10 Most Under-Appreciated Disney Songs

Quick, think of your favorite Disney song!

For most of us, that’s a pretty difficult task. The Disney cannon of musical numbers is one of the most recognizable and wonderful in cinema history, with hundreds upon hundreds of iconic hits. Narrowing it down can be quite hard.

With so much great music, even superb songs can fall in to obscurity. I took some time to think on some of these overlooked numbers (and had many a conversation brainstorming with the DAPs Magic crew), and have put together a list of my top ten under-appreciated songs.

Out There

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1996)

Why It’s Amazing:

For starters, I feel like this is one of the most underrated Disney movies in general. It deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, and does it with an unexpected grace.

This song in particular speaks in to the loneliness of the main character, how he has been manipulated in to believing his inferiority, and the beauty he still sees in a world he knows to hate him. It is heartbreakingly beautiful, and binds you to the character immediately.

Great Line:

Ev’ry day they shout and scold and go about their lives

Heedless of the gift it is to be them

The Frozen Heart (Ice Worker’s Song)

Frozen (2013)

Why It’s Amazing:

This isn’t a particularly complicated song, but it spells out the entire film right at the start. There’s just something really neat about building the lore of the story through a working song. It engrains the events to follow as a natural progression, and helps to make the fantastical feel real.

Great Line:

Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold

Ice has a magic can’t be controlled

I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)

Hercules (1997)

Why It’s Amazing:

For being a Disney movie, Meg is a very complicated character. Voluntarily in servitude to Hades, she gave up her life to save her love, only to have her heart broken when he left. It’s no wonder that she would have difficulty trusting again, no matter how she feels.

This song also brilliantly uses the Greek chorus mechanic, allowing her to have an internal debate with voices to bounce her arguments off of. It’s a wonderful riff in the old Grecian plays, with a modern twist.

Great Line:

No chance no way I won’t say it, no no

(Give up, give in, check the grin you’re in love)

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Why It’s Amazing:

I’m sure it was a monumental task to translate the brilliant work of Lewis Carroll to an animated format, especially 60+ years ago. This song, originally a poem from his works, becomes a standalone story in the film, as sung and narrated by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and exceptionally well to boot.

Great Line:

The Walrus said

To talk of other things

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

Of cabbages and kings

When She Loved Me

Toy Story 2 (1999)

Why It’s Amazing:

If you ever need to crush your soul a little bit, this is the song for you. Man, it hurts. There’s just something about the Disney/Pixar alliance that makes for the most emotional five-minute segments in film.

Jessie is reminiscing about her previous owner, and showing the raw pain of abandonment. This causes Woody to see parallels in his own story with Andy, and ultimately convinces him to leave (at least, for a while).

Also, Randy Newman wrote this one. It makes sense when you think about it, but it still caught me off-guard.

Great Line:

So the years went by

I stayed the same

But she began to drift away

I was left alone

Still I waited for the day

When she’d say I will always love you

It’s Not Easy

Pete’s Dragon (1977)

Why It’s Amazing:

This movie is about a lonely kid, Pete, going through some difficult times. Having a moment where he truly gets to be a child is important, which is what Nora allows in the song. To her, he is just flexing his imagination, and she gives him space for it, allowing for creativity and fun. It’s a beautiful moment of growing trust between the two.

Great Line:

It’s not easy to share somebody’s dream

It gets easy

When you work as a team

Savages (Part 2)

Pocahontas (1995)

Why It’s Amazing:

Disney didn’t hold back in showing the ugly side of war with this one. Both sides of the conflict view each other as evil, and an affront to what they know to be right. It’s brutal, and shows how easily we can slip in to assuming evil in that which we don’t understand. Witness to it all is the title character, watching her world crumble around her. This isn’t a fun song, but it is a very, very good one.

Great Line:

[sung by both English Settlers and Native Americans]

It’s them or us

God Bless the Outcasts

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1996)

Why It’s Amazing:

Yes. Another song from Hunchback. It really doesn’t get enough credit. This is another one that doesn’t pull any punches, especially at the religiously inclined.

The dichotomy of the churchgoers and the gypsy Esmeralda is spelled out by opposing lyrics sung over one another, and represented visually in very clever ways.

Great Line:

Please help my people

The poor and downtrod

I thought we all were

The children of God

That’s How You Know

Enchanted (2007)

Why It’s Amazing:

I love a good, self-aware piece. Enchanted pokes a lot of fun back at the Disney formula, and nowhere is it more apparent than in this “spontaneous” number that breaks out in a park. There is absolutely no depth to the lyrics, which makes the over-the-top choreography and crowds all the better.

Great Line:

That’s how you know

That’s how you know

That’s how you know

That’s how you know he’s your love

Feed the Birds

Mary Poppins (1964)

Why It’s Amazing:

Sure, you know the song. Everybody does. But when was the last time you heard it used, whether in the parks, or in any other Disney property? This was Walt’s favorite song, after all, you’d think there’d be a bit more saturation.

That, and the song is just gorgeous. It shows the children in the film true compassion, and teaches kindness to those they encounter.

Great Line:

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles

Look down as she sells her wares.

Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling

Each time someone shows that he cares

***

Now, I am well aware that there are several more songs worthy of being on this list. Take a listen to my ten, and a few other honorary mentions, on the DAPs Magic Spotify playlist here:

Did I miss any? Be sure to let me know your favorites in the comments below!

By | 2017-05-09T09:00:33+00:00 May 9th, 2017|Disney, Entertainment, Op Ed/Opinion|1 Comment

About the Author:

Cameron Jackson is a nerd, writer, and self-proclaimed, "proletariat" living in Anaheim, CA. Follow his musings and see his adventures on Instagram and Twitter under the name @mr_camjaxn.He is a regular co-host on Geeks Corner and contributes to the DAPs Magic writings with his own, unique perspective. When not writing, he is a talented artist and performer, and can often be found shirking these gifts by playing games like Pokemon, Bioshock, and Fallout.

One Comment

  1. Carla Sharon August 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Great choices. You can hear Feed the Birds at the piano in the Grand Californian Hotel – ask the pianist to play it for you.

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