There are some soundtracks that can immediately take you back to a time and place the second you hear their first notes. The piano chords right at the start of the Rent movie soundtrack are that exact kind of music. Those first piano chords signal the start of the movie's iconic opening number, "Seasons of Love," which is a song that not only defines the movie, but also has defined sing-alongs for generations of musical theatre kids. In addition to the soundtrack's standout opening number, it's filled with classic songs that are sure bring to you back to 2005.
The music actually first reached fans when Rent premiered on Broadway in 1996. Back then, the music became an instant smash hit among fans of both musicals and rock, since the score melds the two genres beautifully. So then when the feature film adaptation of the show came on the scene in 2005, its soundtrack instantly attracted countless listeners. Some fans even think the movie soundtrack is better than the original stage cast recording,
It's definitely a controversial statement to say that the movie soundtrack is better, since this rivalry between the movie soundtrack fans and original Broadway cast recording fans is the kind of musical theatre debate that can keep drama clubs full of people fighting for hours. But, no matter which side of the debate you fall on, you have to admit that the Rent movie soundtrack is a true jam. From sing-along bops and soaring ballads, the Rent score has something for every type of music fan.
After "Seasons of Love," the soundtrack kicks into high gear with the title song "Rent," a loud and angry rock song that is sure to wake you up. The song perfectly sets the tone for the show and explains to new fans that this is a show about artists who, well, are "not gonna pay rent." Not only will this song bring you back to 2005, but it's also hard to listen to it without instantly imagining yourself on the gritty streets of New York City alongside the cast.
If you're looking for a fun dance track, skip straight to "Today 4 U," which features Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel singing a hilarious story involving a lady in a limousine and an Akita named Evita. That's all while drumming out a beat that it's hard not to dance to.
You might know her today as Claire Temple on multiple Marvel series, but before she was saving superhero lives, Rosario Dawson was belting her heart out on the Rent soundtrack. "Out Tonight" shows off Dawson's killer voice as the wild Mimi.
No other song totally captures everything that Rent represents like the song "La Vie Boheme," which features the full cast chanting all the weird and fabulous things that make up the characters' bohemian lifestyle in late 1980's New York. The most passionate fans will be proud to show off their know-how by singing along with every single lyric of this especially wordy song.
Another memorable track from this album is Idina Menzel's showcase song "Take Me Or Leave Me." With Menzel's character Maureen explaining to her girlfriend why she should accept her flirty ways, this song is a little less family-friendly than the other songs Menzel is known for, like Wicked's "Defying Gravity" and Frozen's "Let it Go." But, it is just as fun to sing along to this one, if not more so since you can try to replicate Menzel's dance moves while you sing.
There's never a more emotional song in a musical than the finale, and the Rent finale is no exception. The song bursts with heart as the whole cast sings the key messages of the movie: "No day but today." I dare you to listen this one without shedding a tear.
If listening to the movie soundtrack isn't enough for you, there will be much more Rent to soak up soon. Rent: Live airs on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. on FOX.