“The Greatest Showman” or The Greatest Soundtrack?

Warning: spoilers ahead

Even if you have not watched it, you definitely heard of the highly acclaimed movie The Greatest Showman. After its release in Malaysia on the 28th of December 2017, our usual greeting of “have you eaten?” was temporarily overtaken by “eh, have you watched The Greatest Showman?”.  And is it surprising? To be honest, not really. Yes, being part of the current millennial, our insecure self and our FOMO has prompted us in the direction of asking the aforementioned question; but the soundtrack was succulent and exciting, a much more interesting thing than our food culture at that moment.

What was it about the soundtrack that got almost everyone into the hypnotic state of mouthing words inaudibly, bobbing their heads up down left right and stomping their feet in the library? Why do the songs stir such a strong emotional whirlpool within us?

Energy, Thumping Bass and Simple Language

For starters, the 9 songs in the soundtrack have equal simplicity in the medium they convey their message. There is a straight forwardness in the story they weave, with their voice and words that makes it easier for viewers (and listeners) to pick up the lyrics. In addition, for most of the songs there is a prominent and meticulous thudding bass that puts the beat in our soul and urges us to move. And even the most vulnerable songs, namely “Never Enough” and “Rewrite the Stars,” we can feel the energy pumping through the singers’ nerves when it was sung.

Empowering Message of Dreams and Identity

On some days, we need a reminder to, well, come alive, and that anything is possible if you dream big enough— this is the song you would want to listen to on those days.

Probably the most notable moment in the movie was when Keala Settle sang her pain out with This Is Me. On some level, we could all relate to her cries when we were either ashamed of our oddities or undermined by the people around us. This song is a call for us to own up to our quirks and live without fear.

You Yearn to Feel That Way

The best part about great music is that it captures your yearning. Think about your favourite piece of music – aside from the really catchy tune, why else do you love it?

The Greatest Showman shows us the constraints of societal norms and how they broke it with success. You may not notice it, but you may yearn the mere taste of breaking free from a suffocating cage then marching towards the direction of your dream shouting This Is Me.

Or maybe when P.T. Barnum sang A Million Dreams, you yearn to go back to being a spirited young soul that dreamt about being a cowboy selling cheesecake? Maybe you yearn to Rewrite the Stars with your crush. Whatever it is, all of us hope that one day our lives will be better than fiction. That’s what made The Greatest Showman so good— the soundtrack shining a bright light to misery we are in (assignments anyone?) and gives us some sort of hope.

Maybe for the next week when you are rushing for deadlines, you could put on some songs from The Greatest Showman. Who knows, it might just kick you out of procrastination and put hope in your assignments?

By Shizen Wong

Featured image: Vogue.com

I live for 90s alternative rock and Robyn's "Dancing on My Own".

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