There is an almost cataclysmic moment railroading through you skull and you cannot help but hyperventilate. Is it Blake Sims hurling the ball toward the endzone during the Sugar Bowl all over again? No sir, it’s the moment your favorite Disney song is about to begin. Whether you fancy the high-pitched-falsetto famous in Let It Go or the melodramatic masterpiece Hellfire, every child of the 90’s has fallen in love with the titanic tunes written into his or her favorite Disney movies.
To adequately prepare you for tonight’s Disney Karaoke hosted in Woody’s Tavern in the south end of the first floor of the Ohio Union; I have put together both elongated sentences utilizing prepositional phrase and semicolons AND the upcoming list of my personal favorite Disney songs. Enjoy!
In a goofy, yet extravagant negotiation, King Louie attempts to cheat Mowgli in one of the most unfair barters in all of Disney. He offers to let Mowgli stay in the jungle (where he’ll all but assuredly be eaten by Shere Khan) in exchange for the gift of fire. Thankfully, the trade is overshadowed by an exciting, jazzy, and sing-able tune and the climax of Baloo and Bagheera rescuing the captive from the primate.
Aristocats does not have a soundtrack to put up against heavyweights like The Lion King, Pocahontas, or Tarzan; however, this climatic homage to the musical abilities of felines certainly deserves to be given some honorable mention. Thomas O’Malley and Scat Cat lead the swinging song and make everyone, for perhaps the only time in their lives, truly wish they were a swinging cat.
The tale of battle against the Huns truly gets down to business with this anthem and easily the most recognizable song from the movie. We see the development of Mulan from struggling and dismissed soldier to the top of the totem pole thanks to a little ingenuity as Li Shang attempts to create an army out of soldiers unable to climb. Beyond the plotline, this song is the fast-paced, easily-learned tune Disney songs have so fervently relied.
As henchman Lefou sings the praise of his superior and the movie’s antagonist Gaston, we watch a goofy scene where the townspeople agree that every man really wants to be Gaston. While Gaston is especially good at expectorating; I’ll agree this song reinforces Gaston was meant to be the hero of the story all along; after all, he’s just a guy in love trying to save the damsel in distress from her captor. Gaston never gets his fair shake as the hero: the beloved, handsome knight needed to go forth into the dark world of a beast’s castle and rescue the outcast princess.
The popular picture of 2013 fame finds its first song at #13 as we are introduced in adorable fashion to the sisterly quarrel central to the plot. Little Ana begs for her older sister Elsa to come out and build a snowman as they had so many times in their youth, but due to ice hands, Elsa is forced to remain in solitude and transform from Ana’s best friend to the estranged sister she once had. While the melancholy ending is…well…melancholy, it is a beautiful juxtaposition to the excited and upbeat intro.
The Lion King is rife with amazing songs and moments, but Hakuna Matata sticks in the mind of many as the ultimate. Perhaps it is ironic most people love the message of Hakuna Matata when it basically belabors to just run away from problems and hang by waterfalls while eating grubs. This song is the happy anthem that definitely tells you to relax. Timon and Puma are the GOAT’s.
This song depicts everyone’s favorite hoarder Ariel booming about how she really wants to be a real human instead of a mermaid hanging around her tyrannical father Triton. As Jodi Benson belts out words which are must-sings for any fellow falsetto lover, Ariel swirls and spins through the ocean. The energy is amazing. Despite what you might remember, this is Ariel’s coup de grace on the movie’s soundtrack and there is no denying Jodi owns it.
While these songs did not need Phil Collins to be incredible, the former head man of Genesis does not hurt in making them legendary. This song has unparalleled emotion and unfathomable meaning as a true ballad of the love a mother has for her child. I have personally used it for more than one goodbye in my life and it can undeniably cause some tears. If you don’t believe me, just try it out when you go to graduate college.
Many would be upset with Be Prepared ahead of Hakuna Matata, but all music is subjective so step off. Scar offers his campaign promise to the subjugated hyenas and develops his motto of “stick with me and you’ll never go hungry again” as he reveals his plans to the audience. The haunted lair provides great backdrop to the haunting tune. The imagery is great and the addition of the comic relief with Ed the hyena makes it terrific.
Our first scene with Robin Williams and The Genie shows you just what the guy is all about (super cosmic power! And a tinnie-tiny living space). Few songs captivate the way this one does with not just a good song, but a great scene. Genie plays the world’s biggest taker-backer in history; concocting all these fantastic things for Aladdin before asking him to clap? Very twisted.
Back-to-back appearances from Aladdin give us one of the more classic songs from Disney and one many would list at the apex of a list; however, this is my list and I’m putting it here, just inside the top ten. This impeccable duet stretches across Aladdin and Jasmine’s nighttime sashay on magic carpet. Now, we don’t receive a true indicator of how much time is spent on the carpet, but it flies from Agrabah to Giza to Athens all in one night. While there is no true indication where Agrabah is located; we know the distance just to Egypt is likely substantial…then it is another 713 miles to Athens across the Mediterranean Sea before gliding back again. In other words, that carpet is cooking.
I’m not sure what’s more impressive, this song or the control Sebastian the crab has over the lagoon around him. He seamlessly organizes an impeccably choreographed number featuring fountains and fish and whirlpools and boats and so much that how can someone just flash mob like this in the middle of the lagoon? There is only on explanation: Sebastian had organized this long ago for some other event in Ariel’s life.
As far as messages in a Disney song go, few match the one found in this anthem from Hercules. An outcast and a loner, Hercules has found himself in a sad state; however, he sings a song with the basic messages of “I won’t ever give up until I have found what makes me happy”. Hidden within is Herc’s refusal to conform and his desire to find people who accept him for who he is (and this is all before he’s the greatest hero in all the world) with his enormous and disproportioned hands. Have to say, at this point in the movie, I didn’t expect Hercules would belong with Megara on earth, but eventually the bird has to be kidnapped by demons and left out of the nest.
Lumière breaks off from Belle’s terrifying first night in the castle to give us a hardy welcome to life with talking furniture and cups that are alive (does it hurt to be prodded with a fork when dragging together loose peas?) . The scene is hearty and happy and tells an audience the castle isn’t the doldrums they were thinking. Belle already makes dozens of friends in an animated carousal around the dinner table…really no better place.
The song which took over a generation is welcomed near the top of the list with open arms. How often does Disney get the talent of an Idina Menzel to perform? Very rarely. The former Elphaba takes over in an expression of vocal talent few hope to match. Booming this ballad in the most screeching of falsettos allows one to truly express the release of the covert emotions within. You may hate how overplayed it was, but occasionally songs are overplayed because they’re good.
The swooned Megara can’t help but overtly admit her clandestine love for the heroic Herc as the muses reply from the background; goading her to just admit her admiration for the demigod. Megara sways and sweeps through the garden in oddly Shakira-esque fashion. Her voice? Below average for this list; however, the tune is so good and her scratchy voice almost seems perfect for it.
Simba and Nala are en route to the water hole (NOT THE WATER HOLE?!?) with an escort in the form of Zazu, Mufasa’s “little stooge” of a hornbill. Now, as impressed as we were with Sebastian’s ability to concoct an epic dance number without warning (though we already stated it HAD to have been prepared), it bows in comparison to the plan Simba cultivates en route to the water hole. The plan is singing this immaculate piece while dancing around like the happy future king he is; meanwhile, the animals of the pride land create a giant structure where Simba appears on the top so that Zazu can be crushed by a rhinoceros. Simba reveals this was all just a farcical scheme to rid himself of the hornbill by saying, “It worked!” as he and Nala trot away to the elephant graveyard in search of Whoppi Goldberg.
Pocahontas hypocritically preaches to Jon Snow about what he has come to the new world to search for in this epic installment. The Native American princess confronts his beliefs and tells him how much easily the world would be if they could live in harmony with each other and nature. This is arguably the most historically significant song in Disney and it is calmly to know that title belongs to something as unparalleled as this.
Claude Frollo would top my list for most heinous Disney villain, the justice prepared to burn peasants alive because they don’t know where Esmeralda is hiding. Perhaps the most melodramatic of all Disney songs, Frollo provides some sinister (and honestly creeper) ulterior motives for his manhunt for the gypsy. In the end, Frollo is captivated by the gypsy and really wants to have her for himself; however, not in love enough to prevent him from burning her alive if she rejects him…or is that so in love that he is willing to burn her alive? Someone in a relationship help me out. Many would criticize for this being so high on the list, but I cannot help but love it…maybe it’s the bass voice, but I hope it’s the music.
My number one favorite Disney song comes to you live from the jungles of Africa. Tarzan has found people who seem strangely like him, after all they are humans; however, he learns just how little he knows about being human through his interactions and Jane’s teachings. Between the song, the scene, and the message; it is not even arguable to me that there is a better Disney song out there. Phil Collins keeps it all upbeat and you feel as if you can appreciate Tarzan’s desire to find who he truly is and learn the life he never knew.
Well, thanks for reading. I’m sure you have your qualms and your lists are different…great! Make sure you comment with your favorite songs and come to Karaoke TONIGHT with OUAB to sing them for the world (Woody’s tavern) to hear!
Written By: Adam Bross