There was a lot of skepticism about The Greatest Showman before it premiered last December. When movie musicals miss, they really miss, and it seemed crazy Hugh Jackman was following up Logan by starring in the second musical about P.T. Barnum Wasn’t one musical about the infamous showbiz legend more than enough for the rest of history?IT WAS NOT. Even if critics didn’t love The Greatest Showman, audiences certainly (and rightfully) did. A big part of the reason why is the film’s amazing soundtrack from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, which has hit number one on 14 different charts around the world. It’s been an unstoppable force for a year, going double platinum in the U.S., where it hit number one and has spent 50 weeks on the Billboard charts. It’s still in the U.S. top 20 albums a year after the film’s release, while at the same time its new Reimagined album featuring covers from various artists is in the top three. It also hit quadruple platinum in the UK, where it has been a phenomenon and is still in the top five a year later.The sharpest words can try to knock down our love for the movie, but clearly we are not alone in our adoration for it and its soundtrack. So in honor of the film’s one year anniversary we’re celebrating an album we’ve listened to roughly a million times (A million times! A MILLION TIMES!) by ranking all 11 songs from the film. We’re going from best to bestest, because as any fan of The Greatest Showman will tell you, there are no bad songs in the movie. Our only problem is trying to name just one as our favorite.
11. “Never Enough (Reprise)”It feels weird to rank this as the least great. The full song is among the film’s best and Loren AllredÂ has an amazing voice (no, that’s not Rebecca Ferguson singing) and we love getting two chances to hear her sing it. However, the film’s two reprises aren’t full tracks so it’s hard to put them above entire songs. The melancholy “Never Enough (Reprise)” is haunting and beautiful, but it makes you miss hearing the original more than the next reprise, so it goes here.
10. “A Million Dreams (Reprise)”This short rendition, featuring young stars Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely (with a brief appearance from Hugh Jackman at the end), stands out on its own more than the “Never Enough (Reprise)” thanks to the young singers harmonizing in the middle. It’s sweet, touching, and different enough from the incredible full version that we can enjoy it on its own. Too bad it ends so quickly.
Maybe the weirdest thing about a movie with only 14 lines of dialogue is that they got Michelle Williams to play such a small, tangential role. She’s wonderful in it; she’s just not in it all that much. At least she gets a solo to show off her impressive singing voice. It’s a sweet, upbeat love song that in another musical would probably be one of the better tracks, but here it’s easily overshadowed by catchier and more powerful songs (both musically and in the context of the movie). If we did this list again next week though it might swap spots with the next track.
8. “Come Alive”One of the many big, multi-cast performances (featuring Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Daniel Everidge, and Zendaya), “Come Alive” feels like its always on the verge of going somewhere even better, but it never quite gets there. With its slow start that picks up steam, and its anthem-like chorus, it’s a fun, frustrating song you keep expecting to crescendo the way most of the movie’s other songs do. It’s good, but pales in comparison to the title theme which does the same thing much better.”Come Alive” also marks the cutoff for the two tiers of songs in the film. The bottom four are all good, but not great like the rest. Ranking the next seven is like trying to rank your children if you had seven wonderful kids you loved equally. Only this is way more difficult and much more important and we wish we had never put ourselves through it.
7. “A Million Dreams”First performed by Ziv Zaifman who played the the young P.T. Barnum, with Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams taking over for the second half, this is one of the catchiest and most memorable songs from the film. It’s big, bold, and if anyone mentions it you inevitably end up screaming “a million dreams, A MILLION DREAMS!” On its own it is a little strange how it suddenly becomes a duet in the second half, but in the context of the film and the scene it works perfectly.No hyperbole, this should probably be number one.
6. “The Greatest Show”If “Come Alive” never quite gets there, “The Greatest Show” (performed by Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, and Zendaya) lives there, on a large palatial estate. It starts off slowly and quickly builds. Then it explodes into a a frenzied group singalong that’s so good it gets to both open and close the movie. The song perfectly captures the joyous, inclusive spirit of the film, everyone loves it, and yet it almost feels under appreciated.Honestly this should probably be number one.
5. “This Is Me”Keala Settle absolutely crushes this uplifting, powerful number (which was robbed at the Oscars) about believing in yourself and not letting the disapproval of others consume you. There’s a reason this was chosen by the film’s creators as the album’s single, getting released a month-and-a-half before the movie and album. There’s no better song from the film to listen to when you’re feeling down and need a hopeful boost, and it embodies one of the movie’s best, most powerful themes of self-worth. Also, it’s a lot of fun to sing along with.The more we think about it, this should probably be number one.
4. “From Now On”It will always be amazing that Wolverine is a giant musical theater nerd.
3. “Rewrite the Stars”People thought a movie where Zac Efron and Zendaya play star-crossed lovers wasn’t going to be enjoyable to watch. Zac Efron and Zendaya! As any reasonable person expected, they’re totally delightful in the film, and their big love song duet is everything you’d hope and more. It’s a beautiful track with equally gorgeous lyrics that works wonderfully in the context of the film and on its own, and the chorus is one of the highlights of a soundtrack that is nothing but highlights.Yeah, for sure, this should probably be number one.
2. “Never Enough”And you know what? This should probably be number one.
1. “The Other Side”Accurately referred to as the song where Hugh Jackman seduces Zac Efron, this fast-paced verbal joust is so much fun it gives both characters enough adrenaline to do 800 shots of whisky without dying. (Please do not try to match how much they “drink” during it. You will not survive.) It might be the most lyrically impressive song in the film, and it’s impossibly catchy and infinitely re-listenable (we know, we’re halfway to infinite listenings). If at any point for the rest of your life you hear someone say “right here, right now” you’re going to sing the entire song, which is fine because you’re going to be doing that anyway. This is a perfect song, and a great choice to represent the best of the soundtrack.Should it really be number one? Yes, but so should six other songs, which is why we both love and hate this list. We got to write about an album we love, which involved talking about it a lot and listening to it even more. But in an effort to honor the soundtrack we tortured ourselves with a seven-way Sophie’s Choice. It’s like we went to Solomon and he split the baby seven ways.But now that we’re done, we can just enjoy all ofÂ The Greatest Showman!
Featured Image: 20th Century Fox