I've broken out my old VCR, and I've been slowly going through my VHS tapes to see which ones still work after ten years of sitting in a dark, dank attic. Most of these are Disney movies, and most of them are from the 90s, movies I haven't seen in about that long. As an unforeseen result, I have grown a new appreciation for those movies, and especially their music.
Growing up, I liked Disney movies, but I always hated when they started singing. It just took me out of the experience.
Watching these movies, knowing what I know now, I realize how much of an idiot I was.
So! Now, because lists are easy and I am not feeling like making a twenty paragraph essay tonight on the importance of the three-act structure, or whatever, here is a list of my top five favorite Disney songs, in no particular order!
Mulan - I'll Make a Man Out of You
C'mon, you can't tell me you didn't see this one coming. This is a fantastic song for a number of reasons, one of my favorite being just the animation when they're fighting. The scenes are short, but absolutely perfect.
Plus, it's the only time I can think of since Rocky where a training montage was fun to watch!
Aladdin - Street Rat
Honestly, I'm not sure why, I've just always liked this song. It's just fun to watch! Not much more to it than that.
Beauty and the Beast - Be Our Guest
This song is now stuck in your head. You're welcome.
As a side note, this movie (and this song in particular) is really a subtle homage to the old Disney style. I didn't even really notice there was a difference until I caught myself today thinking about how this movie was ripped straight from the 1940s, style-wise. Just the way the characters move, and the way things are animated are really evocative of the earlier Disney stuff. Especially Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Maybe there's a blog post about it in more detail down the road, who knows?
The Little Mermaid - Part of That World
The animation in any given Disney movie tends to be the best during the musical interludes, and this movie is no different, especially on Ariel herself. Watch her facial expressions and how her hair undulates as she flips and dives, and how it floats when she's stationary. That takes WORK, man! That's not an easy thing at all to animate and look convincing! Especially in this style, where hair is portrayed as a single semi-liquid mass.
Also, Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel is, in my humble opinion, one of the best female singers in any Disney movie to date.
Hunchback of Notre Dame - Hellfire
Probably one of the most controversial and thematically complex Disney songs ever written. It's a priest singing about questioning his faith, about persecution, about doing something absolutely forbidden to him, on many levels. This song does a fantastic job of simultaneously and paradoxically getting the audience to sympathize with Frollo, and cementing his place in the movie as the villain. It's just a powerful and powerfully written song, that really doesn't mince words, or beat around the bush. It's summed up quite handily in the closing lines "God have mercy on her / God have mercy on me / But she will be mine or she will die!"