Monday, August 19, 2013


Tonight's post is the 200th post on psquared to the nth. [Balloons fall from the ceiling.] To celebrate, I thought I'd choose a topic I'm really passionate about – Disney music. I love it. It's really ridiculous too, because I don't generally love Broadway musicals and I typically hate movie musicals (with the exceptions of Grease and Xanadu). For some reason though, cartoon characters breaking out in song works for me. I'm going to do this post in two parts (part two tomorrow night). Tonight's list will be my favorite songs from Disney animated features – sung by the characters in the movie. Tomorrow night will be my ten favorite pop versions of songs from Disney movies. To keep it interesting, the rule is that a song can only go on one list. So you won't see the biggies on this list tonight because they will most likely be on tomorrow's list. These songs are as much about the movies as they are the songs. Enjoy!

10. The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers (Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day) – I don't think there is any explanation necessary for why this is on the list.

9. Someone's Waiting for You (The Rescuers) – I never saw The Rescuers (even though I owned it on VHS for years). But this song was on one of my Disney CDs and it just grew on me over time. It's just simple and sweet.

8. One Jump Ahead (Aladdin) – Robin Williams was the star of Aladdin for sure. His songs, Prince Ali and Friend in Me, are way more famous and probably better by some standards that I can't appreciate. I just enjoy this one more. It helps that Aladdin is one of Disney's hottest animated characters.

7. Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast) – This got nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song, but lost out to the title song from the movie both times. The thing is, Beauty and the Beast (the song) can stand on its own as a great song. Be Our Guest is a great song too, but it's not quite the same without the scene in the movie behind it. But man is that scene entertaining. Full screen it if you watch.

6. I Wan'na Be Like You (Jungle Book) – Up until the new era dawned with The Little Mermaid, music was mostly incidental in Disney animated movies (not counting Fantasia). There usually would be one song, if that. There were two big exceptions – The Aristocats and Jungle Book. The songs in the Aristocats are pretty good. But the songs in Jungle Book are awesome. Louis Prima was the voice of King Louie. I have to confess something about this song. When I was a kid, King Louie freaked me out. He was so frenetic and he had all those weird sounds coming out of his mouth. It mostly just scared me. As I got older, I learned to appreciate this song. The best part is when Phil Harris gets involved. Pure awesome.

5. The Mob Song (Beauty and the Beast) – I'm not sure I would have given this song a second listen if I weren't such a big Disney fan. I was obsessed with everything about Beauty and the Beast when it was released. I read everything I could. I listened to the demos and work tapes. Howard Ashman wrote the lyrics for this song just a few months before he died of AIDS. I don't remember exactly where I read this, but many people thought he wrote this as an allegory of the way people reacted to the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and early 90s. Listening to it after reading that completely changed the song for me.

4. Belle (Beauty and the Beast) – Beauty and the Beast is definitely in the conversation when you're talking about the best Disney animated features of all time. Everything about it works together. They took a standard musical format and turned it into an amazing film that got nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. This is the third of four songs on this list (plus the one that will be on tomorrow's). It's the feature that really made Disney realize how much money there was to be made from the songs in these movies.

3. Something There (Beauty and the Beast) – This song isn't really anything other than a plot device to tell the story of Belle and the Beast realizing they may “have feelings” for each other. It's the same tune as the song Belle, but there is just something about the scene and the song that I absolutely love. I know I'm probably the cheesiest cheese ball in the world, but this is my favorite scene in the whole movie.

2. The Bare Necessities (Jungle Book) – I won't pretend to that I know how great Phil Harris was as a singer or a musician. I really have no idea. But if he was this good all the time, then he was pretty special.

1. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – Under the Sea got all the attention in The Little Mermaid, but that's only my fourth favorite song from that movie. The is the movie that revived Disney as a powerhouse in the animated movie world. The three right before this one were Oliver & Company, The Great Mouse Detective and The Black Cauldron. The three after it were Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Howard Ashman & Alan Mencken were great at writing songs that brought their characters to life. This is the very best one for me. After these three minutes and two seconds, you know exactly what Ariel's about. Everything she does makes sense after you hear this. It's brilliant.

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