Various Artists – Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack

I have always had trouble with the music from the beloved play/film Les Misérables. Most of it is either like it was written by a not musically inclined person or too sentimental. I really have never been able to connect or keep a straight face while listening to it. Now, the film version involves non-singers or people whose primary job is not to sing and that makes it even that much more difficult for them. We have all heard (while watching the film) or read about what trouble respected actor Russell Crowe had with the singing part of his role. The proof positive that he is in over his head (even though Crowe does have a band of his own and has recorded albums) is his version of “Javert’s Suicide”. Any hope I had about connection to at least the lyrics or sentiment of the song was shattered by the terrible singing. The whole thing was somewhat redeemed while listening to Sacha Baron Cohen’s comical take on “Master of the House”. That made me believe that you don’t really have to have a perfect voice to sing these songs, just an understanding of what they require to make bearable. Surprisingly the winning streak continued with the Anne Hathaway version of the most famous (and schmaltzy) song, “I Dreamed a Dream”. Once again her voice is not flawless but she does supply a very emotion filled interpretation of the song and that raises it up. The live singing worked very well for the film but for a soundtrack, now that is another matter altogether. Another flaw with the soundtrack is that for some reason they have omitted some of the better songs like “A Little Fall of Rain” and “Do You Hear the People Sing”. Bottom line is that if you want the strongest possible versions of the songs from Les Mis then pick up one of the Broadway versions

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