2. "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles
Musicals, especially big, successful musicals often have big anthemy-type songs to offer the audience an exciting climax or catharsis or an emblazoned statement of theme. This is especially true of Jerry Herman shows, which do not shy away from big feelings. Even in this concentrated pool, there can be no bigger anthem than "I Am What I Am." The song is so big, even Shirley Bassey sang it straight. Gloria Gaynor recorded a disco version, but you don't need to pump it up. It's the Herman credo: Keep it simple. There is no more basic truth than "I am what I am." Gold.
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