4. Can You Imagine That?
- When Does It Happen? Just after Mary Poppins arrives.
- Who Sings? Mary.
- What's It About? Mary Poppins starts her care of the Banks children by giving them a magical bath that teaches them about imagination.
Emily Blunt's singing on the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack is across the board practically perfect, and "Can You Imagine That?" is a contender for her best number. She imbues the lyrics with a mix of stern and joy, teasing out the joy of the overly-adult children, and the scale riding up is a delight to hear. The only thing holding it back is that, like multiple songs on the soundtrack, it's heavily reliant on visuals; the sequence is an effects showcase as much as a musical one, meaning the entire middle section of the song is instrumental only.
3. The Place Where The Lost Things Go
- When Does It Happen? After escaping the Royal Doulton Bowl.
- Who Sings? Mary, the Banks children.
- What's It About? Mary Poppins consoles the children, teaching them about loss, memories and dreams.
If you have to keep just one of the story/thematic songs from Mary Poppins Returns, it would have to be "The Place Where The Lost Things Go". Sung hauntingly by Emily Blunt, it gets right to the core of what the movie's about and pays a key motivation in how the Banks family begins to move forward. The whole movie is darker and sadder than the original, and this song best shows how it does that without losing a sense of wonderment. The reprise, where the Banks children sing it to their father, is equally touching and will no doubt help many people grieving the loss of loved ones for years to come.
2. A Cover Is Not The Book
- When Does It Happen? In the Royal Doulton Music Hall.
- Who Sings? Mary, Jack.
- What's It About? No judging a book by the cover (and a bit more than that).
"A Cover Is Not The Book" simply shouldn't work. It has Mary Poppins wearing a short-haired wig singing in a working-class accent while Jack raps a meandering story. But, fitting of its message, it's a song and dance number that holds a lot of extra genius in it. It's part of the Royal Doulton sequence, so all the wonderful visuals are a given (as are Blunt and Miranda's faux-cartoon costumes), and begins on a pitch-perfect character beat as Mary refuses to sing for all of half-a-second. And, like a pile of hardcovers, it stacks, with the following four minutes eclectic, catchy, enthusiastic and slyly paralleling the moral of the film.
1. Nowhere To Go But Up
- When Does It Happen? At the end, as the Banks celebrate getting their house back.
- Who Sings? Everybody!
- What's It About? Embracing joy and remembering to be a child.
Mary Poppins Returns couldn't have asked for a better final song than "Nowhere To Go But Up". A lovingly-presented metaphor that hearkens back to the original movie's kite flying, it sees the entire cast float up holding balloons, discovering their own inner-child (Michael even finally believes in his childhood memories of Mary Poppins). A chorus about embracing joy and happiness, everybody gets their wishes through pureness of heart (except William "Weatherall" Wilkins). It's a proper finale, with soaring music, mix of personal and grand, and a bittersweet ending as Mary Poppins leaves them once again stating that the adults "always" forget by tomorrow.
Next: Mary Poppins Review
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) release date: Dec 19, 2018