Let’s face it, Disney produces some pretty amazing songs for their animated and live action movies and shows. Many have won Oscars or other awards. But not all their songs are gold. And some songs that are excellent (Let It Go ring a bell?) become terrible as they drill through your skull for the millionth time. With all that in mind, I created a list of the 8 awards Disney songs should have won, but of course, didn’t.
The primary reason is, well, these awards don’t exist. These are awards for the sarcastic parent who has to listen to their child belt out their favorite tune. Over. And over. Again.
These are the songs that make you go huh? They’re also the songs that make you hate your life.
They’re the songs that make you ponder deep thoughts like just how conceded is Belle?
But also, some of these songs actually deserve additional recognition. They’re the forgotten songs. The songs from movies you may have forgotten were even in Disney’s lineup in the first place.
So I present, the 8 awards Disney songs should have won.
What's in this review
8 Awards Disney Songs Should Have Won
Most Arrogant Award
“Gaston” – Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Technically, LeFou starts this song. But as a truly arrogant person would, Gaston finishes it.
And he plots to have his potential future father in law hauled off to the insane asylum. He really grows on you.
Most Arrogant – Runner Up
“You’re Welcome” – Moana (2015)
Maui literally sings a song about how awesome he is. I don’t think there is more I need to say about this.
Most Suggestive Award
“A Whole New World” – Aladdin (1991) (Read the live action review here.)
Seriously? Am I the only one with a dirty mind here that can make a connection between the lyrics and some suggestive sh*t?
…Take you wonder by wonder
Over sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride…
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling…
… A whole new world (A whole new world)
That’s where we’ll be (That’s where we’ll be)
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me
If you don’t believe me, try singing the second verse, out of context, and tell me the reaction you get. “Take you wonder by wonder , over sideways and under (that’s at least two to three positions or one complex one, I’m not sure), on a magic carpet ride (speaks for itself).
Most Racist Award*
*Sad but true, this award actually needs a clarifying point. The fact is, the songs picked for this are not actually the most racist songs Disney has every produced. In fact, far from it in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, Disney has a long history of presenting racial stereotypes in movies, imagery, characters, and songs.
Ever hear of the movie Song of the South? No? Probably because even Disney – who would monetize nearly anything – won’t release this film for home viewing on account of how racist it is. Still, you probably have heard the annoyingly catchy “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” It originated in this classic, blacklisted film.
And sadly, its not the only Disney film featuring racist themes, undertones, and characters. Dumbo, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and even the original cut of Fantasia all contained racist imagery, songs, or characters.
No, this award is for the most WTF Disney songs from the Disney Renaissance of the 90’s onward. These are the songs that make you think, “wait, I thought Disney was supposed to be woke. What the actual f*ck is up with this?” Yes, those songs.
“Savages” – Pocahontas (1995) – For the full movie review, click here.
Really? In a movie that is already making up some seriously glorified white-washed history, Disney thought it would be cool to add this song?
For arguments sake, let’s look at the song’s intent. Since both the English and the Native Americans sing the song about each other, the argument is it is a lesson on how terrible racism and xenophobia are.
Within the film, it makes moderate sense. Both sets of people are afraid, angry, and turning to hate so they label each other as savages. But look at the choice of words here. Savage is the term Americans and European colonists used to describe Native Americans. And we all know who won that conflict.
I think Dr. Pauline Strong, professor of Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies put it best in her review found here:
…But what about the litany “Savages! Savages!”? Does this not level the English and the Algonquian people to the same state of brutishness and ethnocentrism, portraying the prejudice of savagism as somehow natural rather than having cultural and historical roots? And what about disseminating this song on the soundtrack, outside the context of the film, where it may have a very different impact upon an impressionable audience? For many Native Americans and other colonized peoples, “savage” is the “S” word, as potent and degrading as the word “nigger.” I can not imagine the latter epithet repeated so often, and set to music, in a G rated film and its soundtrack…
Is “savage” more acceptable because it is used reciprocally? But then does this not downplay the role the colonial ideology of savagism played in the extermination and dispossession of indigenous people?
Most Under Appreciated Award
“I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” – Hercules (1997)
Hercules is generally overlooked and forgotten about. Even though it came out in the height of the Disney Renaissance, it didn’t feature a new princess or talking lions.
But it did feature a mythologically inaccurate version of Hercules, so there’s that.
“I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” deserves some recognition as being a pretty damn good song. But maybe that’s the beauty of a hidden gem like this. Unlike “Let It Go” that has had more than it’s fair share of brutal karaoke performances from people of all ages, “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” is left largely to be enjoyed as intended.
And maybe, it should stay that way.
Most Under Appreciated – Runner Up
“That’s How You Know” – Enchanted (2007)
Another seemingly forgotten song, “That’s How You Know” was an impressive nod to over the top musical numbers and dances in older films like “West Side Story.”
The entire song is sung as Giselle walks through Central Park where she encounters people of different backgrounds and cultures. Their influence is incorporated into the song as it goes.
And though it is a good song, it is not annoyingly catchy. So you can appreciate it for what it is when you watch Enchanted, instead of wanting to bang your head against the wall to drown out the noise when your toddler sings it on repeat.
Most Naive Narcissist Award
“Belle” – Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Seriously Belle. You walk around town, possibly every morning, singing your condescending song about the “simple people” you live with. And you wonder why they whisper about you being odd?
Girl, please. They think you a bitch with your condescending attitude and elitist world view.
But go ahead, keep living in your delusional world where anyone who doesn’t share your dreams and desires is not worthy of your time. And Belle, bestiality is odd and you are lucky they didn’t burn you at the stake for it.
Worst Christmas Song Award
“It’s a Christmas Miracle” – Santa Buddies (2009)
How to describe Santa Buddies. Well, it is literally the 8th spin off of the Air Bud franchise of films. But, it is also the direct sequel to an unrelated film, Santa Paws. Confused? Well, all you really need to know is it is a terrible Christmas movie filled with cliches and sterile dialog.
One of the biggest cliche movements occurs when a little pound pup, literally called Tiny, sings “It’s a Christmas Miracle” to the disheartened Puppy Paws. This high pitched, cliche of a song inspires Puppy Paws to realize the true meaning of secular Christmas.
Most Butchered Song Award
“Let It Go” – Demi Lovato (from Frozen – does that really need to be clarified though?)
For some reason <cough money> Disney decided it was a good idea to take their original songs from their movies and make pop versions of them. For as tiring as it is to hear “Let It Go” on repeat, the original as sung by
Adele Dazeem (dammit John Travolta) Idina Menzel is fantastic.
Ms. Menzel is a power-house singer. And with no particular hate towards Demi Lovato, her rendition is terrible. I mean, I’d rather drill out my own cavities than listen to that crap on repeat.
Most Butchered Song – Runner Up
“How Far I’ll Go” – Alessia Cara (from Moana)
Yet again Disney, did you have to take an otherwise excellent song and make a pop version?
Similar to “Let It Go,” the original version sung by Auliʻi Cravalho (who I’d love to hear John Travolta’s interpretation of her name), is an amazing power ballad.
Most Horrendous Live Action Remake Song Award
“Belle” – Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Well, Belle wins again. This time for the live action remake.
Admittedly, I’m somewhat fond of the original version of this song. On more than one occasion, my daughter has grabbed a book and walked around the house singing Belle.
Unfortunately, Emma Watson mostly butchered this rendition of the song. It falls flat. And by flat, I mean, she sort of sounds like a dying animal. One that needs to be put out of its misery.
Have an idea of other awards Disney songs should have won and which should have won? Let me know in the comments.