My Favorite Disney Songs: #45-41
The 41-50 portion of my list will probably be the most contentious part of the list. If we’re going to get into where most people would disagree with my specific rankings, it’ll be here. Because this is really where my personal tastes affect the list most. (50-46 can be found here.)
It’s not that the songs in this section are bad, it’s just — the first three on this specific portion probably won’t appeal to Disney purists, who feel more classic songs should go high on the list simply because they’ve been around for so long. I’m of the opinion — if I love the song, and I listen to it all the time, then it should be ranked higher. So, the first three songs today might not strike everyone as top 50 songs. But you know what? I don’t care. I love them.
Plus, once we get past this section (and you’ll see it start to happen at the end of this section), after this it’s pretty much all legit “classic” Disney stuff. The top 40 is just loaded with amazing song after amazing song. I’m not kidding. Just wait. It’s amazing.
So, indulge me my personal favorites that I feel are top 50 songs, and then after that, we’ll all get to wallow in the amazingness that is Disney at its best.
Here are numbers 45-41:
45. “We Belong Together,” from Toy Story 3
I fucking love this song. It’s so goddamn joyous. It’s obviously not classic Randy, but it’s Randy at his most fun. And after Toy Story 3 — it needed something like this. (Plus, major props to that Gipsy Kings cover in the end credits. That shit made me laugh out loud in the theater.)
This song is basically in the same vein as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” But it should be. And it feels like the right song to be the song for Toy Story 3 as compared to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” being the song for Toy Story. Plus it won him a well-deserved second Oscar (which is probably the same as when Paul Newman won for The Color of Money even though everyone knew he should have won for The Hustler.)
I think this belongs here. You tell me this isn’t actually as good as the stuff below this. I’ll call you a liar. This is a great song. It’s not gonna be a classic classic, but you know what? I’ll still have this on my iPod in ten years. So I stand by this ranking.
44. “Down to Earth,” from Wall-E
What a terrific song. I feel like I’m cheating a bit with this, and know this probably should, all things considered, be in the 51-55 section. But again, I don’t care.
Part of my basis for these rankings comes down to how often I listen to the songs. And honestly, of anything between this and #60 — I listen to this song the most. I love this song. Sure, it’s not classic Disney, but it’s also not #35. You know what I’m saying?
I also told you to go with me for the first couple entries of the top 50, since they were going to be personal choices. So I think you should cut me some slack, if you’re really thinking this doesn’t belong here. I say this is the best non-Randy Newman song to come out of a Pixar movie. I say this outdoes almost every Disney song written post-1995. Top ten for certain. Maybe top 12 or 15. I haven’t actually thought about what’s involved in post-1999. But you get my point.
It’s staying here. I love this song.
43. “Life’s a Happy Song,” from The Muppets
Apparently they took down the film clip version of this song. Disney is militant about that shit. This was all I could find. (What the fuck, Disney?)
It’s weird to me that of all the stuff I put in the top 50 I felt this was the least controversial choice. I just assumed people would go with it. Probably because it feels like a knee-jerk reaction song. Either people are gonna have thought to put this a lot higher (that’s how things work nowadays. You see something and immediately push it to the top of the list. This is either because of our short attention spans, or because most of the people making these lists are only 13 and haven’t seen any movies yet), or they’re gonna go, “What the hell are you doing?” I also think that this being snubbed for the Oscar nomination helps people champion it as a great song. So that’s good.
But let me explain why this is here…
The reason this is where it is (aside from the fact that it’s so goddamn happy-go-lucky and catchy), is because of another song that I couldn’t put on this list. Knowing that it only came out last year, and my predisposition toward keeping recent stuff away from being ranked so high just to give it time to prove whether or not it belongs there, I probably would have only put it in the 55-51 area.
But — I felt that putting it here was only acceptable if I was able to also mention that it’s here because I was unable to put “The Rainbow Connection” on the list. That song is absolutely brilliant, and I couldn’t put it here because Henson and the Muppets weren’t part of Disney at that time. So technically it’s not a Disney song (even though they probably own it now). But, it being what it is, and so much a part of the Muppets (they made Kermit sing it in the movie, for christ’s sake. Again!), I felt that it had to be mentioned. So, my wanting to show my love for “Life’s a Happy Song” (and it’s staggeringly nonsensical exclusion from the Best Original Song category last year) felt acceptable if I was also able to say that song played a part in it.
And here we are. Listen to them both. You know they’re great.
42. “Cruella de Vil,” from One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Now we’re getting to the good shit. Just wait. The top 40 is fucking incredible. You don’t even have to think about it. Everything that shows up is just like, “Of course.” They’re also going to be songs that, when you listen to them, you go, “Damn, that should probably be higher.”
Like this one. I listen to this song and go, “Why didn’t I put it higher?”
But I trust myself. I know that if it ended up here, there’s a reason for it. And as I listen to it, I see that there’s not much here in terms of actual music and lyrics. So that keeps it from going way high on the list. Some other songs are much richer in terms of lyrics. But they don’t get much more classic than this. Which is a huge deal.
Also — what a negative song? How many Disney songs are slanderous toward a person? I mean, sure, Cruella is a bad person, but she’s not evil. She’s just — bad. You know who’s evil? Maleficent. Cruella’s just a bitch. So it’s weird for him to be like, “This bitch is satan.”
Still though — totally belongs here. Ain’t no one gonna argue with that.
41. “You Can Fly!” from Peter Pan
Go ahead and tell me this doesn’t belong here.
What a great song. This is another one — when you listen to it, you think, “Why isn’t this higher?”
But, when you listen, you also realize — there’s not so much in the way of lyrics. It’s mostly a chorus singing it. It doesn’t have the personality of other great Disney songs. But it’s still a classic. So that’s why I could only really put it just outside the top 40. It’s great, but the ones above this have character. There’s only so much I can do with a chorus song.
– – – – – – – – – –
Oh you have no idea how excited I am to get into the top 40. The other 60 were child’s play. Now it’s figuring out when certain songs are gonna go. You know what the remaining songs are (for the most part). So now it’s, “Oh, I wonder where (x song) will be.”
So, to start the tease for what will be next…
In the next section of the list, we’ll have a song that is both creepy and racist (creepy being the primary descriptive term. If you know Disney, you should know exactly what song that is. Think about which songs freaked you out as a child, and whenever you come across a racist one, that’s a bingo), a song that is probably only the fourth most well-known song in its film, but also might be the one that (for me, at least) most brings up mental images from the scene it accompanies in the film, a nice twist on the Disney “work” song, a song that is, without question, the trippiest thing Disney’s ever produced…
and Randy Newman.