WARNING: Spoilers for Mary Poppins Returns.

What's the best song on Mary Poppins Returns' soundtrack? Find out with our ranking of every song, from "A Cover Is Not The Book" to "Trip A Little Light Fantastic".

Mary Poppins is back on Cherry Tree Lane in her much-belated sequel, which is - as you'd expect from Disney - heavy on nostalgia. The world of magic nannys has been painstakingly recreated, the events of the 1964 original loom over the Banks family, Dick Van Dyke is back (playing the son of an original character), and, of course, there are the songs! Written by Hairspray masterminds Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, there are nine new musical numbers in Mary Poppins Returns (not counting reprises) that evoke the Sherman brothers' work on the original while adding new flavors.

Related: Mary Poppins Returns: New Cast & Original Characters Comparison Guide

Fitting of the talent, the songs in Mary Poppins Returns are mostly winners. Whether they'll live alongside classics like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" or "Let's Go Fly A Kite" only time will tell, but what's undoubtedly true is audiences will be singing these to the Oscars and beyond. After gorging on the soundtrack after seeing the film, here's a full ranking of the Mary Poppins Returns Soundtrack from worst to best (reprises are counted in the original song).

9. Turning Turtle

  • When Does It Happen? When Mary, Jack and the Banks children visit Topsy's workshop to fix the Royal Doulton bowl.
  • Who Sings? Topsy, Mary, Jack and the Banks children.
  • What's It About? Tospy's life turns upside down on the second Wednesday of each month, but with the help of the Banks children learns to adjust her perspective.

The only true dud song in Mary Poppins Returns, "Turning Turtle" proves that while Meryl Streep will always give a fine performance, that doesn't mean she should necessarily turn up in a film. Her Eastern European Topsy is an odd-in-the-wrong-way character, the upside-down workshop barely enchanting, and her song an off-kilter chore that tries to tie into the redemptive story but only barely. It can be argued that "Turning Turtle" is a necessary tonal diversion for Mary Poppins Returns, but unlike original parallel "I Love To Laugh", it doesn't offer anything on its own.

8. The Royal Doulton Music Hall

  • When Does It Happen? When the Banks children break the Royal Doulton bowl, Mary takes them (and Jack) inside its magical world.
  • Who Sings? Mary, Jack, the Banks children and various anthropomorphized animals.
  • What's It About? How wonderful it is inside the Royal Doulton China Bowl, with Mary creating a circus tent music bowl.

The animated/live-action hybrid sequence is a highlight of Mary Poppins Returns as it was in the original, but its introductory number leaves something to be desired. "The Royal Doulton Music Hall" is less a song and more a musical guide to the china world, and while it's good fun and evocative of big bombastic entertainment, it doesn't do much on its own.

7. Trip A Little Light Fantastic

  • When Does It Happen? When Mary and the Banks children get lost on the way back home from the bank.
  • Who Sings? Jack, the Leeries, Mary and the Banks children.
  • What's It About? Jack helps the Banks kids home, teaching them about Leeries and slang along the way.

"Trip A Little Light Fantastic" is one of the songs you're most likely to be singing coming out of Mary Poppins Returns, but it ranks so low on the list because that main chorus is just one part of a seven-minute number. After the initial, fantastic singing from Lin-Manuel Miranda, there's a lot of dancing off lampposts, an extended piece on cockney rhyming slang (possibly a self-aware nod to Dick van Dyke's iffy accent) and a full-on repeat. It's a lot of song, and with very flat staging (this is where Rob Marshall's predilection to evoke the theater comes out most) feels it. All that said, the Dick van Dyke reprise is glorious!

6. (Underneath The) Lovely London Sky

  • When Does It Happen? At the very start as Jack goes about his rounds.
  • Who Sings? Jack.
  • What's It About? How great life is (especially in London).

London's sky, particularly in the 1930s when Mary Poppins Returns is set, was anything but lovely, which strikes as odd in the film's opening. Thankfully, its meaning comes clear at the end, when Mary Poppins' presence allows everybody to see the world as Jack does and blue skies replace smog clouds. Overall, the song provides a fitting bookend to Mary Poppins Returns that hints at the universality of the tale - this is one case of magic in many - and gives Lin-Manuel Miranda some solo time to shine.

5. A Conversation

  • When Does It Happen? As Michael is searching the attic for the share certificate and finds memories of his wife.
  • Who Sings? Michael.
  • What's It About? His struggles after losing his wife, and all the things he'd like to say to her.

"A Conversation" is just that: a speech-as-song piece where Ben Whishaw lays down the emotional core of the film through an achingly one-sided monologue. It's sad, it's tragic, and it establishes the traits of each of the Banks children without feeling like a shortcut. In Mary Poppins Returns itself, it's a tear-jerking moment, although outside of the context it is just dialogue and hardly something to regularly revisit.

Page 2 of 2: The Best Songs From Mary Poppins Returns

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.

Related: Mary Poppins Returns: Every Easter Egg & Reference to the Original 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

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Source:gamerant.com
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