“In the Heights” was one of the most highly anticipated musicals of 2021. Straight from the mind of “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel-Miranda, the movie tells the story of Washington Heights, New York. More importantly, it tells the story of its people. As is the case with most musicals, the story is told through the eyes of the characters as they break out into song and dance. The resulting soundtrack is a powerful one, including no less than 17 tracks. Here they all are, ranked from number 17 all the way to number one. Each one of the songs has a YouTube link attached so you can listen for yourself.
17. Finale (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
Just as the name of the track implies, this is a song that plays while the end credits roll. It is a combination of everything you hear throughout the film. As such, you have some very lively, happy elements of music along with some notes that sound decidedly more melancholy. In the end, it is a song about survival.
16. Champagne (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
The song plays over a poignant scene in the film where two of the main characters are having a conversation. They spent the majority of the film trying to get together, only to be thwarted at almost every turn. This song plays toward the end of the film when they finally have a chance to talk about a few things, only to lose their nerve and stop communicating once again.
15. The Club (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is a lively, loud song that plays when three of the main characters are in the club for a night of drinking and dancing. As you might have guessed, it’s bold, loud and in your face, just as any good club song should be.
14. It Won’t Be Long Now (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
Every person who has ever had a dream can identify with this song. It talks about wanting a better life and striving to get it. It also talks about holding onto those dreams, even when things aren’t going your way.
13. Breathe (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you wanted something so badly, only to go for it and find that it just isn’t working out? If you have, then you know what this song is all about. The lyrics keep reminding the person singing to breathe because it will all work itself out in the end, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the moment.
12. Blackout (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
Just after the club scene, a major blackout occurs. This is the song that accompanies the scene in the film. It’s a song that involves the push and pull of looking for hope, even in the face of adversity.
11. No me diga (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
As is the case with the rest of the soundtrack, this is a song from the mind of Lin Manuel-Miranda. Like so many of the other songs on the soundtrack, this one tells the story of living life on the block in one of the biggest cities in the world.
10. Home All Summer (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This song serves as the soundtrack for two young people who are in love. One person is thinking about going off to college, all while the other one stays behind. The song deals with the two of them working out how they will keep their relationship strong, even when they can’t be together physically.
9. Alabanza (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is another song that helps move the story forward in a unique and dynamic way. Some of the songs have a happier tempo than others. This is a song that helps convey the struggles that people often experience, especially those that they suffer with in silence.
8. When the Sun Goes Down (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is a song that deals with looking to another day. For some, it is something to look forward to. For others, it is something to be dreaded. The lyrics in the song are written to help people learn that much of what we experience in life comes from one’s perspective.
7. Piragua (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is a catchy little tune that is all about making ends meet and doing whatever is necessary to make that happen. It’s not a song of pity, but one of triumph.
6. Benny’s Dispatch (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is a fun song that turns a car dispatch service into an opportunity to sing some serious lyrics. It’s fast-paced, lively and offers more than its fair share of play on words. It comes along fairly early on in the film and sets the stage for many of the other songs that will come later.
5. When You’re Home (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
If you’ve ever had that one person in your life that makes everything feel better by just being near you, you already know what this song is about. The lyrics in the song are all about that warm feeling you get in your soul when you are around that person.
4. 96,000 (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is a song about winning the lottery. More importantly, it’s one that discusses having a dream of things becoming better, even when it seems all but impossible. It’s also a song about community and helping each other.
3. Paciencia y fe (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
Patience and faith- the song’s title says it all. The song tells the story of having enough faith and enough patience to get through all of life’s tribulations. It’s a song that can sustain a person who has been waiting for things to turn around for some time.
2. Carnaval del barrio (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This song involves facing things that make you feel insecure, unsafe, even invisible. However, it also flips things around and talks about being happy in the moment, even when tomorrow seems so uncertain. The lyrics ask you how you choose to face your adversities. In short, how do you want to live your life? Do you want to control your circumstances or allow them to control you?
1. In the Heights (Lin Manuel-Miranda)
This is the first song you hear in the film. It serves as the introduction to the film and tells the story of the people in the neighborhood.