned him to the bishop, the latter pardoned him, changing his heart to live a better life.
Because it was a musical, the work was strewn with songs that frequently replaced dialogue. Continue reading for our list of the top 10 Les Misérables songs.
10. A Heart Full of Love
This is the song Marius and Cosette sang when they first met. It was melodically beautiful, but the characters were criticized for falling in love too quickly.
9. Look Down
“Look Down” saw some of the prisoners elaborating on the harsh conditions they had to endure in their prison, which stripped away every strand of hope left in them.
8. Who Am I?
This song was about the character weighing in if he should surrender to the authorities. He knew that if he didn’t, someone would be charged and would have their life ruined despite not doing anything wrong. However, he had made a life for himself that he wouldn’t be willing to give up.
7. The Confrontation
In terms of musicality, it was among the best Les Misérables songs, but in terms of the message, it wasn’t, so this song was not high on the list. In the 2012 movie, it was when, after Fantine died in Valjean’s arms, Javert came to confront Monsieur le Maire (Valjean) and take him back to prison.
6. At the End of the Day
This was sung by some factory workers who were tired that their day kept looping. There was nothing new, and their work never really translated into any improvement in life. It was a song of complaint that their lives were still the same at the end of the day.
5. Master of the House
This song wasn’t all that emotional and had not much. The song’s message was about how the Thénardiers ripped their customers off, not just their money but also their valuables that they could siphon. It was a song about swindling, if you may.
“Master of the House” provided great comedic relief in the play that would have otherwise been submerged in deep emotions of pain and anguish.
4. I Dreamed a Dream
This song was a crushing song, beautifully describing the realizations Fantine had. Her dream was life would be kind to her and that she would have a life where there would not be a lot of suffering. She also dreamt of being loved. But after all that, she realized that the truth was too far from the life she had dreamed of.
The song ended on a sad note, “Now life has killed the dream, I dreamed.”
3. One Day More
It is the musical’s climactic song. In the 2012 movie, it appeared after “On My Own”. The song featured the characters singing about how their destinies would unroll. The metaphor of one more day signifies that they were just one more day away from knowing out.
2. On My Own
This song, sung by Éponine, was a song about unrequited love. “On My Own” was colorful and dramatic. It started with Éponine fantasizing about a romantic relationship with her beloved, and soft and high notes accompanied that portion.
The song’s second half was the heroine waking up from her dreams and realizing that she wasn’t loved as she thought she was.
1. Do You Hear the People Sing?
Undeniably, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” is the most iconic Les Misérables song that we featured in one of our articles listing the most iconic songs ever.
In the 2012 movie, the song appeared during the funeral procession of General Lamarque, the only official to care for the poor. With no one in the higher-ups caring for them, the protesters were calling for everyone to join the revolution for a chance to improve their lives.
The song managed to leap out of work and is continuously being used as a protest song in some countries whose citizens seek reforms.