Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jenn's Pick: My Top 20 Favorite Disney Songs Ever (#10 - #1)

I decided to make a post ranking my favorite Disney songs of all time and I needed to split it up into two posts for the sake of rambling and praising each of my choices. So, in case you missed the first installment, I wrote about my #20 - #11 songs here and ranked them.

And now, without further adieu, I give you my top ten favorite Disney songs ever. Ever. This was a difficult list to compile, but I feel pretty good about all of my choices. I only chose Disney (not Disney Pixar) songs and only listed songs where a character  or person performs them in the actual movie itself. There are no end credit songs, no scores, etc. included for the sake of my own personal rules and because I would have way too many choices if I went in that direction.

So here we go: click below the cut to find out what I chose as some of my favorite songs of all time and see if you agree with some, all, or none of them.

10. "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" - Frozen

Until I saw Frozen, I didn’t understand why everyone got so weepy when it came to “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” And then, once I saw it in theatres, I had to sniffle back tears at poor little Anna being told to “go away” by Elsa. This is such a lovely and heartbreaking song (the end with adult Anna and Elsa always punches me right in the feels) that focuses on the once-closeness and now-distance there is between the sisters. You feel the growing sense of loneliness of both characters, though, as Elsa cannot control her powers and Anna cannot understand why her sister has essentially abandoned her. There’s such a simplicity to the request in the song and yet such a complexity to the relationship between Anna and Elsa and UGH. You guys, this song makes me feel so many things. Go listen to it right now. Do it.

9. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" - The Lion King

I have a nostalgic attachment to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” because when I was a child, I was in a ballet class and our recital piece was set to the Elton John version of this song. And while I do love that version, I love the movie version just as much. It’s so beautiful and catchy and the music swells and builds and… you’re singing it right now aren’t you? I love that it’s a song that focuses on the feeling of love in the air and that feeling is mirrored by the instrumental accompaniment and the background vocals rising and falling. It’s a simply lovely track and one that I am pleased to have in my top 10.

8. "Part of Your World" - The Little Mermaid

I’ll never forget that when I was a teenager, I stepped out of the bathroom one afternoon (my parents’ bathroom was the nicer one in the house) and my mom asked me if I was singing in the shower. I sheepishly admitted that I was, and she commented on how good I sounded. That boosted my ego a bit and “Part of Your World” is, admittedly, my go-to shower song and was the song I just happened to be singing when my mom paid me that compliment. I love The Little Mermaid and I love Ariel’s song because it’s so full of longing and desire for something more out of life. And I think that’s a universal feeling, really. We all long for SOMETHING (to be something more, to do something more, to have adventures) and Ariel longed to know what it was like to be human, to be away from her suffocating family, and to be free.

So “Part of Your World” cracks my top 10 Disney songs for those reasons: it's a universal song, it's a brilliantly sung song by Jodi Benson, and it's sung by a great Disney heroine.

7. "Gaston" - Beauty and the Beast

“Gaston” is one of those songs that is so hilarious because it focuses on the entire town trying to cheer up the hunter because he’s down in the dumps. They’re all literally giving him an ego boost by telling him all of the ways in which he is amazing. It’s fantastic because Gaston is this character who you don’t presume NEEDS cheering up or ego boosts because he pretty much has the entire town falling at his feet, but when he’s rejected by Belle, he turns into this pathetic man-child. And I really enjoy the atmospheric quality to the song, too. It’s set in the pub and you can tell by the way the track progresses that it gets rowdier and livelier, just like the actual pub does. The town and Le Fou manage to significantly cheer Gaston up and I love that they do it through this song, which is why it lands so high on my list.

6. "Friend Like Me" - Aladdin

I honestly don’t think a “best of Disney song” list is complete without “Friend Like Me.” How can anyone deny the perfection that is Robin Williams as Genie in this song? In addition to all of the amazing voices that he does, this is just such a fun and energetic song. It’s catchy and an amazing scene to watch – Aladdin pulled out all of the stops with this track. And though I do love “Prince Ali,” this song just edges that one out because of how utterly FUN it is. If you don’t tap your toes at least once during it, there’s something inherently wrong with you.

5. "I'll Make a Man Out of You" - Mulan

There’s a reason that “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is on my running playlist, guys. It’s a totally motivational song. It’s the only track from Mulan that I’ve included because I love the inclusion of all of the minor ensemble characters in it. The supporting characters are such an important part of this movie that I thought it significant that they all performed “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Of course, the arguable star of the song is Donny Osmond (my mom had a massive crush on him when she was a teenager), who sells it with his vocal power. I think everyone should have “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” on their workout playlist, don’t you? It’s a song in which Mulan finds her strength, even though it appears that she’s defeated. She’s desperate to prove her worth to her fellow comrades and to Li Shang. And really, it is such an inspirational song because of that and because of the success that Mulan finds once she applies every last bit of strength and determination she has and refuses to give up. Add it to your playlists now, folks.

4. "Be Prepared" - The Lion King

If you notice, there’s a running theme throughout my post – I haven’t really chosen any villain anthems. Oh, sure, I suppose you could argue that “Gaston” is one that focuses on the “villain” of the movie but the true focus of that track is cheering our brooding hunter up. It’s a fun song that doesn’t focus on Gaston’s evil plans or anything like that. No, I have chosen heroic, sappy, or otherwise inspirational anthems for my post.

… Until now. “Be Prepared” is, in fact, one of my favorite Disney songs of all time and it focuses on villain Scar singing about his plan to overthrow and kill Mufasa and rule the Pridelands. But it is such a GOOD song and Scar was such a delightfully evil villain that I just had to put this song on my list. If you don’t feel the compulsion to sing “Be Prepared” at anyone whilst listening to the song, then you’re clearly not me because I always have to contain the urge to sing it at my work desk when it pops up on Spotify. I love when villains reveal their evil plans in Disney movies and I love it even more when those plans are revealed through song. And thus, why “Be Prepared” is one of my favorite Disney songs of all time.

3. "I See the Light" - Tangled

Switching gears into my bronze medal-winning song, I give you Tangled’s romantic ballad “I See the Light,” which is also known as “that song where I fell in love with Zachary Levi and his voice.” Tangled is still one of my favorite Disney movies of all time and this song has snuck up as one of the greats in terms of romantic Disney ballads. There is something reminiscent of “A Whole New World,” too, in this song which I think is why I adore it so much. The entire “I See the Light” scene with the floating lanterns is one of the most gorgeous scenes in any Disney movie that I can remember and adds to the romantic element of this song. It’s just such a lovely, beautiful track with Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore’s voices blending relatively seamlessly together. The movie is beautiful, the characters are beautiful, and “I See the Light” is beautiful because it’s all about the moment you “see the light” and realize the person in front of you is the one you want to be with. 

(…. And now I have the urge to watch Tangled again.)

But seriously, this song is perfect so don’t argue with me on it. BOOM. Lawyered.

2. "Let It Go" - Frozen

What could I possibly say about “Let It Go” that hasn’t already been said? It’s a beautiful, powerful, inspirational, and fantastic. There’s a reason that the song won an Oscar, after all. The lyrics and music are absolutely gorgeous and it’s a perfect mantra for everyone EVER, no matter what circumstances they’re facing. The scene that accompanies the song is absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous. Idina Menzel sells this song with her powerful voice and that note that she hits toward the end. Why is “Let It Go” #2 on my list? Because it’s a song that’s a story of a young woman’s journey from being afraid to learning to accept herself just as she is and seeing the beauty in her gift, rather than the danger. She’s been shut away her entire adult life, believing herself to be a monster. And then, in this song, she learns that when she has no limits and boundaries and her freedom… she’s not a monster. She creates beauty and art and she feels at home for the first time in her life. “Let It Go” is a song that focuses on Elsa’s acceptance of herself and her “forget everyone else” mentality, which is just so wonderful and so inspiring and so deserving of the metaphorical silver medal in this post.

1. "A Whole New World" - Aladdin

While “Let It Go” was a contender for the gold medal, it wasn’t able to edge out my absolute favorite Disney song of all time: “A Whole New World.” I don’t even know what it is about this track that makes it my favorite, but I think that it’s a combination of the animation and the scene itself, the stunning duet, the beautiful lyrics, and the fact that Aladdin is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies. The music and lyrics in “A Whole New World” are beautiful: this is a song that is all about Jasmine taking a risk on Aladdin as a person and learning to be adventurous in her life and in love. (Come on, “don’t you dare close your eyes” and “hold your breath, it gets better” are perfect, don’t even lie.) The duet is balanced so nicely, with Aladdin singing about how Jasmine needs to trust him and Jasmine singing about the joy of being free and being on a flying magic carpet. 

This scene is one of my favorites (I have been saying that a lot, but it’s true. I have a lot of favorites.) and this song is, at the moment, still my favorite Disney song of all time. It’s a classic, which I think is what makes it so perfect. If you hear the song playing at Walt Disney World – and you will – nine times out of ten, someone around you will be singing it and dueting with their friend. I embarrassingly sang it to my sister with gusto while we were at Downtown Disney one afternoon. She now hates me because of it (kidding). But really… this song is my favorite, hands down.

Thank you ALL for reading my top 20 Disney songs post! Do you agree or disagree with these? Which songs have I omitted that you would add? Hit the comments below and let me know your thoughts. Have a great day. :)


  1. Aladdin is my favorite Disney prince. :)
    My top Disney song would have to be Part of Your World (Reprise). I have this daydream of me walking down the aisle while that is playing and Happy Ending (with lyrics) playing after the ceremony. Hahaha. A Whole New World is probably my 2nd favorite song. <3

  2. Fundamentally if the music sucks, the verses isn't going to benefit you in any way regardless of how well it is composed... Indeed, even Prince composes awful melodies. Pick great music in the first place... It has a BIG effect.