I'm Breaking Down: The Top Ten Songs by William Finn

By Ben Rimalower
16 Nov 2013

10. "Four Jews In A Room Bitching" (from Falsettos/March of the Falsettos

"Four Jews In A Room Bitching" is the opening number of Falsettos and March of the Falsettos and was originally the title of an earlier version of March of the Falsettos. It is the quintessential William Finn song. The striking lyrics repeat the unforgettable title phrase on a melodic hook that calls to mind children's television and commercial jingles and music that plays in our 20th-century pop culture-infused subconscious. Finn is uniquely able to channel this style musically, and his lyrics spring so organically from the tune that it's like the characters' souls are singing. Often with Finn, the soul that sings is crazy, or at least quirky and neurotic, and in this case, hyper-self aware and extremely entertaining. The room of the title refers literally both to a psychotherapist's office and to the theatre in which it is performed, but it also suggests a metaphysical room in which the characters simultaneously live their lives and sing about it to the audience. It's a bold and effective way to establish the highly theatrical style of the show.