So a few weeks back I did my Top 5 Disney Animated Classics. During that piece I actually found myself talking about the music and the songs in those films. That’s why this week’s Top 5 I am joined by Akira Jeffers (Top 5 – Film Villains) to tackle the daunting task of picking our favourite Disney songs. There are such a huge range of songs to choose from, from classics in the early days, to some of the huge hits in the 90s, and even more modern numbers from the past decade. I normally like to name check some of the options I considered, but there were far too many here, so if you you’re thinking it chances are it made my initial list.
- Shuggie: I’ll Make A Man Out Of You (Mulan) – Rocky is high bar of training montages set to music, but I’ll Make A Man Out Of You from Mulan is right at top of the rest. It actually goes a bit deeper than that because it sets up the misogynistic attitude of he Chinese Army, and Captain Li Shang, in the film as he believes that he has to make them ‘men’ for them to succeed. The turning point in the training montage when they start to improve is when Mulan succeeds at claiming an arrow from the top of a pole, and shows that women are just as capable as men, the key message of the film. It’s one that you’ll be singing for days afterwards, and really captures a key theme of the film.
- Akira: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! (Mary Poppins) – One of the best live action Disney films probably ever. This tongue twister of a song alluded generations of children, if you had a proper childhood and watched this film that is, who’s goal it was to eventually say this word. It even had a dance!
- Shuggie: Now I See The Light (Tangled) – Tangled gets a little forgotten in the modern Disney canon, and I don’t think it should, as it’s a truly joyful film, with this beautiful moment at its heart. When Rapunzel and Eugene (sorry Flynn Rider) sing this duet in the boat is truly the emotional crux of the film, and the moment that you know Flynn genuinely cares more for Rapunzel than the crown he stole. Set to the stunning visuals of the floating lanterns this is one of the most beautiful moments, not just from Tangled, but from all Disney’s films.
- Akira: Prince Ali (Aladdin) – Robin Williams as a flamboyant blue genie performing in a giant parade…need I say anymore? Another catchy song from an… okay film. I have found myself dancing round the house singing this many times. He’s also the best character of the film, sorry Aladdin, and the best song, a whole new world what?
- Shuggie: The Bear Necessities (The Jungle Book) – The best song from my favourite Disney film had to make the list. It’s a joyful, ode to the laid back lifestyle and it’s catchy as hell. Whilst the more modern Bill Murray version was quite fun it’s the original, sung by Phil Harris, that works so perfectly. It’s really the perfect introduction to Baloo, and his whole philosophy to life, and how it conflicts with Bagheera’s. It’s probably fair to assume that most people know the song, and could sing along if they heard it, and that’s testament to the staying power it has.
- Akira: Under The Sea (The Little Mermaid) – Arguably my favourite movie since childhood. It’s such a feel good dancing song. Even if Ariel in her moody teenage state couldn’t appreciate it for long, this song is always welcome at any party ever, and usually sets off a chain reaction of Disney songs. You’re guaranteed to sing along, shimmy, shake and do your worst, even if you think it’s pretty good, Caribbean accent.
- Shuggie: When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio) – Probably the first great Disney song, and still one of the high bars that you have to compare the rest Disney’s music to. It’s the opening of the whole film, and is so enchanting that you cannot help but be drawn into the film. Cliff Edwards’ vocals as Jiminy Cricket are so perfect an introduction to Pinocchio it sets the tone for the film that follows. It’s so influential a song that it’s now nearly synonymous with Disney, and especially that early period of animated filmmaking. A classic, and well deserving of a high spot on anyone’s list.
- Akira: I’ll make a man out of you (Mulan) – Tell me one person who can’t sing along to this and I will show you a liar good sir! This is one of the catchiest songs in the Disney UNIVERSE, it’s motivating and the best bit is when Mulan, a woman, proves herself to be a man more so than most of the men there! #GrrlPower
- Shuggie: Part Of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – I’m a huge Little Mermaid fan, and Part of Your World is a big part of that. Most people will probably be more drawn to Under The Sea, or even Kiss The Girl, but they just don’t resonate with me as much. Part Of Your World is so important to understand the character of Ariel and her journey going forward in the rest of the film. Rather than being a character who changes who she is to be with a man, Part Of Your World shows us that she is some who longs to be a part of the human world rather than her own before she ever comes into contact with Prince Eric. It’s a beautiful song that I can sing along to (very badly) whenever it comes on, but it’s also so crucial the whole film.
- Akira: Poor Unfortunate Souls (The Little Mermaid) – I told you this was my favourite movie. There was a task going around Facebook a month ago in which it asked what 3 Disney characters summed you up. Ursula is one of them! This song will make you feel villainous and sultry as you tempt and tease a desperate girl into handing over her voice. A truly underrated villain I believe and the best song in the film, it isn’t feel good or particularly catchy but it’s damn good!
What are your favourite Disney songs? What do you think we’ve missed (I know the entirety of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast)? Let me know. And you can follow me @shuggiesays on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.