Disney movies have been a source of epic soundtracks for decades, especially the animated ones. There are emotional tracks that get the waterworks going, happy ones that set the heart aglow and our personal favorite, bangers that get you ready to run through a brick wall face first. Those are the tunes we are focusing on here, the ones that rev you up to rock the world. Buzz and myself chatted it up and worked down a list of about 20 songs to what you will see below. We did place one rule on ourselves with this list, only one song per movie. The honorable mentions and playlist below are in no particular order, but we’d love to hear which you think is best.
Some of these songs fell victim to the one song per movie rule, while the others just couldn’t pop the bubble (is that how the term “on the bubble” even works?). Either way, the songs below are awesome and get the motor running, but they aren’t on our main list. And since it will probably come up, I know that Sing (2016) is NOT a Disney movie. I’m including it as an honorable mention all the same because the song is flipping awesome and that’s that.
- “Eye to Eye” A Goofy Movie (1995)
- “Gaston” Beauty and the Beast (1991)
- “Be Prepared” The Lion King (1994)
- “Friend Like Me” Aladdin (1992)
- “What’s This?” A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
- “Touch the Sky” Brave (2012)
- “You’re Welcome” Moana (2016)
- “Proud Corazon” Coco (2017)
- “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
- “Set It All Free” Sing (2016)*
“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” Mulan (1998)
Listen to this song and you are ready to go to battle. While the hook begins with “to be a man” it applies to all of us. With uncertainty around us, it’s never been more important to be as swift as a coursing river/with all the force of a great typhoon/with all the strength of a raging fire/mysterious as the dark side of the moon. My only knock? I’d prefer to hear it with BD Wong singing it, the voice of Captain Shang and also Father Mukada on Oz (1997-2003) and Dr. Wu in the Jurassic Park/World franchise (1993- ).
“Stand Out” A Goofy Movie (1995)
A slept on Disney movie from the ’90s, A Goofy Movie has one of the best Disney soundtracks, period. If it was announced tomorrow that Powerline is going on tour when the shelter-in-place order is listed, I’d have tickets in minutes. While the character of Max (main character) doesn’t sing this particular song, the gentleman who provides Max’s singing voice is a Mr. Aaron Lohr. Don’t recognize the name? He was Dean Freaking Portman in The Mighty Ducks series (1992-1996).
“Go the Distance” Hercules (1997)
The song is about the unknowns and feelings of insecurity that all of us have endured and will continue to do so. Dig down, look at yourself in the mirror. You can go the distance.
“Let It Go” Frozen (2013)
The deserving winner of the Academy Award for Best Original song in 2014, this song is for everyone who has ever felt like they didn’t fit in, i.e. everyone. The song is sung by Broadway megastar Idina Menzel, who happens to be married to… Aaron Lohr! Who knew he’d be all over this list?!
“How Far I’ll Go” Moana (2016)
The movie Moana holds a special place in my heart. I spent a decent chunk of time living in Hawaii, and this movie and song put me back there. Personal nostalgia notwithstanding, the lyrics inspire the crap out of you. Next time you are on the treadmill and about to call it a day pop on this song and tell me it doesn’t get you through one more mile.
“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” The Lion King (1994)
Once the song begins everybody within earshot begins to bop with the beat. It is impossible not to. Who amongst us doesn’t have grand plans for when they become king? Sadly it’s not Jonathan Taylor Thomas singing his heart out, but it is Jason Weaver aka J-Weav. Remember that Chingy song “One Call Away”? It had Rudy Huxtable in the music video and everything? That was J-Weav on the hook. The more you know!
“The Mob Song” Beauty and the Beast (1991)
A song about mob mentality and reacting to a situation they don’t quite understand, how very 2020. The tenor of Gaston’s (Richard White) voice contrasted to the instrumentals gets you caught up in the melody of it all. I’m lucky Gaston wasn’t outside Meijer getting people ready to storm the toilet paper aisle, because I’d have been right behind him, torch in hand.
“One Jump Ahead” Aladdin (1992)
It was pretty much a toss-up between this one and “Friend Like Me” with “One Jump Ahead” barely edging it out. It’s the street rat hustle and mentality of Aladdin that gives it the nod. Escaping the law by the skin of your neck is cool and tough.
“Look Through My Eyes” Brother Bear (2003)
I didn’t think this song would make the cut when the initial list of contenders was compiled. Upon reflection and some repeat listens it hits you in the powerful side of the feels. It’s like the song version of the Coach Carter (2005) “Our deepest fear” monologue. Not to be confused with “Look Into My Eyes,” the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony jam from the Batman & Robin (1997) soundtrack.
“Un Poco Loco” Coco (2017)
The guitar play in this song sets the tempo and gets your feet tapping. The lyrics are a great Spanglish blend, enough for a gringo like myself to pretend like they can keep up. Sometimes, its a good thing to go a little crazy.
That concludes our list. No list about anything Disney can ever be 100% right, but hopefully, you’ve got a solid playlist to jam out a sing-a-long with either your roommates, kids or buddies. Zoom karaoke anyone?
You can check out the playlist on YouTube here.