Disney is world-renowned for its movie musicals. Whether they’re princesses or anthropomorphic animals, many of the best Disney characters found their way into audiences’ hearts by belting out memorable songs about their hopes and dreams. But with so much great music packed into these films, not every song gets the attention that it deserves.
From The Princess and the Frog‘s “Ma Belle Evangeline” to Encanto‘s “Waiting on a Miracle,” these songs aren’t the most played on their respective soundtracks. Nevertheless, they’re all beautifully composed and feature excellent performances. These underrated Disney songs deserve a little more love from listeners.
10 “Sister Suffragette” Gets Lost in the Crowd of Mary Poppins Songs
- Written by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
- Performed by Glynis Johns
“Sister Suffragette” is the first song after the overture in Mary Poppins and is sung by Winifred Banks with backing vocals from the Banks family’s maid, Ellen, and their cook, Mrs. Brill. Although she hides her political aspirations from her husband, Mrs. Banks delivers a rousing song supporting voting rights for women.
While there are plenty of other great songs in Mary Poppins, “Sister Suffragette” is a catchy first number that introduces the passionate Mrs. Banks. The fact that the Sherman brothers wrote it during their lunch break after Walt Disney promised actor Glynis Johns a new song only makes it even more impressive.
9 “Ma Belle Evangeline” Packs Two Love Stories Into One Number
- Written by Randy Newman
- Performed by Jim Cummings, featuring Terence Blanchard
In The Princess and the Frog, Raymond, better known as Ray, sings about his love for a far-off star in “Ma Belle Evangeline.” As he does so, Prince Naveen teaches Tiana how to dance under the moonlight, bringing them one step closer to falling in love.
They may not be the ones singing, but “Ma Belle Evangeline” is an important step on Naveen and Tiana’s journey as they both discover that love is the most important thing. Paired with the gorgeous visuals of the two frogs dancing together and a smooth trumpet solo, this Princess and the Frog number creates the perfect romantic mood.
8 “Be Prepared” Is a Chilling Disney Villain Song
- Written by Elton John and Tim Rice
- Performed by Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings
Scar’s big song, “Be Prepared,” sees him recruit the hyenas to his side as he plans to overthrow his brother, Mufasa, by murdering him. With his natural charisma and a little fear-mongering, Scar successfully wins the hyenas over to his side, setting the wheels of the plot in motion.
“Be Prepared” is not the first song that comes to most people’s minds when they think of The Lion King, but many agree that it’s one of the best Disney villain songs. Its striking visuals and seamless blend of comedy with the hyenas and drama from Scar make it a truly iconic musical number.
7 “The Gospel Truth” Sets the Tone for the Rest of Hercules
- Written by Alan Menken and David Zippel
- Performed by Lillias White, LaChanze, Roz Ryan, Cheryl Freeman and Vanéese Y. Thomas
“The Gospel Truth I/Main Title” is the first song in Hercules and is sung by the muses. In it, they take over from the narrator and explain how Zeus defeated the monstrous Titans and became ruler of Mt. Olympus. This sets the stage for the birth of his son, Hercules.
Although there are two reprises of “The Gospel Truth,” the first one is a standout opening number that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Hercules‘ use of gospel music also gives it a more unique feel compared to the more traditional music style of other Disney movies.
6 “One Jump Ahead” Is an Energetic Introduction to Aladdin
- Written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice
Performed by Brad Kane and the cast of
While it’s not the first song in the movie, “One Jump Ahead” is the audience’s first number with the titular character of Aladdin. The song sees Aladdin narrowly escaping from some palace guards after stealing a loaf of bread because he can’t afford to buy it.
“One Jump Ahead” may not have the prestige of Aladdin‘s other tracks, but it does a great job of establishing who Aladdin is as a character and how he fits into the world around him. It also features an exciting and dynamic chase sequence that not only entertains but also hints at some of the events to come.
5 “Belle” Is a Masterful Opening Number
- Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
Performed by Paige O’Hara, Richard White and the cast of
Beauty and the Beast
“Belle” is the first song in Beauty and the Beast. It follows Belle as she visits the local bookshop, attracting the attention of the townspeople, who find her odd, and Gaston, who wants to marry her because she’s the only girl in town as beautiful as he is. Meanwhile, Belle longs for more than the life she has.
Even if Belle finds her surroundings lacking, “Belle” is a master class in opening numbers. It introduces the audience to the movie’s main character and main antagonist and perfectly shows how they fit into their surroundings. The song also perfectly captures the town’s bustling community as they go about their lives.
4 “Shiny” Is Catchy and Colorful
- Written by Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Performed by Jemaine Clement
In Moana, Tamatoa sings “Shiny” to Moana and Maui in Lalotai, the Realm of Monsters. The giant crab croons about his love of treasure and even gets in a few jabs at the demigod, who ripped off his leg in a previous encounter and is now having trouble controlling his magical hook.
Tamatoa isn’t the biggest antagonist in Moana, but “Shiny” is incredibly catchy and a visual treat, showing off the creepy bioluminescent realm. It also sneaks in some key exposition about Maui’s past, hinting at why he covets humanity’s admiration. Altogether, it makes for a truly showstopping villain song.
3 “Waiting on a Miracle” Is a Heartbreaking “I Want” Song
- Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Performed by Stephanie Beatriz
In “Waiting on a Miracle,” Encanto‘s Mirabel Madrigal finally reveals how she really feels about being the only one in her family without a special power. Despite doing her best to help out and support her family, Mirabel can’t help but feel she could contribute more if she’d been blessed with a gift.
It may not steal the show like other musical numbers in Encanto, but “Waiting on a Miracle” is an absolutely heartbreaking song. The way that Mirabel moves around and sings to her family, who are frozen in time, only adds to the emotionality, showing how invisible she feels next to her family members.
2 “Kiss the Girl” Is a Fun and Romantic Romp
- Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
- Performed by Samuel E. Wright
“Kiss the Girl” sees Sebastian and other wildlife in the lagoon trying to subliminally convince Prince Eric to kiss Ariel, which will allow her to stay a human and save her from Ursula’s evil clutches. It almost works before Ursula’s minions, Flotsam and Jetsam, capsize their boat.
The Little Mermaid is full of catchy and emotional songs, but “Kiss the Girl” is the perfect intersection of fun and romance. Sebastian’s efforts may start out comedic, but eventually, he does manage to create the perfect romantic atmosphere for the young couple, proving he’s a loyal friend to Ariel.
1 “For the First Time in Forever” Lives in “Let It Go’s” Shadow
- Written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
- Performed by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel
Before Elsa’s coronation in Frozen, Anna expresses her excitement at finally getting to meet new people after years of isolation in “For the First Time in Forever.” Meanwhile, Elsa frets about losing control of her powers in front of the congregation.
Elsa’s “Let It Go” might be Frozen‘s big showstopper, but “For the First Time in Forever” is an epic “I Want” song for Anna. After seeing how alone she’s been since Elsa shut herself away, audiences can understand Anna’s desperate desire for human connection. It also carries on the portrait theme from “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” with Anna perfectly recreating several paintings.
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