A Definitive Ranking of the 15 Saddest Songs in the Les Miz Score
September 26th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
If you are looking for a good cry, look no further than the Imperial Theatre where a gorgeous re-imagined revival of Les Miserables is shattering hearts—hello, the word miserable is right there in the title. And obviously, when you are talking about Les Miz, you’re talking about the music; it’s a sung-through almost three-hour show. There are dozens of songs, but today, we just want to focus on the truly devastating ones. Below, BroadwayBox ranks the 15 saddest songs in Les Miz using these adorable sad Cosette faces to help you know just how emotionally crippling we’re talking here on a five face scale. (*Photos and videos are a mix of current Broadway, film and other productions.)
Is this actually sad or just a pretty ballad? It’s definitely lonely, talking to the stars like Dorothy Jane Torkelson at her bay window.
14. Paris/Look Down
Times are hard but Gavroche is adorable and spunky—can’t be that bad.
13. Bring Him Home
Again this song is deceptively not sad. It’s super gorgeous and slow because it’s a prayer. I guess the “if God had granted me a son” stuff is sad, but overall, a happy song by Les Miz standards.
12. At the End of the Day
“At the End of the Day” has some sad visuals and it paints a miserable picture of Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1823. And Fantine gets sexually harassed at work, her letter stolen and then loses her job.
11. Drink with Me
These young students know death is imminent and here they are reminiscing on the best moments of their life; then Grantaire has to come along and get really deep and sad. Total buzz kill.
10. Javert’s Soliloquy
Okay, big spoiler for a 29-year-old musical: almost everyone dies. So when Javert meets his end, it’s somehow less sad than some of the other deaths later in this list because we’ve been rooting against him for two and a half hours. Sorry, J.
Ok, how is this after Javert? Easy: she’s a child orphan singing about an imaginary world with the mother she doesn’t know and some small toys while holding a broom that's more than half her size. This little thing is so sad that she’s the visual of a musical that can be translated as ‘The Miserable.’
Kind of a throw away song, but actually really devastating stuff here. The mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the dead singing about how they had no chance and the world will just keep turning without them. Ugh.
Poor Marius, he’s grieving about all his dead friends, wondering why he lived and he has a limp—that’s pretty sad.
6. Fantine’s Death
Now this is a death that’s killer (too soon?). First we have delusional Fantine to deal with and then Valjean shows up and they sing together, and it’s gorgeous and sad and it’s all about her child, as always. That Fantine, so selfless to very end.
This scene is like a free-fall for poor Fantine. The most heartbreaking parts are her begging not to be arrested for her daughter’s sake (“Holy God is there no mercy, if I go to jail she’ll die.”) and the interaction with Valjean—the pure pain of “Monsieur, don’t mock me now I pray.”
4. On My Own
The anthem for anyone who has ever had a crush and one of the most famous songs from the score, On My Own should have caution tape around it because this song can absolutely wreck you on the wrong day. It leaves the listener in a puddle that makes the pavement shine like silver.
This 10-minute song gives the tear ducts a workout: Cosette returns, Valjean and Fatine reunite and the harmony on “Take my hand and lead me to salvation.” You won’t soon forget Caissie Levy, Ramin Karimloo and Nikki M. James in this number.
Eponine gives her life for Marius and while dying in his arms, he finally sees her. Good God. And then when they sing over each other at the end...
As far as the well of despair goes, “I Dreamed a Dream” is rock bottom. It’s everyone’s worst fear realized: I fell in love, I was happy and it all went wrong and my life is a living hell now. How does it get sadder than that?!
Grab a hanky and head to the Imperial Theatre to see all these beautiful, sad ‘Les Miserables’ songs live.