My Favorite Disney Songs: #60-56
Oh, this is exciting. My favorite parts of a list of 100 are always the 60-51 and 19-11 portions, because those are the ones where you see what’s not going to make the cut of the next tier. These next to portions of the list are going to be those songs that just missed making the top 50. And — you can see why, in this case. Especially when you see what’s in the top 50. (Oh, and — 65-61 can be found here.)
That said — these next ten songs are amazing. I really like them a lot. This portion specifically is great because it has two songs that happen as part of exchanges between prince and princess, as well as a song that most people probably would cast aside (along with the film it’s in) that’s actually quite good.
And we also find out here that even above average Randy Newman is better than the best of most anyone else.
Her are 60-56:
60. ”Barking at the Moon,” from Bolt
I went and saw Bolt in theaters, and I loved it. I was the only one in the theater. It was Thanksgiving break, and I was home for the four days or whatever it was. And I remember going into the theater, and I was the only one in it. It was probably Thanksgiving night, to be honest with you. And I was sitting in the theater, my feet up on the chair in front of me, and the film didn’t start on time. And finally, ten minutes later, some guy walked into the theater, probably expecting it to be empty, saw me waiting and went, “Oh, let me go start it.” I guess he thought it would be empty so they wouldn’t have to run it.
But anyway — I love Bolt. I think that, along with Tangled, it’s the best thing Disney’s done in the past decade.
And this song is really terrific. More press was given to the duet between Travolta and Miley Cyrus (how creepy is that combination?), but this is really the best song in the film. And you can tell they knew that, since this was given the prominent montage position in the film, which, over the past decade, is usually the sign that it’s the “major” song in the film. That’s how Disney operates now. All songs are sung by the artist and not the characters, and are presented over montage. It’s horrible. They’re killing the concept of the Disney song.
Just to point out how much I love this song — it’s country. I hate country music. Yet — here it is: #60. I think this is a perfect storm of a great Disney song. It’s catchy, it’s in a good film, and it has a great message: “There is no home like the one you’ve got / ’cause that home belongs to you.” — how great is that? This song needs to get more notice than it does.
59. “If I Didn’t Have You,” from Monsters, Inc.
This is the song that won Randy Newman his first Oscar. On his thirteenth nomination. He didn’t win for writing the scores of Ragtime, The Natural, Avalon, Toy Story, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug’s Life, Pleasantville and this film, and for writing songs for Ragtime, Parenthood, The Paper, Toy Story, Babe: Pig in the City, Toy Story 2 and Meet the Parents. And a lot of those make sense. But it’s strange that they didn’t give Randy Newman an Oscar for twenty years. And most of us consider this a makeup Oscar, since “If I Didn’t Have You,” while a good song, is not exactly “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” you know?
Similarly — this song is clearly not Randy’s best work. But, when you listen to it — it’s a great song. It’s catchy, and it’s got a great message. So I’m a big fan of it. That said — this doesn’t really belong in the top 50.
I imagine most people wouldn’t put this as high as I have, but I’m of the opinion — 75% of Randy is better than 100% of most anyone else.
58. “Prince Ali,” from Aladdin
Oh shit, it’s on now. Not everyone knows all the lyrics to “Friend Like Me,” but we all know these lyrics.
A lot of people would consider putting this higher, but when you listen out of the song — there’s not that much there outside the chorus. A lot of it is Robin Williams doing his schtick (at least until the last minute, when the chorus joins in). But I think we all know that putting it any lower than this would be an insult.
Again, though, let’s pause to reflect that Alan Menken was responsible for the songs in Aladdin (not solely, of course, but he has become the figurehead for all the praise, so let’s go with it). Talk about home run after home run. Eight Oscars, he’s won. Eight. That practically makes him royalty.
Also, back to “Prince Ali” for a second — how about Robin Williams doing a Walter Brennan impersonation? +10 for that.
57. “So This Is Love,” from Cinderella
Oh, the beauty. Cinderella dancing with the Prince, and this song.
“So this is love / Mmmmm / So this is love / So this is what makes life divine. / I’m all aglow / Mmmmm / And now I know / The key to all Heaven is mine. / My heart has wings / Mmmmm / And I can fly / I’ll touch every star in the sky. / So this is the miracle / That I’ve been dreaming of / Mmmmm / Mmmmm / So this is love.”
It doesn’t get any more simple and perfect than this. And the duet coming in at the middle — oh, divine.
56. “One Song,” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
This has the distinction of being the second song Disney has ever put to screen. After the Prince comes upon Snow White singing into the well, he comes up and starts singing, which frightens her. And then he serenades her from below her balcony with this.
I’m a sucker for crooner songs like this. In the right situation. And this is definitely the right situation. The fact that this is Disney’s first Prince song does help this go higher, but it does definitely hold its own regardless. Listen to it — it works. It’s good songwriting.
This is really the basis for all Prince love songs. That counts for a lot. I think you’re delusional if you don’t at least consider it going this high.
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Okay, one more before we get into the top 50.
It’s mostly 90s Disney in 55-51. Three memorable songs from memorable 90s Disney movies, plus a song so recent from a film almost no one saw, you might question why it’s going so high (until you hear it, of course). And also a song that’s so ubiquitous in the Disney universe I have to plague you with it one more time.