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The Worst Songs of Notre Dame de Paris

Updated on August 19, 2014

Esmeralda and Clopin

Helene Segara as Esmeralda & Luc Merville as Clopin
Helene Segara as Esmeralda & Luc Merville as Clopin

Introduction

Notre Dame de Paris, originally came out in 1998 in France is one the success French Musical ever. It has been translated into several languages and been through many casts worldwide. Many of the songs are beautiful and lovely.

As much as love Notre Dame de Paris, I can concede that not all the songs are created equal. So this is a list of the Worst songs of Notre Dame de Paris. Now these songs are not personally my least favorite in fact I enjoy a lot of them but either they’re clumsy, don’t move the plot forward or they’re just confusing to the over plot of the show.

These are the Top Ten Worst Songs in Notre Dame de Paris

The pictures are mostly from the original 1998 Paris Cast.


Quasimodo

Garou as Quasimodo
Garou as Quasimodo

Number 10

Pope de Fou

My first issue with this song is that at little under three minutes in length, it feels long. It’s very repetitive even for this show, songs are pretty repetitive in general. But what really bothers me is that Quasimodo keeps asking Esmeralda if she’ll love him now that he’s the Pope of Fools. Now he just saw her which means he basing it on looks alone. Unless we have to believe that he has seen her before but considering that this Quasimodo first time singing in the show, I’m not sure. It’s weak and it’s a shame because it’s Quasimodo introductory song.

Pope de Fou

Clopin

Luc Merville as Clopin
Luc Merville as Clopin

Number 9

Condamnes

I understand what this song is doing. Notre Dame de Paris references the Refugees in Paris in the late 1990s. However, it’s worked in the second song of the show, Le Sans Papier, in this the reference gets in the way. Earlier in the second act, Clopin finds out that Esmeralda has been arrested and is about to die and it’s kind assumed that he going to try to save her but instead he sings about social inequality and gets arrested.

Condamnes has a great gestalt but it stops the flow of the musical doesn’t add all that much except that Clopin and his pals are arrested at end. Plus I dislike the rain gear costumes that the dancers wear.

Condamnes

Fleur de Lys and Phoebus

Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Patrick Fiori as Phoebus
Julie Zenatti as Fleur de Lys & Patrick Fiori as Phoebus

Number 8

Je Reviens Vers Toi

This song is just plain mean. Phoebus blames Esmeralda for bewitching him and that is why he pursued her. He tells Fleur de Lys, his fiancée, that he is returning to her because he is better now.

But the line that makes this song mean is that he callously says that Esmeralda is condemn to die, so it’s like he’s going back to Fleur de Lys because Esmeralda is going to die. He just seems like he’s no better, he just a manipulative jerk. I don’t believe him for a second, you just know he’ll be back at a brothel the following night.

Je Reviens Vers Toi

Anarkia

Bruno Pellatier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo
Bruno Pellatier as Gringoire & Daniel Lavoie as Frollo

Number 7

Anarkia

There something about this 42 second song that I enjoy, it just so ADD but just because I enjoy doesn’t make it good.

First it’s about Esmeralda, then about Anarkia (Ananke), then about Quasimodo being sentenced on the pillory. In a span of 42 seconds we have three subject changes. I know it’s a bridge song that gets us from Dechire to more or less Belle but still this song tried to do way too much and yet it wasn’t enough of anything.

And another thing this Anarkia is a misspelling of Ananke, which a concept means very simply "death destiny." This Greek concept and has lots of spelling but Anarkia isn’t one of them. It is better than Anarchy which is the English version of the song which makes it even sillier. I think the show’s translator, William Jennings, gave in to spellcheck on that one.

Anarkia

Esmeralda and Phoebus

Helene Segara as Esmeralda & Patrick Fiori as Phoebus
Helene Segara as Esmeralda & Patrick Fiori as Phoebus

Number 6

Tentative d’enlèvement

In the book, the Kidnap attempt gets the plot in motion. Here you can see Quasimodo chasing Esmeralda but she seems like she is running from the extra that tries to kiss her more than Quasimodo. But the reason for this song being on this list is that Phoebus asks Esmeralda if he can escort her home and she says she is not a soldier’s girl but then he asks if can meet her at a brothel and all of sudden she is in love with him and agrees. That just ridiculous writing. I mean it’s pretty funny but is it’s not supposed to be.

Otherwise the song is pretty forgettable which is sad since this scene is supposed to be important to the plot.

Tentative d’enlèvement

L’attaque De Notre-Dame

The Dancers of Notre Dame de Paris with Luc Merville as Clopin
The Dancers of Notre Dame de Paris with Luc Merville as Clopin

Number 5

L’attaque De Notre-Dame

The attack of Notre dame was a big point in the book. Quasimodo defends Notre Dame against the Court of Miracles who were just trying to save Esmeralda after Frollo lied by saying that Sanctuary was being suspend so that he get Esmeralda out of the safety of Notre Dame and in his power. But King Louis mistakes the rescues as people demanding Esmeralda’s death and orders for her execution.

In Notre Dame de Paris the musical none that happens. Frollo has the ability to suspend sanctuary and Clopin defends it because I guess he was in sanctuary after Quasimodo released him from jail, so Quasimodo has no part of the climax. But there is also no build up to L’attaque De Notre-Dame, it seems to be there because Esmeralda has to get out of cathedral so she can die and the source material demanded it. If anything going from Vivre to L’attaque De Notre-Dame is very jarring. The attack on Notre Dame is really just a formality in this musical.

L’attaque De Notre-Dame

Frollo & Quasimodo

Daniel Lavoie as Frollo & Garou as Quasimodo
Daniel Lavoie as Frollo & Garou as Quasimodo

Number 4

Mon Maitre, Mon Sauveur

Mon Maitre, Mon Sauveur is on the list because it's one of least viewed Notre Dame de Paris video on the Queenisgod youtube channel, which is the most popular youtube channel for Notre Dame de Paris. The fist least viewed is also on this list.

This song is pretty forgettable, I hardly remembered it when I was compiling this list. I mean two people die and I hardly remember the song that is being performed. The song is just Quasimodo asking Frollo to help Esmeralda, which is does not do. The Death of Esmeralda and Frollo are memorable but this song is not.

Mon Maitre, Mon Sauveur

Esmeralda and Clopin

Helene Segara & Luc Merville as Clopin
Helene Segara & Luc Merville as Clopin

Number 3

Esmeralda tu Sais

Esmeralda tu Sais is a dull song. Really, it’s just boring. It tells the back-story of Clopin and Esmeralda, their relationship and how Esmeralda should be wary of men but it’s dull. They tried to fix it in later versions of the show by making a duet between Clopin and Esmeralda opposed to just Clopin's song but it still doesn’t really help. It still just dull.

Esmeralda tu Sais

Quasimodo

Gio di Tonno as Quasimodo
Gio di Tonno as Quasimodo

Number 2

Si Tu Pouvais Voir en moi

At the risk of not being objective, I hate this song. This song is not in to the original version of the musical, it was added in 2001. It’s Quasimodo singing in place of Frollo’s Je Sens Ma Vie Qui Bascule.

In later versions, Frollo doesn’t spy on Esmeralda singing while she is singing Ave Maria Paien, instead Quasimodo does and then sings this song about how his love is better than those other guys, which is true, if only Esmeralda could just see it.

First, this song makes Frollo's Tu Vas Me Detruire come out of nowhere, so it ruins the pacing of the show.

Second, it didn’t do the musical any to harm to soften Frollo’s character, in fact it made it more interesting.

Third, while this song isn’t out of character for Quasimodo it just weird for him to sing these words. This song is Quasimodo boasting and calling Esmeralda out for being shallow, not exactly Quasimodo’s character traits plus we already understand Quasimodo’s tenderness and devotion to Esmeralda from Belle and in Ma Maison c’est Ta Maison, so this song is just repetitious.

Si Tu Pouvais Voir en moi (In English)

Quasimodo and Esmeralda

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara as Esmeralda
Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara as Esmeralda

Number 1

Je The Laisse un Sifflet

Je The Laisse un Sifflet not only kills the pace but is clunky and unnecessary. The title means "I leave you a whistle," now think, really think, do you recall a whistle ever being used in the show? No! This is reference to the book where Quasimodo gives Esmeralda a whistle and she uses it to summon Quasimodo to save her from Frollo. The whistle never has a single use in this musical.

I have to wonder if this song is left-over of songs and scenes that were cut while Esmeralda is in Notre Dame. It would explain why the play goes from Vivre to L’attaque De Notre-Dame, which I already mentioned is jarring, but they couldn’t get rid of Je The Laisse un Sifflet as it’s a bridge song from Lune to Dieu que le monde est injuste.

In later versions, they try to improve this song by making it a duet between Esmeralda and Quasimodo but not even that could save it. It so boring and dull that it puts Esmeralda to sleep.

Je The Laisse un Sifflet

DVD of Notre Dame de Paris

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