My Favorite Disney Songs: #55-51
This is our final section before the top 50, and we start to see some real classics come up. Including one song that I’m going to apologize for in advance. Don’t worry, you’ll see when we get to it. (60-56 are here.)
My favorite thing about this portion of the list has to do with two songs in particular. One is from a film I hadn’t really seen until recently, and it’s a song that I didn’t much care for at first. But then, each time I listened to it, it grew on me, to the point where, when I started creating this list (and was just putting songs in the general area I knew they’d end up), I had it somewhere in the 70s. And then when I actually set numbers for all the songs, it ended up in the 60s. And then, when I was going to move the list from its Word document into these articles, I had it set for the previous article. And here it is, finally making its appearance. It’s definitely had the most motion of any song on this entire list.
The other song I’m excited about is so recent, and from a film that almost no one saw, that I feel like I need to be extra vocal about it because it’s so great and there’s a chance people won’t know about it and leave it ignored for years and years. So that’s really why I like this portion of the list.
That said — let’s get into it.The last half of the bottom half of the list. Here we go — 55-51. There’s some great stuff here:
55. “Just Around the Riverbend,” from Pocahontas
The thing about Pocahontas is — the film is a bit uneven, but between this song and “Colors of the Wind,” it has this classic quality to it.
What I like most about this song is those little “Just once more!” and “Beyond the shore!” bits. I don’t know song structure, but I like how the verses are steady and those little bursts pop in.
Overall, the song’s not great. It’s mostly plot, and the lyrics aren’t that universal, but for some reason it has that quality to me that makes me want to put it here. Maybe it’s because I grew up with it (and because of those little bursts). I don’t know. Maybe this should have been lower, like 60/61. But I’ve already gotten this far, so, here it stays. It’s not exactly a hard and fast list anyway. I just wanted to get stuff down.
Plus it’s all just about listening to the songs and appreciating them anyway. So, whatever.
54. “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love),” from Hercules
This is the song that had the biggest rise on this chart. About 20 spots, all told. This song really grew on me each time I heard it.
To me, this is the best song in Hercules, not “Go the Distance.” Lyrically, it might not be as universal, but I just think — with the structure of the song, and the fact that it’s so unlike most of the other Disney songs (it has Alan Menken’s show tune quality to it, plus with the Motown backing vocals, it’s really a great little outlier of a song), it really stands out to me.
Plus, like I said, I’d never seen Hercules before now. So when I was listening for songs to put on this list, I heard this and was like, “Oh yeah, that definitely goes on.” And it was just like, “Yeah, that’s good enough to go on/I can’t not put it on even if I don’t like it.” So I really never put much into whether I liked it. But then each time I refined the list and kept listening to it —
I really like this one. Is the point. Before I repeat myself again.
53. “So Long,” from Winnie the Pooh
How many people actually saw Winnie the Pooh when it came out last year? And before you say anything, I call bullshit, since it barely made $30 million at the box office. I think people generally just ignored this movie. And I really doubt many people over the age of 7 rented or bought this on DVD.
But let me tell you — this film was magical. Have you ever seen The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh? The one they did in the 70s? Well, this is just like that. It’s terrific. And it looks gorgeous. It’s a perfect movie. Just horribly underseen.
And if you don’t know much about it — Zooey Deschanel sang the title song, and also wrote some tunes for the film. The big one being this one.
And just listening to it — how do you not put it on this list? How does this not want to make the four-year-old in you want to get up and dance? Sure, it’s simple, but that’s the first line of the song, for christ’s sake.
All I know is that it’s catchy, it’s fun, and it makes you feel good. I’m probably putting it a bit higher than I should, but I don’t care. I blame the rest of you for not seeing this movie and knowing nothing about it. Plus, whenever I get to the chorus, I go, “I don’t care. I’m leaving it here.” So that’s how it is. I love this song.
52. “One Jump Ahead,” from Aladdin
You have to show this respect. It’s the entire structure of the chase sequence working alongside the music. Plus, all of us who grew up with this movie, we can quote every inflection in this song. More so than almost any other song in the film. So attention must be paid.
I’m not crazy about the lyrics here. It’s clearly not a top 50 song (and you’ll see why when we get to the top 50) as just a song. But as an overall entity in this movie, when you blend sound and image, this is definitely one of the best things they’ve done.
Think about it — who actually thought the story of Aladdin would actually work as a Disney movie? I’m amazed this movie works as well as it does. I’d say they caught lightning in a bottle, but considering the film, it’s clear they caught something else in a bottle.
(I know. I’m hilarious.)
51. “It’s a Small World”
Oh, you’re so very welcome. I knew you couldn’t make it another day without listening to this.
Seriously, they should just put this on at Guantanamo. That’s how you torture somebody. Put this on in a loop. I wonder what it must be like to be an indentured servant at Disney World at this ride. Having to hear this over and over and over.
There’s no denying this song’s importance to Disney. Anyone who doesn’t want to put it on this list is really just annoyed with it and just plain sick of it.
Probably, this song should be a lot higher than it is. But — I am annoyed with it and am just plain sick of it, so I refused to put it in the top 50. Though we all know it should be there. I’ll acknowledge it, but I won’t actually do it. This is my list, remember. These are my rules, I make ’em up. So while this is a song that should objectively be considered one of their best (though I don’t know… should it? Is ubiquity the same as greatness?), I can’t do it. I really want my top 50 to be songs I actually like, rather than ones I’ve been Stockholm Syndrome’d into accepting.
– – – – – – – – – –
Okay, tomorrow we get into the top 50. I won’t tease it, since that in itself is as much of a tease as you’ll need to come check it out.
It’s the top 50 Disney songs ever! (Well, my top 50. But I think we’ll be able to agree on most of them.)