Marvin was almost a great song writer.
And while I've got my giant Broadway Queen hat on that's never fit quite right, A Chorus Line is one of our stupidest musicals in the library, though not nearly as offensively terrible and banal as Rent, by the end of which I was actually pulling for the AIDS virus.
And because like most people at the age of 11 or so I was going through my "Ragtime phase", I never understood how he could've accepted an Academy Award for music he didn't even write. It's akin to some Celine Dion hot mess of a song at the end of yet another animated comic disaster beating out something like "Kiss At The End Of The Rainbow", which is actually in the movie at a point when you don't know whether to laugh or cry.
I think "I Need This Job" is a perfect song, and not just because he lifts its main theme from Elgar's "Nimrod". That's fine; we all steal. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard guys on tv name their biceps. Only on Modern Family is it still funny after 10 years. (England Dan and John Ford Coley.)
But like most of his work, you kind of have to dig "I Need This Job" out of the bargain bin at the TJ Maxx to appreciate it and differentiate it from all the mismatched scarves and satin belts. (Queen hat still on, I guess.)
The thing about Marvin is that he couldn't keep up with the music he heard in his head. He was enormously gifted, to be sure, but most of the time he was just holding onto his own coattails for dear life while scribbling away furiously on blank music paper only to hear from a distance tune after tune appear to outrun him in the subway car ahead. (Sondheim was always one step ahead of his own mind because he always took a cab.)
And then there's "Through The Eyes Of Love".
But even the worst musical snob when he hears the last refrain of "I Need This Job" can hear himself say upon being quite moved: Please don't let this feeling end.