Let’s start, of course, with the quintessential American masterpiece of the 21st century: “Hamilton.” This song, the explosive conclusion to Act 1 of the musical, has it all — catchy repeated phrases, intense rap breaks, and historical narration that is intense enough to have you screaming along, “Hamilton wrote...THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE.”
“Watch What Happens” (“Newsies”)
Katherine Plumber has a story to write — a story that has to single-handedly save the newsies’ strike. You have a paper to write — a paper that has to single-handedly bring your Expos 20 grade up to an A-. Listen to Jack Feldman’s witty, clever, internal-rhyming lyrics set to Alan Menken’s always catchy music.
“One Day More” (“Les Misérables”)
Otherwise known as what you ask your professor for when you haven’t started your final project and it’s the day before it’s due. The entire cast of the epic musical classic unites for an explosive number in preparation for their final battle whose conclusion will determine their fate. Sound familiar?
“Chip on My Shoulder” (“Legally Blonde”)
You can’t be a Harvard student with a musical playlist without including something from “Legally Blonde.” Elle Woods transforms into the top law student in her class, all within the span of this nine-minute narrative-song — the exact sort of montage you need for your all-night study session.
“My Shot” (“Hamilton”)
When a musical manages to win eleven Tony awards, it deserves a second spot on this list. Listen as Lin-Manuel Miranda goes off for five minutes of pure inspiration and motivation. Finals only come once per semester. Perhaps if you hear “I am not throwing away my shot,” enough times, you’ll take advantage of yours.