I had been a fan of Ministry of Magic ever since I heard their song “Nothing to Fear” on The Leaky Cauldron’s Christmas release “Jingle Spells 3”. However, I hadn’t heard any more of their songs until I went to LeakyCon 2011 in Orlando, Florida in July. Hearing them live, I knew then that they were my favorite Wizard Rock band bar none. Harry and the Potters? While they may be the “original”, I’d hardly consider them the “best”… They’re “bacon” this and “bacon” that, and “I’m Harry Potter and I’m Harry Potter too”. They are incredible entertainers, but their songs speak all mirth and no substance. I don’t say this to insult their talents, but to provide a contrast between their music (much of which I admittedly have not heard) and that of Ministry of Magic.
Ministry of Magic’s music, especially that of their “greatest hits” album, “Songs from Gringott’s Vault”, is so entirely meaningful. It really speaks volumes. Much of the lyrics on this album has to do with the epic conclusion of the series: Ron leaving Harry and Hermione, Ron and Hermione falling in love, Snape’s sacrifice during the War, Harry leaving Privet Drive for the last time before the War, a call to arms during the War, Snape’s internal conflict before the War, breaking into and out of Gringotts, Harry’s anger towards Snape after Dumbledore’s murder. All of these songs really speak to me and my initial reactions to the Deathly Hallows story when I first read it.
I downloaded “Songs from Gringott’s Vault” via iTunes shortly after its release, because the physical CD is not available yet. I heard about the release after I saw their new YouTube music video of their brand new release on the album: “More than Enough”.
After I purchased the MP3s, I listened to them, and I concluded that there were only two songs that I didn’t care for very much: “Marauder’s Map” and “My Baby”. I don’t like “Marauder’s Map”, probably because it includes too many “raps” and “screams” and not enough singing. I do love Electronic-style music, but a good beat needs to be coupled with good vocals. With the other tracks, the vocals are awesome, so this one song is my only complaint about that.
“My Baby” is about Harry falling in love with Professor McGonagall. It’s one of those songs with “mirth and no substance”, and being a teacher myself actually, I can’t get past the whole “appropriate teacher-student boundaries” idea. I’m sure some find humor in it, but I don’t care for it. I suppose the same dislike could be true for “House Song”. Twice in the song there’s swearing, something else (call me a prudish teacher if you like) I don’t like very much.
However, my iTunes library rates the rest of these songs as five stars. Some songs I enjoy more than others, but they all deserve that rating.
1. Don’t Leave. Several times I’ve sung the chorus to this song at the top of my lungs in my car. “I know it’s been such a long time since we’ve just been friends and not soldiers on the front line of a war that we were born into but we have to do this together. Don’t leave me.”
2. Accio Love. I remember this one vividly at LeakyCon 2011. “It won’t be long til they discover Ron and Hermione love each other.”
3. The Bravest Man I Ever Knew. I also remember this one vividly at LeakyCon 2011. This is one of their more popular and more powerful songs. Actually, one of my favorite parts of the whole song is the spoken part, which is taken from the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows: “Albus Severus, you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin, and he was, probably, the bravest man I ever knew.” Here’s a video from LeakyCon:
Oh the memories. I remember singing “Take it! Take it!” at the top of my lungs that night. Always. There’s so much in one word.
4. Gryffindor Rally Cry. Such a cool song. It seriously makes me wish I could pick up a broom and join in the fight. And not even break a sweat.
5. House Song. See earlier comments. I don’t mind the song so much, but I don’t like the swearing. I like their other songs more, anyway.
6. Goodbye Privet Drive. Along with “Don’t Leave”, this is my other absolute favorite of the album. I love the “whip” affect (for lack of better words) before each chorus. This is another one of those songs that I love singing at the top of my lungs in my car. “I’m finally on my own.”
7. Call to Arms. I also love this song. It has to do with the call to arms during the battle and the final moments. I especially love the lyric: “And everyone is with me now. The world it sings. And I am keeping beat. I raise my wand and everyone joins in one song.”
8. Snape vs Snape. At the risk of sounding redundant, I love this song too. Killer female vocals.
9. Lovegood. I too would love to take Luna to the moon and be alone with her. She is one of my all-time favorite awkward characters.
10. This Town. Such a cool song about breaking into Gringotts and breaking out again.
11. The Lightning Struck Tower. About Harry’s anger towards Snape after Dumbledore’s murder. Once again, I’ve found myself screaming “FIght back you coward! Sectumsempra! Levicorpus! Noo!” in the privacy of my own car. I don’t often enjoy screaming in music, but this time I do!
12. Marauder’s Map. 13. My Baby. See earlier comments.
14. Ascendio. I can’t imagine being Harry Potter. He has the entire weight of the Wizarding World on his shoulders, but he started out as a boy who had no idea that he was a wizard. He started out as a lonely, unloved orphan who had lost all hope in his future. This song breaks my heart.
15. I May Lose Everything. This song looks back to the time during “Order of the Phoenix” when Harry started to see and feel the connection between himself and Voldemort. “I may lose everything, but you never had it. Once I felt nothing. Now I feel sorry, sorry for you.”
16. More than Enough. As I mentioned earlier, this is the brand new release of this “greatest hits” CD. This is such a phenomenal song. It is a song about ourselves, the fans. “As we move on, it doesn’t mean what we had is gone. When we graduate we must make way for the next generation. When we graduate we must make way for the next generation. And I can’t wait to take my kids to the station and watch them wave, knowing their great destination. Though I can’t go back, I love knowing that… The weapon we have is still love… And having a few good friends is still more than enough.”
A perfect selection of songs from an incredible wrock band.