Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aug. 10th: My Favorite Disney Songs

Ah, Disney, the great unifier. Ask anyone you know their favorite Disney movie, character, amusement park ride, and song, and you'll immediately get an answer for each of them. And because Disney's been around for so long and it's produced an endless amount of stuff, it's a good chance that no one will give the same answers.

So here are my answers:

Movie: Either Three Caballeros or Monsters, Inc.

Character: Either Donald or Scrooge McDuck

Park Ride: Either Journey Into Imagination or The Enchanted Tiki Room

Song: Well, that's where this entry comes in. I can't believe I've been blogging since 2006 and haven't listed my favorite Disney songs. Well, that all changes right now! I've complied a Top 11 list in no specific order (since the order changes all the time), with related Youtube clips to enhance the experience.

#11. Friends on the Other Side

Yes, the requisite villain song from "Princess & The Frog." I absolutely love villain songs, and you'll see a few more on this list. This is from one of the more recent movies, but I have to tell you that like most villain songs, it's the best one in the whole movie. You have jazz, crazy special effects, and of course the smooth, sexual voice of Keith David (aka Goliath from Gargoyles).

He provides quite the slithery tongue for Dr. Fancillier, as he uses words like "hop," "green" and "freedom" to keep Naveen in the dark with his true plans for him. (HINT: He waits until the end of the song to bust out "transmogrification," just to let Naveen know that he's in for some deep shit if he didn't realize it already.)

I apologize for the quality of the video, as it's the only one out of like 10 videos of this song that allowed embedding. Click here for a higher-quality version. Either way, neither video does this song any justice, I recommend getting the DVD and watching it on a good TV.

#10. The Duck Tales theme

You remember this show, right? Scrooge McDuck and his nephers Huey, Dewey & Louie travel around the world to have adventures. Not only was this show one of the headliners for the Disney Afternoon block in the 90's, it was well written, well animated for its time, and just an all-around awesome show.

It also has one of the catchiest theme songs of all time. AND NOW IT'S STUCK IN YOUR HEAD.

By the way, a fun thing to do is count how many scenes from the opening actually appeared in the show. I think the number is about five.

#9: The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room

I already spoke at length about the theme song to the Enchanted Tiki Room way back in this entry, but it bears repeating that I really love this one. As I said there, it's a song that reminds me of summertime. The tropical rhythms, the tiki setting, and of course the birds themselves remind me of drinking something fruity out of a coconut that has that little straw umbrella sticking out of it.

Even after being around for forty years, the technological marvel of creating animatronic birds to talk and sing like they're alive continues to astound me. There's Tiki Rooms in Disney parks all over the world, but the original version is in Disneyland. There was a copy in the Magic Kingdom version, but around 1998, Iago and Zazu took over and made the show seem like complete crap to the nostalgic fans or to anyone who sought air conditioning. But fret not, the original show (plus a state-of-the-art upgrade of the tech) is returning to the Magic Kingdom as of August 15th! Huzzah!

#8: The Three Caballeros

Don't know why I have this at #8, as this is probably my real #1, but eh, I felt like switching up the order because I like you. How many times can I say "I loved this movie?" I've watched the VHS of this during my childhood so many times I swear that it's a beat up sack of nothingness by now. Thank goodness for DVDs for preserving my memories forever.

For those of you who haven't seen this one, it's a compilation movie (Disney released a bunch of these in the 40's thanks to WWII) that centered around the theme of promoting Latin America like its predecessor Saludos Amigos. The plot as follows: It's Donald's birthday, and each gift he gets leads into a short animated vignette. One gift leads to a cartoon about a cold-blooded penguin (don't ask), another has José Carioca, a character introduced in Saludos Amigos, singing about his homeland Brazil.

Then there's the last gift, from newcomer Panchito. He's got an itchy trigger finger and he sings the above song that leads into a history lesson on the origin of Mexico. It's more interesting than it looks, folks. Overall, great voice acting, great characters, and lots of surreal animation. Go check it out if you haven't already!

#7: Hellfire

I'll admit to not being a big fan of this movie, but this is by far one of the best villain songs of all time. It's Tony Jay singing about how Esmerelda is tempting him to sin, revealing his hypocrisy as a priest and judge. Yeah, sure, Esmerelda is making you fall in love with her, and not the prospect of banging an attractive gypsy, which goes against your bigoted worldview.

What's not to love here? It's dark in both lighting and content, there's excellent animation, and, again, Tony Jay singing the hell outta this one. It certainly doesn't hurt that it follows the song Heaven's Light.

#6: Gitchee Gitchee Goo

It's not a proper Disney list these days without Phineas and Ferb, now isn't it? It's a great show with some of the best writing in animation today. And this great staff of writers leads to great songs, featuring at least one in every episode. This is the song that led the executives to say "This song is great! Can you make a song in every episode?" To date, that was one of the few network notes that had a positive outcome. Seriously, I could do an entire list of all the great songs from this show. Maybe some other time.

But before I digress, this song appeared in the episode "Flop Stars," where Phineas and Ferb become one-hit wonders. They say the lyrics are meaningless, but "bow chicka wow wow," "and my heart starts pumping," definitely suggest something. The overall tone of the song, a catchy pop song with nonsense lyrics, definitely reminds me of "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah" from the Jetsons. It's another favorite song of mine, and that's certainly a plus for me.

#5: Snuff Out The Light

Here's a song you might not know. This one was originally written for The Emperor's New Groove back when it was darker, music-filled movie called Kingdom of The Sun, but it appears on the movie soundtrack, so this counts, dammit!

It's another villain song, folks and this time it's sung by Yzma, who in this draft wanted to capture out the sun so she wouldn't have the deal with the ravages of her aging, while the whole Kuzco plot was just another take on The Prince & The Pauper. While I'm glad they went with the plot that became Emperor's New Groove, I wonder what could've become of the original idea? The world, it shall never know.

And you know about the trope Audio Erotica? A voice so awesome that it makes you wish that you were able to have sex with it? Yeah, that's me with Eartha Kitt. Even though she's dead, I'd still hit that velvety voice. Don't judge me, you'd do the same thing.

#4: Grim Grinning Ghosts

Again with the theme park songs, but it's the last one, I swear. For those of you who don't know, this one's the awesome theme song for the Haunted Mansion. It's spooky what with the overbearing pipe organ, but it's thankfully balanced out with that Disney whimsy that has makes you think that these ghosts just wanna play. But then there's that whole talk about coming back to join their jamboree, and death certificates, and...Okay, lemme get to the next paragraph before I get the jibblies.

You might've heard the lead singer's voice before, and you should, it's Thurl Ravenscroft. Who's he? Why should you be asking that?! You might know his signature baritone better as Tony The Tiger, and the guy who sings "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." He appears quite a few times on this list, including the next song.

But before we get to it, I have a confession to make, readers: I have yet to ride the Haunted Mansion. The last time I was a Disney park with a version of the ride was in 1995, and I was really scared of this ride as a little kid. I'm confident that I could ride it without any problem now. I just need too get to Disney World soon. (hint, hint readers)

#3: Everybody Wants To Be a Cat

Ah, the Aristocats, such an underrated feature. It has cats! Jazz playing cats! Racist stereotype cats! Oh, how I miss the days when Disney didn't try to hide characters with offensive vaudeville stereotypes, even when said characters are some of the purest hearts in the movie. You have the Scat Cat ("Scatman" Crothers!), an Italian wearing a Chico Marx hat, a Russian voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft (told ya he'd show up), and an over-the-top Asian cat voiced by Paul Winchell.

I love that guy most of all, he's bloody hilarious. Sadly, any modern replays of the song tend to edit him out. Can't parents listen to a Siamese cat play the piano with chopsticks and say "fortune cookie always wrong?" He's funny! Like...umm....Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's? Nevermind, it's still a great song.

#2: Kidnap The Sandy Claws

Like Phineas & Ferb above, it just doesn't seem like a proper Disney songs list without mentioning Nightmare Before Christmas. Sure, there's lots of great songs in that movie ("This is Halloween," "Oogie's Song," "What's This?"), but this one is by far my favorite. It's another villain song, yes, but this is one of those rare villain songs sung by the Henchmen.

For those of you who don't shop at Hot Topic, you might be wondering what the song's about. Why, it's the henchmen of Oogie Boogie (Lock, Shock & Barrel) planning to kidnap Santa while priding themselves with how good henchmen they are. That's the entire song, and it's catchy as hell.

So what's the #1 song on my arbitrarily-organized list?

#1: The Mickey Mouse Club March

I'll admit that I get choked up whenever I hear this song. This is pure, uncut childhood in a two and a half minute song. I bet you're singing the song to yourself without even watching the video, aren't you? I thought so. It's a pretty amazing feat since the original show came and went before any of us were even born. But none of us care because it's such a great song. Cheery, playful, and all-around catchy. It's something that puts you in a good mood, and that's why I love it so much.

Honorable Mentions: Arabian Nights, Poor, Unfortunate Souls, Oogie's Song, Eye to Eye, The Tale Spin Theme Song, This is Halloween, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Firebird Suite, Hakuna Matata, Bahia, One Little Spark, and many more.

So those are my favorite Disney songs. What are yours?


cuteordeath said...

Grim Grinning Ghosts = Best Ever.

This was a really great post. I can't think of any of my other favorite Disney songs right now though. :p

Anonymous said...

Anything from The Lion King or Epcot works for me. Good post. What took you so long?