“It is time” – Rafiki
I can't think of a better way to end the second season of this blog than by paying tribute to the company that has influenced my love of film most. Disney.
Disney practically ruled over my childhood with a gloved fist. They made (and still are making) films which will stay with me until the day I die.
I have wonderful memories watching Disney films with my whole family (immediate and extended), friends, girlfriends and in school – Disney and their films have been everywhere in my life.
One thing that makes Disney standout against any other film studio is its unconditional love of music and musicals. The songs that accompany their films are songs I take to heart. They became more than just songs to me - they became (cliché alert) anthems.
To kick off Disney week I’m going to be ranking my top 5 Disney songs – something that sounds easy but proved to be hard as hell. There are a lot of classic songs that didn’t make the list: Can You Feel the Love Tonight, When you Wish Upon a Star, Kiss the Girl, Circle of Life, You got a friend in me, The Bear Necessities.
When you leave steller songs such as the above out, you begin to understand what you are dealing with. Disney's catalogue is amazing
So, anyway, here they are. My top 5 Disney songs.
5 – Almost There (Princess and the Frog)
I’ve already written about how much I love The Princess and the Frog. It’s an absolutely wonderful film with a soundtrack to rival any of the Disney classics. Every single one of them. The crown jewel of all of the songs is Anika Noni Rose’s Almost There.
Maybe this song has resonated with me more ever since I became a father to my own (milk) chocolate princess, but the messages of working hard and, most importantly, listening to your daddy are messages I can get behind.
Despite the semi-serious and inspirational content of the song, Almost There is a fun song to sing very loudly. That is probably the biggest complement I can give to a young Disney song.
4 – A Whole New World (Aladdin)
This is one of the very first English speaking songs I remember and probably one of the first songs I learned the words to (don’t judge me) – so it has a very special place in my heart. It is a great stand along song, but where it truly shines is when you put it into the context of the film.
This song, more than anything else in Aladdin, sells the world of the film. It's also a film that drives home how much Aladdin and Jasmine need each other to escape the realities of their current lives.
Also, A Whole New World has been the soundtrack to many interesting moments in my life (wink).
3 – Hakuna Matata (The Lion King)
I don’t judge many people based on their tastes, but if you don't love this next song I personally think you're dead inside. Absolutely soulless.
This is my ‘f**k you world’ song. When I’m down in the dumps, I don’t listen to heavy metal or gangster rap, I listen to Timone and Pumba.
And another thing, I'm I the only one that's obsessively in love with the little jazz riffing from the singers at the end of this song?
2 – One Jump/ One Jump Reprise (Aladdin)
It’s hard to summarise how much this song means to me. More to the point, it’s hard to summarise what this song meant to a 7 year old Choco, who had a very African accent, wore the wrong trainers (Hi-Tec) and felt useless, as well as out of place in England. I used the term anthem deliberately earlier and that is exactly the right way to describe this song – it was and still is my personal anthem.
1 – So this is love (Cinderella)
This song is buried on the third CD and track 9 of ‘Now that’s what I call Disney’. It is criminally underrated and I consider it to be one of the greatest love songs of all time, never mind being the greatest Disney song.
What I love about it is its outrageous simplicity – it’s just less than 1 minute and 30 seconds long. But in that short space of time Mike Douglas and Ilene Wood perform a hauntingly beautiful duet which gets at describing that incomprehensible feeling of love.
They are perfectly describing the way I felt the very first time I saw soon-to-be Mrs Bear. They are describing the way I felt the first time I laid eye on my little cub. They are describing my feelings for Arsenal Football Club. This song is describing how I felt when I first saw Halle Berry in Swordfish.
It’s a gem of a song that has stayed with me from the first moment I heard it.
So, as you can see my list is very personal. Every song has a reason for being there. I’m not big headed enough to think that this is the definitive list. The great thing about Disney films and their song is that they are so widely loved that everyone seems to have their own personal reasons to why they prefer a certain movie and tune.