Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Any discussion related to any production or staging of Boublil and Schönberg's Les Misérables.
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Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Enjolvert » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:10 pm

Basically, are there any lyrics in the show which at first may either seem out of place or just your average line, but then when thinking about it you think it starts to suggest or mean a lot more?

Take the often slated line "He's like the son I might have known" one. People don't like it because they think it's Valjean saying he wishes this boy was his son when he doesn't know him and sort of hated him in the book. On the other hand, I think that as long as Marius gives a strong delivery in DWM for his Cosette part, it's more Valjean realising that this boy is a good person and that if he ever was to have a son, then someone with the heart of Marius would be ideal, then showing that Valjean can accept him for Cosette.

So, any you think have a deeper meaning then?
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Courgette » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:26 pm

Not exactly a deeper meaning, but I just wish the original French version of 'J'avais Reve D'Une Autre Vie' (I Dreamed Of Another Life) hadn't got lost in translation. Some of the lyrics are definitely much more meaningful in the original French version than in the English version. For instance, the line "À une société qui désarme, La victime, et pas le voleur" (when translated in English) seems much more hard-hitting than "But the tigers come at night, with their voices soft as thunder".
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:35 pm

I've recently begun to think that "Castle on a Cloud" is a description of Heaven, and it means that Cosette wants to die rather than slave away for the Thenardiers. Poor, poor girl...
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:40 pm

Enjolvert wrote:Basically, are there any lyrics in the show which at first may either seem out of place or just your average line, but then when thinking about it you think it starts to suggest or mean a lot more?

Take the often slated line "He's like the son I might have known" one. People don't like it because they think it's Valjean saying he wishes this boy was his son when he doesn't know him and sort of hated him in the book. On the other hand, I think that as long as Marius gives a strong delivery in DWM for his Cosette part, it's more Valjean realising that this boy is a good person and that if he ever was to have a son, then someone with the heart of Marius would be ideal, then showing that Valjean can accept him for Cosette.

So, any you think have a deeper meaning then?


My sister says that it's more than just paternal feeling: it's evidence of Valjean's saintly qualities. He is capable of seeing things more altruistically than the familial bond he has with Cosette.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Gervais » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:46 pm

On my Own could, depending on what's said. I've heard His world will go on a turning, the world... and This world will go on turning, a world... First off, if someone could tell me which it's supposed to be, I'd much appreciate it.

It's pretty much accepted that OMO is a somewhat distorted retelling of Éponine's "Sometimes I go away at night, sometimes I don't go back" speech, except focussing on dreams being caused by unrequited love rather than hallucinations caused by hunger, cutting out the "heavy" angst and replacing it with classical teenage angst. But if the second version of the lyrics is used, then we could see a little bit of her deeper issues with just that line, or even that she's contemplated suicide. (A bit of a random tangent--I've always thought that it would be interesting to try to stage it so that she sang it from Javert's suicide bridge, so we could see the river and get some other things going on as well.) Also, I think it was either Foster, Keenan-Bolger, or both that interpreted the first verses as Éponine going into an insanity-induced fantasy, rather than a lovesick-induced one, and I think I agree with that interpretation more. It at least gets us a little bit closer to the brick passage's mood, anyway.

ETA: Foster definitely did, because I saw a YouTube vid of one of her performances, and even with somewhat strange video quality you could just look at her and tell that Ep just wasn't All There in the beginning.

Also, I appreciate how Hathaway did "He took my childhood in his stride," because it's never just meant "Oh, I was so innocent and la la la la la," or at least, I've always seen it as referring to him taking advantage of her, mentally and sexually. Possibly because my mind sometimes goes to the gutter, but still.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:07 am

I think Keenan-Bolger also did a rather mentally unstable Éponine. That's why it wins for me as among the best stage portrayals of the character. '

But for me, the slight fantasy effect is induced in the lines "All the lights are misty in the river...."

I heard it as "Without me, his world will go on turning, a world....."

You wouldn't be far off in interpreting Hathaway's rendition of "He took my childhood in his stride..." in that way. That's sort of what happened in the Brick.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:23 am

Barks also seemed rather... unhinged in the movie, I thought. I think the song, at least the last verses, can also be read as her sort of realizing she's losing her mind.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:10 pm

That's also what I thought. From that song, she takes on a desperate air in her acting, it's as if she knows (during One Day More) that she's really going around the bend, doing the impossible for Marius----and is probably going to die for it.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Enjolvert » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:41 pm

I think that sense of going a bit crazy kind of fit in well with her death too. No matter how in love she may have been with Marius, if you're able to turn a gun on yourself and basically kill yourself when you're still technically a girl, then there is a hint of insanity there probably. I've never bought into the idea that she's ultra crazy in the book, but it was good to see her role expanded on a bit more.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Courgette » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:30 pm

Aurelia Combeferre wrote:That's also what I thought. From that song, she takes on a desperate air in her acting, it's as if she knows (during One Day More) that she's really going around the bend, doing the impossible for Marius----and is probably going to die for it.


When she was singing OMO, I think she knew what was going to do, and what it might cost her. Which is why we see her changing into the barricade costume during ODM.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Acaila » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:20 pm

I don't know if it's so much deeper meaning as a point that a lot of interpretations miss, and thus probably audience members. But I think Fantine's "And still I dream he'll come to me/that we will live the years together" has a lot more bitterness and even self-loathing than it comes across on the surface. I mean, she's just admitted "He took my childhood in his stride/but he was gone when autumn came". Is she really so naive as to think she wants Tholomyes to sweep back in to her life? I'm not convinced she is. I was just thinking today that it kinda reminds me of Someone Else's Story from Chess (a song that I freakin adore) in the sentiment of "if this were anyone else, I would tell them to forget about that jerk so fast, but there is something stupid and sentimental in me that I can't move past". So it's not hope for something external, but loathing of something internal.
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby YoungStudentMarius » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:03 pm

I think pretty much all of A Little Fall of Rain does, as do most of Éponine's lines, come to think of it.

I like the analysis of OMO; I think it gets a bit ignored because the lyrics are so well-known, now, that often people just don't think about them, and I think you're right, Gervais, it probably is all taken from her speech. I liked the line "In the rain, the pavement shines like silver," because it makes me think that in the daytime, she wouldn't be thankful for the rain, and yet, her twisted imagination is able to turn all the things that make her lost and uncomfortable, such as the rain, and solitude, and the river, and the fact that she can see the stars through the trees (which I took as that the branches were bare, and it was freezing cold out [I know it's June, so that's probably wrong, but...still]) into all these things of beauty, even though they're not. I'd never thought of the first lines contemplating suicide, but that really works, too, especially because she practically does so directly after.

And the idea that Castle on a Cloud is talking about heaven is kind of scary, kind of creepy, kind of brilliant, and perhaps very right. :shock: Oh, wait...wait...no, no, that makes far too much sense, because now, there's a reason for having the short Castle on a Cloud instrumental bit right after "If I die, I die with you" in the Dawn of Anguish. :shock:

I, too, really love the way Hathaway did the line "He took my childhood in his stride." I've kind of always thought that that line is never played to its full potential, and then when I was watching the movie for the first time, I think that's the part I started crying. It was the fact that she could never win it back, too, that this was the only chance she had, and the best time of her life, and he wasted it all without looking back, for it meant nothing to him.

I know this isn't exactly a deeper meaning, but I remember all of BrickMarius' obsession with Ursula, etc, and when Marius says "Cosette! I don't know what to say," I always feel like he's sort of going into shock, finally knowing her name, and when he says "Cosette, Cosette!" that he's still so happy to know it that he can't help but say it, again, that he's still sort of stuck in that moment.

And during the robbery, when Éponine and Marius have that short conversation together, I can't help but notice that every line of hers seems to be written to switch tactics, and that when all of them fail she goes "Little he knows, little he sees," and I wish it was played more often so you could see those lightning-fast changes in strategy.

I know there's more; this is practically what I think about every day...
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby freedomlover » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:29 pm

I always thought "Castle on the Cloud" was talking about heaven also...

Enjolras' "the night is falling fast!" Sometimes night refers to "dark" or "evil", so he could be talking in other terms; "the evil of the bloodshed is coming, fast."

Then when he says; "everybody keep the faith.." I wonder if he is referring to something spiritual? idk. Spiritual meaning the battle of right vs. wrong...
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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Juliet24601 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:20 pm

Hello!

I'm not sure if this is a deeper meaning exactly, but I love the bit in 'In My Life' when Cosette sings 'there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song' because I think it's as if Fantine is singing to her from somewhere!

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Re: Lyrics which you think have a deeper meaning

Postby Gervais » Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:01 am

Juliet24601 wrote:Hello!

I'm not sure if this is a deeper meaning exactly, but I love the bit in 'In My Life' when Cosette sings 'there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song' because I think it's as if Fantine is singing to her from somewhere!

x J x

It's probably unintional, but either way, it would go along well with a passage of the brick that mentions the possibility of Fantine's ghost watching Cosette in the Rue Plumet garden. I'll look up the passage later.

ETA: Found it! It's not quite how I remembered it, though.
In the garden, near the railing on the street, there was a stone bench, screened from the eyes of the curious by a plantation of yoke-elms, but which could, in case of necessity, be reached by an arm from the outside, past the trees and the gate.

One evening during that same month of April, Jean Valjean had gone out; Cosette had seated herself on this bench after sundown. The breeze was blowing briskly in the trees, Cosette was meditating; an objectless sadness was taking possession of her little by little, that invincible sadness evoked by the evening, and which arises, perhaps, who knows, from the mystery of the tomb which is ajar at that hour.

Perhaps Fantine was within that shadow.

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