Happy Summer guys,
I love Disney. Who doesn’t, am I right? And their songs are one of the reasons Disney dominates the animated genre. Their movies are filled with humor, heart, and important themes on love, family, and sacrifice. Their songs only add to that tradition.
But you’ve heard “Beauty and the Beast” a million times, as you’ve likely heard “Hakuna Matata”, “A Whole New World”, and, of course, “Let it Go.” Over the years, Disney has accumulated a bevvy of songs that don’t get the same constant airplay. Many of these songs come from straight-to-DVD films and sequels.
In this post, I’ll be breaking down my Top 10 Most Underrated Disney Songs from animated films solely, whether they made it to theaters or not. In addition to the songs, the films displayed are also underrated, so watch, listen, and enjoy.
- “Fly to Your Heart” from Tinker Bell (2008)
Sung by pop icon Selena Gomez, this sweet ballad from the first Tinker Bell movie hits all the right notes. It feels warm and fuzzy, soaring as high as the titular character herself. For fans of Disney princess ballads like “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes” and “Once Upon a Dream”, you’ll find this underrated gem fits in nicely with her classic siblings.
- “Streets of Gold” from Oliver and Company (1988)
While “Good Company” was also considered for this list for its pure simplicity, “Streets of Gold” beats it out for its darn catchiness. This song is Oliver’s introduction to a life of living on the streets for survival. Despite its darker subject matter, its outrageously bold, energetic, and likely to get you up out of your seat.
- “Where Do I Go From Here?” from Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998)
The original Pocahontas is well known for its iconic “Colors of the Wind.” It’s sequel features this sweeping tune, catching Pocahontas in the same position she finds herself in when she sings “Just Around the Riverbend” — not knowing which direction to take in life. The delivery is strong, as are the lyrics, which make it worth rediscovering.
- “Always There”/”I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way” from Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001)
In a movie about finding where you belong, Lady and the Tramp II‘s “Always There” is the thematic center while “I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way” is its romantic Bella Notte equivalent. Are they cheesy? Yes. That doesn’t mean they aren’t tender and heart-warming. And I love this sequel over the original, so maybe I’m biased.
- “Stir It Up”/”One Little Slip” from Chicken Little (2005)
Say what you want about Chicken Little, but it has a great soundtrack. REM, Diana Ross, and cute film covers of songs by Queen and Elton John help make the it stand out, but Patti Labelle and Joss Stone’s “Stir It Up” and the Barenaked Ladies “One Little Slip” make this one a winner winner chicken dinner. There’s nothing little about the fun you’ll have listening to these two up-beat tracks.
- “No Way Out” from Brother Bear (2002)
“Look Through My Eyes” is a fantastic song and deserves the praise it gets. “No Way Out” deserves a little more than it gets. Phil Collins knows how to craft a solid Disney tune, and” No Way Out” does its job of portraying the despair inherent in the film’s dramatic reveal. It’s as introspective as “Look Through My Eyes”, sad without being melancholy, and overall a great addition to the soundtrack.
- “I’m Still Here” from Treasure Planet (2002)
Johnny Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls fame sings this strong ballad from the film Treasure Planet. If you love the Goo Goo Doll’s massive hit “Iris”, then this its Disney counterpart. Still within the same moody place, it tells of wanting to be seen, wanting to feel, wanting to know what it’s like to be alive. It’s openly inspiring, and a feel-good anthem that you’ll find yourself singing along to long after the credits roll.
- “I-2-I” from A Goofy Movie (1995)
Ah, the 90s! A time of spectacular pop, hip hop, and R&B. Tevin Campbell’s “I-2-I” exemplifies the best of the decade in this fun, lively dance tune that is beyond catchy. Without appearing corny or heavy-handed, it’s slick, it’s smart, and it tells you the theme of the film — love can change our own narrow views on life so that we can finally see each other “eye to eye.”
- “Someday” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
I was tempted to put “Out There” on this list since I think it’s technically the most underrated of the mainstream Disney songs, but with this list, I wanted to highlight songs that are mostly forgotten. “Someday” is one of them. This beautiful ballad, sung by All-4-One, is dramatic and deep, a perfect voice for the film itself. Things will get better, in time, they’re just not right now. That doesn’t mean we can’t dream. Quasi’s sentiment exactly.
- “Love Will Find a Way” from The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride(1998)
Finally, we’ve arrived! My absolute favorite film as a kid was always The Lion King, which ultimately spun off into a sequel and a prequel. The sequel is the good one. Whereas The Lion King has clear ties to Hamlet, The Lion King II is seemingly Romeo and Juliet in form of Kiara and Kovu. “Love Will Find a Way” is their love ballad which shows that, despite their different backgrounds, they will make it together.
This is my favorite film of all the ones mentioned on this list, and its main song is far too underrated. If I may be so bold, I think it’s better than “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and I love Elton John, so that’s saying a lot. And the romance is also better than Simba and Nala’s. . .seriously. So, if you’ve never seen the second Lion King, or heard “Love Will Find a Way”, you’re in for a lion-sized treat.
Disney really knows how to pull at the heartstrings and get you up on your feet. I hope they keep making quality movies (and music) in the decades to come.
See you next time!