It's hard to separate the thought of Disney with the songs that bring its films to life. These songs, for many Disney fans, provide us with more than just a soundtrack to a movie. For many, these songs are the soundtracks to our childhoods and creative experiences. With these songs holding an important part of our heart, it is hard to imagine choosing which of them are our favorite. Better yet, it is even harder to imagine ranking the overall soundtracks in relation to its movie. But one must wonder: which Disney movies have the best songs and soundtrack?
Aladdin is an interesting beast with a soundtrack that seems to transcend different times and cultures. From cool and mystical to fun and upbeat, the songs in these films are just a collage of different sounds and emotions. For me, that's exactly why these songs are deserving to be on this list: they carry such strong emotions. We feel for Aladdin as he runs through the streets, we laugh and join in the excitement with the Genie, and we feel like we join Aladdin and Jasmine on their carpet ride. The songs in this film carry so much emotion and fun, that it's hard not to view them as some of the greater songs in the Disney line-up.
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Now, this film, in my opinion, is one of the more underrated Disney films. Is it completely perfect: no, it has some flaws with character choice and subject matter, but all films have some sort of problem. However, the strengths in this film rely heavily on its atmosphere and tone. For me, this is really cemented with the use of its soundtrack. This film, with its larger than life church, has a larger than life soundtrack complete with full choir that blends perfectly with the haunting echoes of church bells found in songs like "Bells of Notre Dame," "God Help the Outcasts," and "Hellfire." The music transforms an already great story about overcoming the judgement of others to a complete spectacle of music splendor. Dark, beautiful, and even haunting, this soundtrack makes full use of its church setting to bring us a huge soundtrack that one will not soon forget.
Now, I know that this film is a questionable choice given how new it is to the Disney scene. How could I have chosen this film above every other Disney film in the line up? Personally, I think that this film is a prime example of how one should use a soundtrack in a film. Not only is the soundtrack both beautiful and fun, it fully is steeped in character development and beautiful Hispanic culture. "Remember Me" specifically is a prime song because it conforms to all of the characters who sing it, revealing aspects of their nature that the movie doesn't necessarily say out loud. Plus, it completely transform in meaning and tone as the film progresses, making it a dynamic song for a dynamic and beautiful movie. I love this movie and its soundtrack is just icing on the cake.
4. Beauty and the Beast
There are some Disney movies with songs and then there are Disney musicals. For me, the animated "Beauty and the Beast" fully lives up to the latter category. Not only is every song within the movie a memorable piece of art, all the songs are completely incorporated and blended into the film. All the songs provide us with a barrage of animation, color, and entertainment while also providing us with a sequence that movies the plot forward. Besides this, the songs themselves are just timeless in their quality from the introduction of "Belle" to the main "Beauty and the Beast" song. All of these songs in the movie are absolutely wonderful which make for an even more wonderful watching experience.
5. The Lion King
I feel like my inner child would be fully offended if I didn't add this classic to the list. "The Lion King" is a film that will be remembered for years and years to come. For me, part of that has to do with its amazing soundtrack. I view the soundtrack as this type of diverse and flexible beast, knowing when to be upbeat and fun or slow and beautiful. It easily moves between awe-inspiring to sinister, providing our eardrums with a delightfully harmonious experience. The film, with its animation and setting, already provided us with a larger than life experience, but the soundtrack helped that feeling translate into an auditory medium. Everyone can hum a few bars of at least one of "The Lion King" songs and its place in our brain and our hearts make it well deserving of a place on this list.
It was difficult to narrow down my personal list, but I am pretty satisfied with the results. Now, no two Disney music tastes are alike. I'm sure we all have different movies with varying songs that have a special place in our heart. No matter what song you have in your heart, its our love for movies and music that brings us together as fans.