Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Songs That Make Me Emotional (Part Two)...

...Can you break a format with the second article in a series? If so, I'm breaking the format just a little. I'm going to talk about two different versions of the same song.

What song? "Over the Rainbow." I know that have been many, many interpretations of this classic song. The two I want to discuss are the original, as performed by Judy Garland in the 1939 musical "The Wizard of Oz." The other is Matthew Morrison's interpretation from the TV show "Glee." So, basically, the oldest and the newest versions of the song.

And yes, I like both versions. A lot.

I'm a big fan of "The Wizard of Oz," both the 1900 book written by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 movie. I like both for different reasons, but I do like them both. The last 5 or 6 times I've watched the movie, when Judy starts singing "Over the Rainbow," I've gotten choked up. There's a purity to her performance. She feels it. You can tell. She sings the song with such wistfulness and yearning that you can't help but feel what she feels. She wants to go to this mythical land where everything's perfect and "where the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true."

Whenever I get lost in the Oz books or watch the movie, I find myself wishing that I could live in Oz. It's an idyllic land. Up until about 4 years ago, I never dared to let myself dream. I tried to be realistic and set goals that were grounded in reality. It made me miserable. The day I realized it was okay to let myself dream was an amazing day. You can't really live if you don't have any dreams.

Today I keep a lot of my deepest dreams to myself. I don't share them, but I revel in them. I long to fulfill them. And that yearning is a part of the same chord that Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" plucks on my heartstrings. I love that feeling.

Matthew Morrison's version differs from Judy's in several ways. Not just because it's a male voice singing. It's cheerful. "Glee"ful, if you will. It's celebrating the fact that this land exists, if we could only find it. Matthew accompanies himself on the ukulele. This adds a distinct flavor to the song. I'm a not a big ukulele fan. The tone is just a bit bright and glaring to me, but I love it in this version of a great song. This version of the song is just a bit faster, too.

I love this version of the song for it's cheerfulness. Simply put, listening to this version of "Over the Rainbow" makes me happy. And I really can't ask for more than that from a song.


refugee from reason said...

"You can't really live if you don't have any dreams."

Dreams are what make you real. Nice post, by the way.

Adam said...

Makes me think of a slight alteration to Descartes: "I dream, therefore I am." Hmmm, I really like that idea.

Another thought about the Glee version vs the Garland version. "Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can't I?"

In the Garland version, this comes across as "birds are able to cross the rainbow, but I'm unable to. Why?" In the Glee version, it comes across as "Hey, birds can cross the rainbow, so I can, too!"

The same words, but a very distinct feeling.

Leta-Kaye said...

I was just able to catch-up on all your recent posts today, so when I read this quote in my Guideposts magazine just now, I had to share it with you, because it goes right along with what you were saying:

"Dreams come a couple sizes too big so you can grow into them."
-- Rev. Run, minister and founding member of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC

Great thoughts here in your comment too.