9.13.2012

Top 5 Disney Character Introduction Songs.

It's time for the second post in this Disney musical mini-series. If you didn't see the first one, here are my thoughts on villain songs. Anyway, for the rest of this, I figured I might as well go in chronological order of when these typically show up within the films. Now, I'm not going to bother with an opening songs category, as usually--not always, but usually--the opening song is a much smaller ditty like "Arabian Nights," and the first big show-stopper is the second song (a notable song that differs from the rule could be "Circle of Life" in The Lion King). In fact, that second song is usually what I call the "Character Introduction" song. These are the songs that let us get to know our main character and/or characters and the world they live in. So let's get on with it...


TOP 5 DISNEY CHARACTER INTRODUCTION SONGS

Honorable Mention: "Daughters of Triton" from The Little Mermaid. In 45 seconds it tells you so much about the characters. Sebastian is a cocky, stuffy musician. King Triton is a hot-head... and has a weird fetish for alliteration. And Ariel, by not showing up on her debut, is a bit self-centered. But because it's rather short and incomplete, I couldn't put it on the list.



5) This Is Halloween (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

Like another song on this list, this one almost perfectly encapsulates the setting of the film while giving you a look at both the secondary characters and introducing you to the primary character. It also really sets up the tone of the film and really shows you how important Halloween is to this town, which of course is going to be uprooted a little ways in.



4) Honor To Us All (Mulan)

What I love about this one is that it's much more interested in sharing and introducing culture, since the culture has such a major part of what drives the story. Mulan wants to keep honor in her family and wants to make her father and grandmother look good, even if that means doing things she's not comfortable with or good at. It's a strong setup for how the world works, how women are perceived, what drives Mulan, and who a few of the other characters are.



3) When Will My Life Begin (Tangled)

This film is loved by many, but even those same people give it flak for not having the greatest songs. But I'll tell you what... I don't think this song in particular gets enough credit. I will spoil this now, but this song is going to be appearing on more than one of my lists in this little mini-series. Why? Because it's an incredibly multi-faceted song. It's doing so much in its 2-and-a-half minute run-time (and it has a couple reprises that go along with it, as well). In this particular case, you get a very catchy song that introduces us to our main character (and one of our secondary characters with the chameleon). It's a very tongue-in-cheek song full of so much cleverness and irony. You get a perfect idea of who this girl is, what she feels about her situation (even if she won't say it out loud--which says even more about her character), and what she wants most in the world. It's a fantastic introductory song for this character and her own personal setting that really illuminates everything you need to know about her before the story kicks off.



2) One Jump Ahead (Aladdin)

I love this song. It's so much fun, and it perfectly sets up our hero and his monkey friend. This song is a more... direct way of letting you know about the character. Aladdin sings about why he's doing what he's doing, and all the other characters--who apparently know him and his ways--sing about exactly what kind of guy they perceive him as. Thief. Scoundrel. Cunning. Quick. Clever. It's all there, told to you in song and shown to you at the same time. What's really great about it, though, is that after all of that setting up and stealing of the bread and whatnot... what follows shows his true nature as he gives up the bread to a couple starving children, proving that he's not the ruffian and street rat everybody else considers him.



1) Belle (Little Town) (Beauty and the Beast)

It's not only a perfect character intro song, but a perfect intro song to the film in general. It sets up practically every major human character (it doesn't show her father, but it mentions him). It's a perfect mix of telling us (through song) exactly what kind of people they are with showing us their personalities and letting us gather it ourselves. And it tells us what kind of people live in her town, which basically sets up the mob mentality later since even they admit she thinks very differently from the rest of them.

15 comments:

  1. Great post, number 1, 2 & 5 would all definitely be on my list, probably in that order too.

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    1. Cool. I still say the Tangled song is vastly underrated for everything it gives us.

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  2. Great list! I've never seen Tangled, but I love the Prince Ali intro from Aladdin. Just because the lyrics are so ridiculous.

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    1. Indeed! "Prince Ali" is gonna show up on a later list (spoilers!). It IS a character introduction of sorts, but not the type I'm talking about here.

      You should totally see Tangled!

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  3. I don't remember many of these songs or films as well as I would like to... but nevertheless, this is a really cool idea.

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    1. Thanks! I think someone needs to go on a Disney marathon. :P

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  4. Only two that I wish could have found a way on the list: "Part of Your World" and "Go the Distance." Maybe they don't even fit the qualifications in the first place though, and I wouldn't exactly want to remove any of your five since they are all mighty fine.

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    1. They don't fit here. But I promise both are actually going to show up later in this series.

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  5. I've only seen Tangled once, but none of the songs really stuck with me. I'm in total agreement with One Jump Ahead, that is a fantastic song.

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    1. I'd give Tangled a rewatch (wtf am I saying here?). Seriously, I think some of the songs are a lot more clever than some people have been giving them credit for.

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    2. Tangled is actually quite good, and the songs do grow on you after repeated viewings.

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    3. In fact, the Repise for "When Will My Life Begin" is capable of giving me goosebumps.

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    4. That's another that will be appearing at some point in this feature. :P

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