111 Awesome Disney Songs, Part 8

111 Awesome Disney Songs, Part 5

Ryan Dosier – Welcome back to the eighth installment of 111 Awesome Disney Songs! Settle in for 11 more of my favorite Disney classic tunes.

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78.)   “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2

One of the saddest Disney songs out there, and one of the few songs used as a set point in a Pixar film. Sarah McLachlan performs the song with beauty and ease. It feels like such a natural performance for her and she expresses the sadness of Jessie perfectly. It’s a focal point of Toy Story 2 and showcases Jessie’s brilliance as a character and McLachlan’s performance as a whole. Favorite Lyrics: “When somebody loved me/Everything was beautiful/Every hour we spent together/Lives within my heart.”

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79.)   “Be Prepared” from The Lion King

My favorite Disney villain song ever is this creepy, powerful song performed by Scar in The Lion King. The song outlines how scary Scar and his plans are. Jeremy Irons’ performance singing as Scar here was so strong and forceful that he actually blew out his voice performing. The filmmakers had to bring in voice actor extraordinaire Jim Cummings to fill in for the last quarter of the song. The transition is seamless and the song is awesome. Favorite Lyrics: “So be prepared for the coup of the century/Be prepared for the murkiest scam!/Meticulous planning, tenacity spanning/Decades of denial/Is simply why I’ll/Be king undisputed, respected, saluted/And seen for the wonder I am!”

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80.)   “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid

One of the most perfect Disney heroine songs ever written comes straight from the minds of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Ariel’s plight and dreams are never more clear than they are in her performance of “Part of Your World.” Jodi Benson as Ariel is sheer perfection and pure Disney magic. This song was almost cut by the filmmakers for fear of boring kids in the audience. Thankfully, “Part of Your World” was saved and it remains one of the highlights of The Little Mermaid and a favorite of those who grew up with the film. Favorite Lyrics: “Up where they walk, up where they run/Up where they stay all day in the sun/Wanderin’ free, wish I could be/Part of that world…”

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81.)   “Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog

Another wonderful princess song is Tiana’s beautiful, exciting power ballad. It outlines her drive and determination in a beautiful way, with Anika Noni Rose’s fantastic vocals to back it up. The animation style in this song also changes dramatically, to a stylized, colorful feast for the eyes. Coupling the great visuals with the exceptional vocals and lyrics make this song stand out as one of the finest. Favorite Lyrics: “I remember Daddy told me: ‘Fairytales can come true/But you gotta make ’em happen, it all depends on you’/So I work real hard each and every day/Now things for sure are going my way/Just doing what I do/Look out boys, I’m coming through!”

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82.)   “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story

No song is more associated with the Toy Story franchise, or perhaps even Pixar Animation Studios as a whole, than the opening song from the first Toy Story film. Performed and written by Randy Newman, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” captures the essence of childhood and toys brilliantly. The lyrics illustrate how important toys are to kids and harken back to our simpler, younger years, reminding us that reconnecting with them is okay. Plus, it’s incredibly catchy. Favorite Lyrics: “Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am/Bigger and stronger, too/But none of them will ever love you/The way I do/It’s me and you boy.”

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83.)   “Son of Man” from Tarzan

One of Phil Collins’ best songs from Tarzan is “Son of Man,” which takes place during the montage in the film of Tarzan growing from boy to man. It’s a wonderfully fun song with an energetic beat and rollicking lyrics. Though Tarzan isn’t a traditional Disney musical, since the characters themselves don’t sing most of the songs, “Son of Man” and many of the other songs in the film are still beloved and regarded–with very good reason. The onscreen visuals add so much to this song as well, showcasing Tarzan’s skills in the jungle as he traps a snake, gathers fruits, and befriends the animals. Favorite Lyrics: “Son of man look to the sky/Lift your spirit, set it free/Someday you’ll walk tall with pride/Son of man, a man in time you’ll be.”

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84.)   “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocahontas

One of the more exciting Disney princess songs of discovery (as I’ve taken to calling them) is this Alan Menken favorite from Pocahontas. The song and the lyrics move faster and more excitedly as the song progresses, much like a river does. The visuals of Pocahontas bravely traversing the wild river is impressive, setting her apart from other princesses by giving her a wild, fun loving side. It’s a great establishing song for the character and the film. Favorite Lyrics: “I see it there beyond those trees/And right behind these waterfalls/Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming/For a handsome, sturdy husband/Who builds handsome, sturdy walls/And never dreams that something might be coming?/Just around the riverbend!”

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85.)   “Prince Ali” from Aladdin

My favorite song on the list this week is (unsurprisingly) from my favorite Disney animated feature. “Prince Ali” is one of those songs that you kind of forget about how enjoyable it is… until you listen to it again. This marching, raucous, fanfare-laden parade march of a song is some of the most fun you can have with Disney music. This is, of course, aided greatly by the perfect Robin Williams as The Genie. Alan Menken truly outdid himself with this one, and it’s easily one of my top ten favorite Disney songs ever. Favorite Lyrics: “Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali-Ababwa!/Strong as ten regular men, definitely/He faced the galloping hordes/A hundred bad guys with swords/Who sent those goons to their lords?/Why Prince Ali!”

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86.)   “One Last Hope” from Hercules

Who knew Danny DeVito could sing? He absolutely crushes this song as Philoctetes (Phil, to his friends) and it stands out as a great training montage from one of Disney’s most woefully underrated animated films. Honestly, Danny DeVito brings such charm and panache to Phil, it’s a wonder the character or the film didn’t become more popular. This song is a veritable master class in humorous and plot-forwarding song writing. Not only does it showcase how Hercules progresses in his training, but it gives Phil some incredibly funny lines and moments. It’s a treat. Favorite Lyrics: “So you wanna be a hero kid? Well, whoop-dee-doo!/I have been around the block before/With blockheads just like you/Each and everyone a disappointment/Pain–for which there ain’t no ointment!”

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87.)   “When Will My Life Begin” from Tangled

Rapunzel is my favorite new-age Disney princess, and it is so hard not to immediately fall in love with her during this opening song from Tangled. In the song, Rapunzel illustrates how talented she is at so many things… simply because she’s so bored stuck in her tower and that’s all there is for her to do. It’s a bouncy, beautiful return to form for Alan Menken, who returned to pen the songs for this wonderful new Disney classic. Tangled marked the true return to form for Disney Animation Studios, and this song opened it with a bang. Favorite Lyrics: “Seven AM the usual morning lineup/Start on the chores, and sweep till the floor’s all clean/Polish and wax do laundry and mop and shine up/Sweep again, and by then, it’s like 7:15!”

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88.)   “Let it Go” from Frozen

What is there to say about the international song sensation that is “Let it Go”? The song, performed by the incomparable Idina Menzel, has been played so often that it’s become annoying. It’s an incredible feat for Disney Animation Studios–one they haven’t truly achieved since The Lion King in 1994. “Let it Go” illustrates the popularity and staying power of Frozen and reminds us exactly what a cultural phenomenon looks and, more importantly, sounds like. Favorite Lyrics: “Don’t let them in/Don’t let them see/Be the good girl you always have to be/Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know…/Well now they know!/Let it go, let it go!/Can’t hold it back anymore/Let it go, let it go/Turn away and slam the door.”