Friday, June 18, 2010

90s Disney Ballads

If you’re in the market for some new potentially embarrassing musical material to get you through a mind-numbingly dull road trip or your daily shower singing session, look no further than the 90s’ collection of powerful Disney ballads. These songs are just begging to be sung by warblingly off-key amateurs; sure, Disney ballads are impressive in their original form performed by respected industry favorites, but they’re that much more fun when butchered by passionate novices.At least that’s how I see it. My former roommates who had to endure those strained high notes emanating from our shared bathroom’s shower--well, they may not feel quite the same way. Sorry, guys.

So next time you’re looking to belt one out, consider partaking in one of these delightfully cheesy Disney power ballads from the 90s. It certainly won’t earn you any street credibility at the local karaoke bar, but it will leave you with a satisfying blend of nostalgia and sore vocal chords. If you’re ready to make that sort of sacrifice in the name of musical animated classics, here are Children of the 90s’ recommendations for either most inspiring or most painful--depending on your level of vocal expertise. Oh, and wherever available I stuck in some videos with lyrics to facilitate your sing-alongs. You’re welcome.

Whole New World (Aladdin)

What would Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride be without this catchy duet? It really makes the moment. I do sort of like that the Wikipedia entry on the song includes its translated titles in the foreign dubbed versions. For example, the mainland China version is called, “Meet by Chance.” In France it’s “This Blue Dream.” It doesn’t have quite the same ring to my American ears. “This Bluuuuuuue Dreeeeeeeam....” Hmm. Not working for me.

Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid)

I will admit, when I look at that stuff, I do find it to be awfully neat. In fact, the collection seems to be just about complete. It just screams, “Think that Ariel is a girl who has everything!” But then I must fight my instincts and realize that the human artifacts in Ariel’s undersea cave can never equal the glory of having human legs. She may rock the shell bra, but that’s not enough to get her out there walking on one of those--what do you call it? Streeeeets.

Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

There’s something uniquely charming about a ballad crooned by a kindly matronly teapot. It’s just that much better when you find out that teapot is actually Angela Lansbury of Murder, She Wrote; she’s got serious cross-generational appeal. Grandparents, rejoice!

Reflection (Mulan)

You know you’re looking at a serious Disney ballad when the single version is performed by Christina Aguilera--she can really belt it out. “Reflection” has just the right balance of heartfelt emotion and grrrrl power. It’s like watching the Spice Girls rescue a puppy. Kind of. Okay, not really. You come up with a good comparison, then. Really, give it your best shot. Tough, huh?

You’ll Be In My Heart (Tarzan)

Just in case you ever wondered what it would sound like if the mastermind behind “Sussudio” recorded a heartwarming Disney ballad, here’s your opportunity to find out. Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart” charted well on the Billboard Top 100, rising to the 21st spot--not bad for a Disney song.

Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)

Speaking of decently-charting Disney songs, Vanessa Williams’ end-credits version of this Pocahontas ballad peaked at #4 on the US charts. It’s undeniably cheesy, but at least it has an underlying message. Well, it does if you ignore the fact that Disney completely ignored all actual historical and/or cultural elements of the real Pocahontas story in their retelling. It’s a message, sure, but probably not a historically accurate one. Oh well--at least it’s catchy.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (The Lion King)

Well? Can you? The falling-in-love-with-an-old-platonic-friend-in-a-matter-of-minutes montage certainly helps move things along at a steady pace. With the aid of these handy visual, you will indeed feel the love. Tonight.

Runner Up: Circle of Life. Only you can memorize the words in the intro, though. Otherwise, it’s just not worth it.

Go The Distance (Hercules)

I’m not ashamed to tell you I kind of like the Michael Bolton version that plays out the credits. Well, not that ashamed. Perhaps I should be more ashamed to admit I have the Spanish version--performed by Ricky Martin, no less--on my iPod.

God Help the Outcasts (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

I felt compelled to include a song from all of the Disney musical animated films of the decade, but truthfully this one doesn’t pack quite the same punch as some of the others. Sorry, Esmeralda--you’re just not doing it for me here. There’s cheesy and then there’s over-the-top milking for emotional responses. Add in the Bette Midler version and it’s just too much to bear.


// krissy ♥ said...

What a beautiful trip down memory lane! My favorite Disney movie is Aladdin :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Phil Collins, and the fact that he sings pretty much every song on the Tarzan soundtrack makes me love him even more. Especially that little diddy he did with *NSYNC! Not gonna lie, he's the reason I even watched the movie in the first place. :)

Melanie's Randomness said...

Oh Disney ballads...the plagued every Middle School Chorus class throughout the 90's. I loved "A whole new world" tho. I thought it was adorable!

smile steady said...

Thank you for putting the Mulan song in my head. I will now be belting it out all day!

Heather said...

Oh how I love Disney music. I have a bunch on my iPod and when people catch me I use the excuse that I was a nanny, or that I often babysit little kids. But really, who doesn't love Disney music, especially the ballads.

Juliana said...

I really liked when you said "'Reflection” has just the right balance of heartfelt emotion and grrrrl power. It’s like watching the Spice Girls rescue a puppy." and "There’s something uniquely charming about a ballad crooned by a kindly matronly teapot." I quoted them back to people lol

melina bee said...

thanks so much for this! I remember singing half these songs at a junior high halloween/birthday party. The little mermaid song has always been a bit different for me since I saw a drag queen in a wheelchair dressed as ariel sing it a couple years ago.

whitenblackeys said...

Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney Movie of all time. I used to watch it frequently on VHS :) Loved the song too!

Lil' Woman said...

Beauty and the Beast is my absolute everything about it.

Anonymous said...

Aww, Disney ballads. They bring back some great memories andI'll have to admit that I have some of those songs on my ipod as well.

Melanie said...

The other one I love is "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan — so not PC, but really catchy and great to run to.

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

omg the little mermaid will always be one of my favorite disney movies of all time. right along with beauty and the beast and the hunchback of notre dame. and did you know the guy who composed the songs for ariel's song "a part of your world" as well as beauty and the beast's song"tales as old as time(beauty and the beast) died? his name was howard ashman and he did the songs for several of the movies. The Beauty and the Beast movie was dedicated to him.

another one of my favorites is the lion king and tarzan. man i miss the old disney. nowadays disney is nothing but miley cyrus and jonas brothers cinematic effects movies.

411314 said...

Despite being 21, I'm still a big Disney fan. I don't really think any of these are "cheesy" and I find "God Help The Outcasts" is quite moving.

Belak said...

I think the song from Hunchback should have been Heaven's Light/Hellfire. Those songs deal with really serious stuff that I didn't get back when I watched as a kid but can appreciate as an adult

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