Top Five Disney Animated Movie Soundtracks

I’m very happy to say that my good Disney friend Andrew Carrieri is back with a great post on one of my favorite ways to add a little Disney to my day – Disney music!  (Andrew can usually be found as a contributing writer at The Mouse For Less and on Twitter @AndrewCfran)

Top Five Disney Animated Movie Soundtracks

Andrew Carrieri

Disney animation is legendary. Through 2014, the company has released fifty-four full length animated movies, which feature classic characters, unforgettable moments, and amazing music. The latter element is the subject of this post. Below, I will list my top five soundtracks among these animated flicks and provide reasons for my choices. You may very well disagree with my selections. If such is the case, don’t just “let it go”! Sound off with your opinions in the comments! After all, there’s plenty of music to go around.

Fifth-best Soundtrack: Oliver and Company (1988). Huey Lewis’s “Once Upon a Time in New York City” and Billy Joel’s “Why Should I Worry?” are two of my favorite Disney songs, in part because of my New York bias. As a Long Islander, I’ll gravitate towards anything that features Joel, one of our top celebrities.

Fourth-best Soundtrack: Hercules (1997). From a depth standpoint, I think Hercules has the most underrated soundtrack in Disney history. With upbeat Gospel music (“The Gospel Truth”), songs of despair (“I Won’t Say I’m in Love”), and one of the most epic numbers in animation history (“Go the Distance”), Hercules’ soundtrack brings it all. Hercules

As a general note, I typically prefer the popular version of Disney songs to the in-film rendition where applicable. Here, I find Michael Bolton’s rendition of “Go the Distance” during the end credits superior to Robert Bart’s performance in the movie proper.

Third-best Soundtrack: Pinocchio (1940). Disney’s second animated feature may not have as many great songs as some of its counterparts, but it gets bonus points for “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which is undoubtedly my favorite song from any Disney movie. I am known to tear up whenever I hear it played, usually at the start of Disney movies with the “Walt Disney Pictures” logo.Pinocchio

Second-best Soundtrack: Aladdin (1992). “A Whole New World” is one of my favorite Disney songs, and the film’s other numbers are anything but shabby. Whereas some movies feature songs that are solid in the moment but otherwise forgettable, Aladdin has a plethora of memorable numbers. “Arabian Nights,” “Friend Like Me,” and “Prince Ali” are extremely enjoyable tunes in their own right.Aladdin

Best Soundtrack: The Lion King (1994). What is the best song in The Lion King? Now, that is an easy question! It is “Circle of Life.” On second thought, it is “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”! Or, maybe it is “Hakuna Matata”? Umm, maybe this question is not so easy after all.The-Lion-King

Suffice to say, in my opinion, The Lion King features the greatest and most complete soundtrack in Disney history. All the songs are catchy, and they bring different vibes to the table. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “The Circle of Life” are beautiful and sentimental, “Hakuna Matata” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” are whimsical, and “Be Prepared” is foreboding.

As an aside, while I usually prefer the popular versions of Disney movie songs to the in-film versions, I find the in-film rendition of “The Circle of Life” superior to the Elton John version, which is still excellent. The song provides an exhilarating commencement to the film.

Well, that’s my list! Feel free to share your favorite Disney soundtracks in the comments!

Remembering Robin Williams

I can’t let today go by without a brief farewell to a wonderful man, a great comedian – who brought me (and many of you, I’m sure) hundreds of wonderfully entertaining moments growing up.

In the 7th grade, I had a pet canary named Mork.  I absolutely adored the TV show Mork and Mindy!  Robin Williams, first appearing as Mork on an episode of Happy Days, captured my complete attention – in all my young years, I’d never seen anyone like him.  Silly, energetic, creative – I admired Robin Williams’ ability to make people laugh but also to be a compassionate philanthropist and a fine dramatic actor as well.

Genie and the LampThrough the years, I enjoyed Robin Williams’ acting in a wide variety of roles including his radio DJ persona in Good Morning Vietnam, his medical antics as Patch Adams, and his unbelievably enjoyable drag gig in Mrs. Doubtfire.  I don’t know if there’s a movie that made me laugh more than The Birdcage.  None of his roles, since he first grabbed my attention as Mork, was as wonderful to me as that of Genie in Disney’s Aladdin.

Everything about Robin Williams’ roles in Aladdin – beginning as the narrator in the movie’s opening and continuing on as the incredible, incomparable Genie – was as great a demonstration of all the comedic genius Robin Williams was capable of.  The man could ad-lib so quickly, audiences could suffer whiplash trying to keep up!  Disney’s illustrators captured the actor’s frenetic energy, silliness, and big heart perfectly.  Even after seeing Aladdin dozens of times, I still find myself appreciating new things in Genie’s dialogue each time I see the movie.

I’m sad today because the world has lost a unique and wonderful man – who devoted himself to worthy causes like helping the homeless (Comic Relief), entertaining American troops, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (among many other charitable works).  I’m sad for myself because a man who kept me entertained and laughing from middle school to adulthood has left the Earth far too soon.