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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Disney Princess Analysis: Getting To Know Belle

My entire life, Belle has always been my absolute favorite princess. When I was just a toddler I dressed up like her for Halloween and when I got married, I even tried to find a dress that resembled her yellow gown (in white, of course).

In so many ways, Belle reminds me of myself. As someone who relates so closely to and identifies with Belle, I wanted to share my well-detailed analysis of her character.

1. Belle has experienced hardship. In the beginning of her opening "Belle" song, she says "Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came to this poor provincial town." Her father is an inventor so most likely, he was using a lot of his funds towards his inventions as most inventors did in their lives.

2. Belle is most likely one of the very few people, if not the only person, who reads in her town. This is shown when she talks to the baker who asks where she is off to. When Belle responds, "The book shop. I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk and an ogre and.." he cuts her off with "That's nice." and stops paying attention to her, almost as if bringing up books was kryptonite. Add in the later line "And her nose stuck in a book" as though it were not normal behavior and we see this is one of the things that makes her different. Then, Belle gets to the book shop which is very small and looks to have really only 1 large wall of books and 2 half walls of books. (No wonder Belle read everything in there!) In addition, she seems to have a closer relationship with the owner of the book store (or librarian) than any of the other townspeople. When he points out that she's read a certain book twice already, either he has a great memory or he doesn't get many other customers.

3. Belle is friendly and not snobbish in the least. Most everyone else in Belle's town is just fine with living without much ambition. They don't care about the world that exists beyond their little town and they don't care much about expanding their knowledge, either. This is part of why Belle

3. Belle is a quick reader. "Good morning, I've come to return the book I borrowed." "Finished already" "Oh, I couldn't put it down! Have you got anything new?" "Ha. Not since yesterday."

4. Belle finds solace in books.
This one's obvious to all but I added it anyway. This is why she'll read the same books over. "That's all right. I'll borrow this one." "That one? But you've read it twice." "Well it's my favorite. Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise." "If you like it all that much, it's yours." "But sir!" "I insist." "Well thank you. Thank you very much!"

Clearly she has a lot of time in this town where there is not much going on other than plain surviving. She doesn't want to live this way and I don't blame her.

5. Belle is adventurous and not indoorsy. I think that because Belle is so associated with books, that she often gets misunderstood as being an indoor-person when she's actually not. We know she is an outdoor person because when she does read, she chooses to read outside instead of inside. Also later in her reprise, she says the iconic line "I want much more than this provincial life. I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell." Someone who is indoorsy does not want adventure in the great wide more than anything else. Note that this line is delivered as she is literally running out into the outdoors, into the field and past the trees onto the top of the hill where she looks out at the river and hills. This entire reprise is sung outdoors (as is most of the first part near the beginning of the film).

6. Belle does not have a short temper and is actually very patient and polite. I think this is forgotten because of the way she interacts with the Beast but that is a specific case that is not representative of her demeanor in general. Whenever she is with Gaston, she is very self-controlled. He snatches her book out of his hand and she merely asks "Gaston, may I have my book, please?" in a very polite manner. When he asks "How can you read this? There's no pictures." She doesn't get rude and insult him, she just says "Well some people use their imagination." Even when he throws her favorite book into the mud, she does not yell or react to him. Gaston then completely degrades her by saying "It's not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas and thinking." In the nicest way that she can, Belle responds "Gaston, you are positively primeval." That's a pretty decent response to someone who just said you shouldn't be allowed to think. Later when Gaston tries to push himself onto her, she rejects him in the absolute most polite way she possibly can. "I just don't deserve you."

7. Belle is far from superficial.
She is not impressed by Gaston's positive superficial aspects because she is too turned off by his genuinely negative aspects. If Belle married Gaston, she would have to give up everything that makes her who she is (reading, giving opinions, wanting to travel, etc.) and marry someone who is a dimwit but the most beloved man in town. Belle didn't care about popularity or image, she cared about substance. "Can you imagine? He asked me to marry him. Me, the wife of that boorish, brainless..."

8. Belle is optimistic and supportive. When she hears an explosion from her home and runs in, she finds her father distressed with his work. He says "I'm... I'm about ready to give up on this hunk of junk." To which she chuckles and responds "You always say that." but he persists "I mean it this time! I'll never get this boneheaded contraption to work!" Belle reassures him by saying "Yes you will. And you'll win first prize at the fair tomorrow. And become a world famous inventor." When he asks "You really believe that?" She answers, "I always have." This immediately gives her father the energy and encouragement he needed to get back to it. Also her saying "you always say that" and "I always have" shows that she has been most likely encouraging him for a long time. This is all despite the fact that they have had to downgrade in their living since he's been inventing.

9. Belle is a romantic deep down.
She asks her father if he thinks she is odd and tells him she doesn't fit in. She says "There's no one I can really talk to." and her father asks "What about Gaston? He's a handsome fella." (Because he understood she meant love.) Belle doesn't say "I'm not looking for a relationship or love." She says "He's handsome, all right, and rude and conceited and... Papa he's not for me." This shows that she is open to love and she does want someone to love and talk to but she hasn't met the right man yet and doesn't want to settle. Also, I think some people misunderstand her line about "little wife" in the reprise as meaning that she doesn't want to be a wife at all. This is not true, her "little wife" line is a rebuttal from Gaston's proposal earlier when he says to her "Do you know who that little wife will be?" He meant it as a derogative, which is why she rejected his "little wife" phrase. She's okay with being a wife, not "the little wife" of someone like Gaston.

10. Belle knows her self-worth, hence not wanting to settle with Gaston.
She is a smart young woman and Gaston is definitely not a smart man. Later in the film Gaston says "LeFou, I'm afraid I've been thinking." and LeFou responds to his face "A dangerous pastime" to which Gaston merely responds with an affirming nod, "I know." This shows that even he and his friend admit that he's not a bright guy (to each other). This also brings us back to why Gaston didn't want Belle to be reading, he was already intimidated by her as it was. Also later when Gaston offers to not send Belle's father away as long as she marries him, she responds "Never!". She would rather be a slave to the Beast to save her father's life then the slave of the brainless town jerk to save her father from an asylum.

11. Belle is brave and loyal but also impulsive. When her family horse, Philippe, returns without her father, Belle does not hesitate to go after him and find him. "We have to find him. You have to take me to him." is what she tells the horse immediately. This is a bit impulsive but he is her only family and she's not a majorly impulsive person. I think the fear and adrenaline got to her because she was so frightened for her father. She ventured into the woods alone just to find him. Although she could have gone to the townspeople, we see later that the townspeople don't really care about or respect Maurice enough to help Belle so most likely, she knew she was on her own anyway. Also later when she knows Gaston went to kill the Beast, she hurries to warn and save him. She even saves him from falling off of the cliff after Gaston stabs him.

12. Belle values family above all. When Belle does find her father, he tells her to leave but she says "I won't leave you." This is because she cannot just leave him locked in a prison. Although this was disobeying him, it wasn't for disobedience sake or from a purely self-centered place. This came from a place of concern and love for her father. Also, later in the film after she has started to fall in love with the Beast, she still cannot get her father off her mind. She is so worried about her father dying in the cold that she leaves to rescue him, giving up on this relationship that had been developing.

13. Belle says what she means and means what she says. Knowing her father could die in the cell, she begs to the Beast "Please, I'll do anything." Then she offers to take her father's place as prisoner. She made sure that if the Beast took the deal, he would let her father go. This was another impulsive move on her part as her father was already old and had lived his life as he said, too late.

14. Belle is a very curious person. Even though the Beast forbids her from going into the West Wing and Lumiere and Cogsworth bribe her with the library, her curiosity wins out. This would be another impulsive move on her part, as well as running away when the Beast caught her. She's also clearly a curious (and impulsive) person through her actions of removing the glass case that protected the enchanted rose just before she tries to touch it.

15. Belle is willing to stand up for herself and others when she needs to. After the Beast sent away her father without letting her say goodbye, Belle refuses to have dinner with him. Also later when she takes care of the Beast after he saves her from the wolves, she stands up to him again. When he says "That hurts!" she responds "If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much!" He then counters with "If you hadn't run away this wouldn't have happened." to which she stands her ground and responds "Well if you hadn't frightened me then I wouldn't have ran away!" He reminds her "Well you shouldn't have been in the West Wing!" and she responds "Well, you should learn to control your temper!" Whenever anyone calls her father crazy, Belle sticks up for him. Also later when she is talking to Gaston and Gaston tells her that he thinks she has feelings for the "monster", she stands up for him by saying "He's no monster, Gaston. You are!" She also tries to stop him from going after the Beast but he locks her up first.

16. Belle is a very nurturing, warm, kind and grateful person. After the Beast saves her from a pack of wolves, nearly dying in the process, Belle chooses to save the Beast in return instead of leaving him to die. Not only does she return him to the castle, but she also actually takes care of him. When he gets aggressive and lashes at her, she stands her ground. After an exchange, [see #14] Belle changes her tone and says more softly to the Beast "Now, hold still. This might sting a little... By the way, thank you for saving my life." and this allows him to let her dress his wounds. It was this gratitude and attitude that helped completely change the dynamic between these two characters. She even defends the Beast to her father later after she rescues him. She tells him that he's different and that "he changed somehow". She also goes on to defend the Beast against Gaston and all of the townspeople. She describes the Beast as "kind and gentle. He's my friend." Gaston immediately recognizes the love in her voice and eyes even before she does.

17. Belle is a very accommodating, respectful and balanced person; Willing to meet others halfway who deserve it. This is shown when she sees that the Beast is making an effort by trying to use a spoon that he hasn't used in many years. She sees this and then tries to make the Beast comfortable by ditching her spoon and drinking her soup instead. She shows him a kindness and makes him a better person by trying to meet him in the middle and help him along his process of becoming more civilized. She even teaches him to feed the birds which helps him to be more gentle.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Disney Princess Dream Jobs (Outside of Mothering)

Some women have a dream to be a mother and I greatly respect this a lot. I see the job of a mother as being one of the most important jobs and unique responsibilities that a woman could have. That being said, I thought it would be neat to think of some jobs that the Disney Princesses might have in modern times if they had not chosen mothering. This is not to disrespect mothers in any way but just a fun look at some dream jobs the princesses might have chosen for themselves outside of mothering, if they were careerists instead or what jobs they might have chosen after their children are grown and out of the home.
The jobs I have chosen are based on their personalities from their original Disney films as I have not seen most remakes and sequels etc. :) 

Snow White - Bed and Breakfast Business Owner 

Although she was forced to work a lot, it seemed to only strengthen her spirit rather than diminish it. She seems like she loved taking care of others, immediately cleaning, doing laundry and cooking for the potentially homeless children that she thought she had found. I think she would absolutely love a job like this where she could meet so many new people, looking after them and even perhaps spending some time together with them. I could see her having activities that were open for everyone staying at her bed and breakfast to get involved in, like a game night or story night or music night etc. She's also very friendly but very determined as well, which would be greatly needed in the upkeep of this kind of business which is why I think she'd be perfect for it.

Cinderella - Fashion Designer 
Although Cinderella didn't seem to have much, the little she did have in her room suggested to me that she was very much into fashion design. She had a fashion mannequin with a ton of sewing supplies and she even made mini clothes for the mice that she saved from Lucifer. In addition, when it was time to make her own gown for the ball, she wasn't anxious about it in the slightest but quite oppositely, seemed rather excited about such a project. This is why I think she would love to pursue that as it seemed to bring her great joy and she seemed pretty good at it, at least from what we saw on the mice. She didn't seem limited and could do anything from women's, men's, children's, pet's clothes etc.

Aurora - Florist/Natural Herb Business Owner 
Since she seemed to go out often to pick berries for her aunts and enjoyed long strolls in nature, it just seems to me like a flower and natural herb kind of environment would be exactly what she'd want to live in, work in and share with others. She seemed to love the beauty and splendor of nature as well as got to know the forest pretty well so I think this would be perfect for her and her customers.

Ariel - Archaeologist 
Dangerous and unknown places are actually a magnet for Ariel rather than a deterrent, something that makes her uniquely qualified for this position as it can often require going to strange new places that could potentially be dangerous to go looking for artifacts... Sound familiar? Ariel just seems made to me to be a female 'Indiana Jones' type and I could see her just absolutely loving the adventures of going to different places and looking for anything she can find. For this reason, I think she'd particularly be interested in classic archaeology, looking in different spots for signs of ancient civilizations as it might be more exciting than the other types for her.

Belle - Travel Agent/Writer
As someone with a dream of "adventure in the great wide somewhere", I cannot see a more perfect job for her. This job would entail traveling abroad and visiting popular travel destinations in order to report on her experiences at the hotels, restaurants and entertainment places around. This would be perfect because not only would she get to travel and see a ton of new places, but she would also get to embrace a full experience of them as it would be required for her writing. Since she likes to read a lot, it seems like she might enjoy writing as well, at least about her own adventures!

Jasmine - Attorney (Lawyer) 
For all of her flaws that get a ton of attention, Jasmine really seems to have a big heart for others that she doesn't believe are offending her. When she sees someone in need like the hungry boy or Aladdin captured by the guards, she immediately does something about it - even without thinking sometimes. She seems to really like to help other people but also want to stand specifically against injustices and unfairness. While some might see her as a politician type for this (and I don't totally disagree), I see her more going into the judicial branch and using her natural talents of outspokenness, bravery and confidence in the court room, standing up for those who need her kind of voice and spirit.

Pocahontas - Peace Corps Volunteer 
Although this is a "volunteer" position, I don't see that being a big problem for Pocahontas at all. She also seems to have a big heart, cares about bringing people together, open to people from different backgrounds and willing to make great sacrifices to help others, so I think this would especially stand out for her. I think she might even like it more because it's volunteer work. She also chose helping her tribe over love and leaving with John Smith which I think also highlights her conviction to help others as much as possible. Also, as some people have made jokes and notes of her Rosetta Stone-like communication skills, this would also make her uniquely great for the job as she'd have a better chance communicating with all of the different groups of people she encounters, in order to help.

Mulan - Detective 
While Mulan was very effective in the army and did great there, she only joined because she wanted to take her father's place as opposed to following her own journey. Mulan exhibits a ton of varied intelligent skills in her film. For this reason, I think she would be uniquely qualified as a great detective because she is so intelligent and I think she'd be a great Nancy Drew-type, figuring out a lot of tough cases and bringing a lot of people justice and protection through her work. It also is a job where she gets to use all of her notes! XD She also seems a bit shy so I think this would also be a good job for her because she'd get to help a lot of people without being put in the spotlight too much.

Tiana - Chef & Restaurant Business Owner 
Of course, this was our first Disney Princess with a dream job so this one wasn't too tough to figure out! :D Her skills as a unique chef would definitely get her restaurant notoriety and she definitely has the intelligence and ambition to run her own restaurant as well. While I think some of the other princesses could have a small business of their own, I'd like to make the distinction that I think if Tiana wanted to, she could actually probably manage a chain of her own restaurants. I think this would be her way of bringing the Bayou together with those with no experience of it, spreading out nicely.

Rapunzel - Astronomer (Scientist) 
After being locked in a tower for so long, it's not surprising that Rapunzel was constantly looking up at the sky. Honestly, her astronomy chart in the tower wasamazing though! She is also another princess whose intelligence just really stands out well above the others'. While many amateur astronomers have contributed a lot overall to the science, I think her extraordinary intelligence and natural talents in the field would make her quite an expert in some time. (I also think she'd still do art on the side and perhaps it would even be inspired more by her job.)

Merida - Professional Olympic Athlete 
I mean the girl has an undeniable skill thanks to early training and a ton of ambition and self-confidence. I could see her doing a ton of different Olympic sports with all of her talents but she would definitely be winning a gold medal for archery, I'm sure.

So what did you guys think? Did you think my picks were accurate? Do you have a better suggestion for me? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions below! ❤

Monday, May 9, 2016

Disney Animated: Favorite Songs Countdown Part 2 (Top 20)

Part 1: Top 30-21 Here

20. Lilo & Stitch - Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride
This song was written for the film and has become one of Disney's most beloved songs.. For good reason! The song opens with an affectionate greeting in Hawaiian, which it totally feels like! This song feels like a warm invitation to what it would be like to live on the beautiful Hawaiian islands. It captures the innocent and fun tropical attraction. This song is so playful and uplifting, it definitely makes you want to get up and move, even if you don't like to surf! Another thing I love about this song is how it kind of describes the film because the film is somewhat of a Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride, you go through ups and downs with Lilo and Nani as well as with Stitch, all to the gorgeous backdrop of Hawaii: A Hawaiian roller coaster ride! For those curious minds out there, the chorus translated to English is: "Hurry up, don't dally. Bring your surfboard Broad waves are rising The ocean is surging. Let's lay out in the warm sun With the sea softly lapping at the dunes Come on, let's go (Hawaiian roller coaster ride)!"

19. Cinderella - Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale
Even though we have to hear Drizella (singing) and Anastasia (playing the flute) completely butcher this song (surprised Lady Tremaine is so talented on the piano yet her daughters have no musical talent) before even Lucifer runs for sanctuary away from the noise, Cinderella's voice is so gorgeous and soothing that it makes it worth it. Cinderella's voice is so breathtaking that you hardly notice that her voice carries the track more than any soft music does. I only wish that this song were longer so we could hear her voice a bit longer.

18. 101 Dalmatians - Cruella De Vil
One of my favorite things about the songs from this era of Disney is the sheer cleverness made obvious in the lyrics. This was a time when Disney didn't rely as much on repetitive or simplistic lyrics and actually did their part in teaching vocabulary to children. The result was incredibly creative lyrics that you can't help getting stuck in your head! The music behind this track does a great job creating the creepy and uncomforting atmosphere of Cruella DeVil. Again though, the lyrics in this song just really take the cake on wit and humor!

17. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - Whistle While You Work
I love how this song shows Snow White's positive and genuine nature. I have heard her described as "manipulative" but I don't see that at all, I think she's a very good and decent person who does not try to exploit others to get what she wants. (Her plea for help to the Dwarfs was simply that, a plea from a young maiden who knew that this was the safest place for her and she offered to do her part to stay.) Whenever I am cleaning myself, I always tend to hear this song. Work has to be done and it's best done with a positive attitude.

16. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs - With A Smile And A Song
Although admittedly Snow's voice is not one of my favorites, I think her voice works perfectly with this song! The lyrics to this song are so beautiful and optimistic and hopeful - just like Snow's personality! I love how she encourages the power of positivity with lines like "There's no use in grumbling, when raindrops come tumbling. Remember, you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine." One of my favorite things about Snow White, which shows greatly in this song, is her sense of accountability. Even before the song starts, she says "You don't know what I've been through, and all because I was afraid. I'm so ashamed of the fuss I've made!" Despite what feminists and Disney Princess haters say, Snow White is such a strong young woman and this song does a great job at exemplifying her inner strength.

15. Princess And The Frog - Almost There
I love Tiana's confidence in this song, towards her goal to open up her own restaurant. I love, respect and admire the fact that she doesn't just expect things to fall into her lap, she is willing to do the work to reach her goal. She doesn't let "trials and tribulations" bring her down because she is stronger than that and chooses not to be a victim. I also love the fact that she stands out in her town. She describes the people in New Orleans as being more laid back and easy going, as mentioned in the line "This old town can slow you down, people taking the easy way But I know exactly where I'm going, I'm getting closer and closer every day." This determination and ambitious spirit is displayed beautifully in this song and I love the nod to her father in it as well. 

14. The Little Mermaid - Poor Unfortunate Souls
This has always been such a great villain song to me - the best, in fact, until just a couple of years ago. I love the way Ursula delivers it as well as the specific words she chooses. The lyrics were really brilliant in exposing Ursula's psychology to us. (She reminds me a lot of my ex-Stepmom, especially when she sings this song.) This song really shows off how villainous and manipulative Ursula is, as well as why she is so effective as a villain (and why she's one of Disney's best and most fleshed out villains). Although she is never really marketed as a she-Devil, Ursula is the perfect embodiment of it and this song does a very good job doing all it can to convince you of that. (It even includes the signing of a contract - like signing a deal with the Devil!) In addition, Ursula's voice in this is just an absolutely perfect fit!

13. Tangled - Mother Knows Best & Reprise
This song has been growing on me ever since the first time I heard it! I love it so much as I can really relate to it. I think this song perfectly captures the manipulation and deceit of Mother Gothel - the first song to do as good a job at describing the villain as "Poor Unfortunate Souls". I love how Mother Gothel plays the "Merchant of Doubt" by saying things like "One way or another Something will go wrong, I swear". The line "Me, I'm just your mother what do I know? I only bathed and changed and nursed you" shows just how insanely manipulative she is. None of that stuff means anything because that's her job yet she's trying to make Rapunzel feel indebted to her for being alive. (Personally, this song reminds me of my actual mother as she is similar to Mother Gothel so I find this song to be brilliantly realistic and accurate.)

The reprise to this song is actually what gives it the bump above "Poor Unfortunate Souls". The reprise does a fantastic job showing the desperate side of Mother Gothel's manipulation and how there is no level too low for her to sink to. Resorting to a message as repulsive as telling your own daughter "Why would he like you? Come on now, really? Look at you! You think that he's impressed?! Don't be a dummy..." is about as sick and twisted as any Disney villain has ever gotten. While it's true that Mother Gothel is not really Rapunzel's mother, Rapunzel doesn't know that and has to listen to all of these lines coming from what she perceives to be her mother. That, in itself, makes this entire song so much darker, as well as presents Gothel as a much more effective villain. I highly commend Disney for actually being willing to go this far with a female villain, they did a brilliant job - Bravo!

12. Hercules - Go The Distance & Reprise
This song does an absolutely beautiful job at capturing the angst of belonging that Hercules is feeling. It does a wonderful job of marrying a youthful confidence with a mature sense of reflection. The lyrics are so powerful and compelling, telling such a hopeful story of a young man searching for his place in life. I also love how it captures the starry element of Hercules keeping his chin up with a soft yet powerful piano melody. (Side note, I LOVE the shooting star that he sees here,;which he will see again later when he's falling in love with Meg in the garden, which is symbolic of him finding the place where he belongs!) I also love how the song picks up just as Hercules sets off on his journey, picking up in hope and confidence. Furthermore, I think the lyrics here are completely inspiring.

The reprise is even more uplifting! I love the overall epic feel that it provides. It does a great job giving you the same confidence that Hercules expresses.

11. Beauty And The Beast - Belle & Reprise
I love this entire song! I love all of the lyrics and I love how well it explains so much about Belle's character. The fact that she went through hardship, that she is misunderstood, that she finds solace in reading, that she has big dreams for herself, and that she is a classic beauty in her town yet doesn't use it to her advantage or rely on it to exploit others. I even love all of the lyrics sung by various townspeople in it!

I absolutely love and adore the reprise even more! I can't get enough, it is stuck in my head all of the time. I love how it's distilled to the core of what Belle wants: Adventure away from here more than anything else. It reminds me of the song "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" by The Animals. I just love the concept behind this song. (I come from a dockworker town so I definitely understand the desire to get out of the small town one is born in and wishing to see the world beyond it.)

10. Mulan - I'll Make A Man Out of You
I love how this is such a great little masculine song thrown into a Disney Princess film! I think it was an excellent diverse song from the lovely more feminine songs. I think the lyrics have a very fun and poetic kind of feel to them - which is fitting since the story of Mulan is based on a poem! The music also has quite a catchy element - or perhaps I just think it's catchy because it gets stuck in my head so much! Either way, this has become a big favorite among Disney fans for good reason. This song has a very inspiring feel to it and it definitely conveys the transition that Mulan undergoes throughout.

9. Beauty And The Beast - Something There
I love how this song shows Belle & the beast starting to fall in love. It's so sweet and sincere. I think it also very accurately shows how true love plays out from a budding friendship. At some point you just realize that there's "something there" that's more than friendship, the chemistry becomes undeniable. The initial judgments/perceptions are gone and a love has started to develop in it's place. This song does a beautiful job not only by telling this story through the lyrics but I think the music does a very talented job of matching the feel as well! 

8. Mulan - A Girl Worth Fighting For
I love how flattering this song is! These men are marching off into war to face some cruel and merciless enemies and protect everyone in their country and the only thing they hope for in return is to find a girl, a love, who makes it all worth it. Some say this song is not romantic at all but I completely disagree. Although I am a woman, I think this song coming from men and their point of view is incredibly romantic. They are willing to face almost certain death with the hopes that a woman will love them, appreciate them and respect them for all of their hard work and effort to keep them going. Plus, what they ask for is no where near unreasonable (specific beauty traits, appreciation of battle scars, cooks well, praise and adoration and laughs at his jokes). They also don't just want a girl by force or circumstance, they want to impress and woo her. I love, appreciate and respect this song. I also appreciate and respect the horrible things that lots of males willingly choose to face as well as their uncanny protection and accommodation for females and children (usually strangers) so that they don't have to deal with the "ugly work". I also love that the song ends abruptly with the reality of exactly why it is these men need these kinds of hopes, for the horrible things they do face and deal with. Catchy too.

Honorable Mention: Thumbelina - Marry The Mole
This song is another one that - you guessed it - is too clever to not love! This song is a lovely kuttke diddy! The lyrics in this are so witty and creative! The music is totally awesome. I love how melodic it is, even Thumbelina couldn't help but want to dance around while listening to it! I don't agree with the message - but you're not supposed to! Nevertheless, I think this song is so entirely entertaining, it became one of my favorites even as a child before I understood how witty it was and only knew how catchy it was! I'm a bit embarrassed to say that it took me a little time before I realized that Ms. Fieldmouse and Thumbeline were spelling "M-O-L-E" at the end, it went above my head the first time as a kid! haha

7. Cinderella - So This Is Love
This stuck always stuck out the most to me from Cinderella, even as a child. It was so beautiful and romantic as well as so pure and innocent. I love the way it accurately resembles love. It accurately represents love to be transcending and heavenly. Definitely will always be a beautiful and heartwarming classic for me.

6. Mulan - Honor To Us All
I rank this so highly because I catch myself singing it all the time! I think it is so cute and catchy! I also love the dynamic it shows between Mulan and her mother. I also love the "recipe for instant bride" and find it to be fairly accurate. I also love that it does mostly match up with what the men say they want from women. I just feel like women don't really understand men as well as they used to and I don't think enough mothers give their daughters honest and straight-forward advice despite what feelings it may trigger like they used to. I love that Mulan's mother does this for her in this song though. I have the highest respect and appreciation for good mothers and wives so I personally really respect and appreciate this song and the way it holds that role in such high esteem. I see children as the future so I think good parenting is absolutely prime and necessary; One of the most important jobs in society. I still value families as they are still the best environment for children growing up and I love how this song speaks to that. 

5. The Little Mermaid - Part Of Your World & Reprise

Nostalgia, nostalgia. Not just for the film but for when I felt just like Ariel and I was "ready to know what the people know, ask them my questions and get some answers". I always wanted to explore and learn new things and have been very curious about other cultures. I think the concept behind this song is so beautiful and inspiring. I also think Ariel's voice is so powerful and feminine at the same time, sometimes it gives me goose bumps. I adore Ariel's voice completely, it's so gorgeous. I think the music behind the song is equally gorgeous. A timeless classic that I sing/listen to often.

I love how beautiful and emotional Ariel's voice is in this. It's kind of heartbreaking for me. She sounds so sincere, so passionate with such longing. I think this song is just gorgeous, musically and vocally. This scene/song used to make me cry because of Ariel's conviction and how gorgeous the song is musically. 

Honorable Mention: Anastasia - Once Upon A December
Beautiful, somewhat haunting and completely mesmerizing! I have never forgotten this song since the first time I heard it as a child. This song has such an epic feel to it - likely thanks to the talented use of the choir. The lyrics perfectly convey the feelings of a lost life with memory serving as the only faint reminder. "Things my heart used to know, things it years to remember." The stunning and gorgeous voice of Liz Callaway also does a fantastic job matching the beauty of the song. I have always felt that this song did a wonderful job creating the enigmatic atmosphere that Anastasia feels when singing it.

4. The Lion King - Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
It's funny because when I was a kid, I actually thought this song was so boring! I was still in the cootie stage. haha Now that I am older and have a husband of my own, I can't help but hear this song in a completely different manner. When I hear this song now, I think it is so beautiful and heartwarming. (Though let me also say that Elton John and talented music in general has grown A LOT on me since I was a kid. I have much more musical appreciation today than I ever did before.) I think this song is brilliant. It captures the magic of love so beautifully, phonically and lyrically. The fact that this song talks about harmony is a lovely coincidence because the song itself is so harmonious. I love the way it describes love as "the world for once, in perfect harmony with all it's living things". I can definitely feel the love - and the magic of love - in this song!  

Honorable Mention: Thumbelina - Soon
Okay so if I haven't yet said this, Jodi Benson has my absolute favorite voice of all of the Disney Princesses and characters overall! Her voice as Thumbelina is my absolute favorite though, even over Ariel. I just think she has the most perfect voice, I love how innocent and gorgeous yet powerful it always sounds. Her voice is truly magical. This song is so beautiful and sounds like a lovely lullaby. My favorite line is "After the rain goes, there are rainbows. I'll find my rainbow soon." This song does such a beautiful job at capturing Thumbelina's sweet and tender optimism of finding her happy ending as well as her "sure and strong" yearning and calling for love. This song blends the spirit of Snow White with the romanticism of Aurora in the most perfect, mesmerizing way. The song is just as magical and gorgeous as Jodi Benson's voice in it is. She is so talented, she always knows how to make you feel her conviction and get you to feel what she's feeling inside. Per-fec-tion. 

3. Hercules - I Won't Say I'm In Love
Another song on this countdown that I have absolutely loved and adored since I was a child! I always loved this song and it always stood out to me - phonically and lyrically. I think the music is so beautiful and does such a great job at balancing Meg's parts with the parts of the muses. Lyrically, I think this song is just genius! I love how the banter goes back and forth between Megara trying to deny her feelings and the muses being as candid as they can with her - did I mention that I appreciate candidness? The struggle for Meg to admit her feelings because of her past are explained beautifully in this song - as well as the foolishness of denying love. "Face it like a grown up, when you gonna own up that you got it bad?" In addition, Susan Egan's voice as Meg knocks it right out of the park! That girl sure can belt those notes - which is awesome because it adds so much feel to the song! Since Meg's character is modeled after 1940's screwball comediennes, it makes it that much more effective when we see her getting all vulnerable when she thinks she's alone. 

2. Aladdin - A Whole New World
My all-time favorite Disney duet (animated)! I have always loved this song since I first heard it as a little girl and still find it to be such a romantic and magical feeling song. I love the way it describes young love to be so exciting and full of adventure and mystery. This is also one of my favorite Jasmine scenes where she finally stops being so aggressive and just lets herself be happy. I love how this song highlights the wonders and splendor of love, and how it opens up your life to "a whole new world" with a "new, fantastic point of view". One of my favorite things about this song is that it shows how liberating and empowering love is (when done right). The "indescribable feeling" of love is so perfectly conveyed in this song as well as how love changes your life and you "can't go back to where [you] used to be". The lyrics in this song are just so beautiful and properly representative of what it's like to find love. Even when I was a child and before I understood what being in love was like, I thought this song was stunning. Now that I do know what being in love is like, I just appreciate it that much more. ❤ (PS Lea Salonga's voice in this is absolutely gorgeous, mesmerizing and perfectly princess-like as well!)

1. Pocahontas - If I Never Knew You
I remember this song being in the movie and playing when Pocahontas goes to see John Smith while he is being held captive. That was when I watched in on VHS as a child though. Now when I see the movie on Blu-Ray, it's not played until the credits. I do love the version at the end with the credits though it's by Jon Secada and Shanice, rather than Judy Kuhn and Mel Gibson, I think it's done so beautifully. Anyways, I always thought this was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard in my life, especially lyrically. This song really shows the power and beauty of love; how fragile and precious it is. Definitely this song has even grown on me over the years since I've matured, perhaps because I feel the same way about my husband. There's a saying that "It's better to have loved and lost then to have not known love at all" and I think this song embodies that perfectly

Honorable Mention: Anastasia - Journey To The Past (Movie & Album Versions)
Outside of child animated films, this is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. A lot of thought and effort was clearly put into the making of this song. Not only is the singing so gorgeous here, but the lyrics are so powerful and moving! "Home, love, family. There was once a time I must have had them too? Home, love, family. I will never be complete until I find you!" This is so accurate of how an orphan would feel. I love how accurately this portrays the feeling that every child/person has of belonging. Liz Callaway does a very awesome job conveying the right emotion in her voice when singing this, elevating it to a higher level of beauty. Even though this song has some element of sadness, there's so much more hope that it actually makes the song very inspiring. Truly gorgeous song. 

It is my personal opinion that Aaliyah is one of the most underrated singers of our time. Unfortunately, I think this is a result of her dying before her time. (RIP Aaliyah.) Truly talented beyond current recognition, Aaliyah also does an absolutely stunning job conveying the right emotions in this song, despite growing up in a home quite opposite of an orphan. The urban drum beat is an interesting remix to this song but I love that for the most part, it remains true to the original version. Aaliyah's vocal remix is really what keeps this song so gorgeous-sounding more so than the remix to the actual music. Aaliyah's voice can definitely hold up to the talent of Liz Callaway, an opera singer, which is quite impressive. Not only is Aaliyah's voice incredibly talented, which we are fortunate enough to hear in this track, but it's also incredibly gorgeous as well, in my opinion.  

Honorable Mention: Thumbelina - Let Me Be Your Wings; Reprise (Sun); Reprise (Finale)
I used to watch this movie over and over and over as a kid, just as much if not more than the Disney Princess films. Now that I am older, I believe it's because the message in this was just so powerful and timeless. I think this is a classic for animated films. That being said, this song is definitely the most memorable from that movie and for good reason. I love each and every single version of this song! Jodi Benson's voice is flawless and the lyrics in this song are completely romantic in the absolute best ways. "Everyday I'll take you higher and I'll never let you fall!" What a declaration of love! Cornelius' voice in this has such a beautiful balance of being just masculine enough without being too masculine - afterall, this is a child's film. "We'll see the Universe and dance on Saturn's rings!" I just love when romantic songs talk about seeing the world, so yes there is a bias for the lyrics here! "Get ready for another world of wondrous things!" "Wondrous things are sure to happen!" The duet here is so absolutely gorgeous! I have to admit that this duet actually beats "A Whole New World" for me because the voices here are just a little better and the lyrics and music are just a little better and more romantic too. This song is just too beautiful to not be a classic. I love all of the subtle changes in the music to this song, it's so talented and creative! I just love how those little parts capture the "fluttering effect of love", conveying the feel of flying. I have never forgotten this song and have always loved it as a child but even into adulthood, this song has only grown on me more and I appreciate it even more now than I did as a child. 

Some people might not consider the "Sun" Reprise to be a reprise but I am for the sake of eliminating repetition. Just as I have never forgotten the original version of this song, so I have also never forgotten this little reprise of it. Not only is it absolutely stunning and unforgettable musically, which I did appreciate as a child, but the lyrics are much more poetic than I realized as a child. "Once there was the sun. Bright and warm and wonderful. Shining like the love within my heart.This line is so poetic and romantic and gorgeous and timeless! "And although it's dark December, forever, I'll remember sun." The absolutely beautiful symbolism of the sun representing her love for Cornelius is stunning here. I just think this little reprise is so brilliantly done, like so many of the other songs in this film. It's absolutely gorgeous and completely memorable. 

You may have guessed it! Yes, this finale reprise was equally memorable to me as the original version and the sun reprise! How can it not be? I LOVE the music behind all of these versions and I think Jodi Benson's voice is flawless. The emotion behind the finale reprise really makes it stand out to me as well. I love the banter between Thumbelina and Jacquimo, how they sing back and forth as he tries to keep her hopes up and she is torn. I also love how Jacquimo comments on how gorgeous Thumbelina's voice is, I agree! I also love the slight change in this version and how Thumbelina is singing it to Cornelius about the promises he made to her, and how that doesn't take away from the romanticism of it at all! I love how just when Thumbelina is about to lost all hope, "Everyday you'll take me higher- Let's be practical. This isn't the vale of the fairies! And Cornelius is never coming back!" Cornelius comes in to finish her lines and satiate all of her fears, "And I'll never let you fall!" Even the way Thumbelina reacts, "You! It's you! Cornelius, you're alive?!" just before the music takes over for her singing is so heartfelt that it's hard not to get completely excited with her. The music that takes over for her singing in this part is also done perfectly and conveys her excitement incredibly well. This finale is every bit as epic and romantic as it could have been and needed to be. It was done just perfectly. 

Honorable Mention: Anastasia - At The Beginning
Written for the film and initially introducing the soundtrack - though not performed in the movie until the credits - this song is my favorite song ever associated with an animated film. Musically, this song is gorgeous and stunning and talented. The music definitely captures the romantic feel of the song. The wafty-sounding voice of Donna Lewis pairs so beautifully with Richard Marx's smoother and more consistent voice. It's an absolutely beautiful pairing that just adds to the overall beauty of this song. The lyrics, however, are on an elevated level. The entire concept of love being the beginning of a new chapter is always welcome in my opinion. I love how this song captures the unexpected start of romance, both in general but also specifically between Anastasia Romanov and Dimitri in the film. The chorus is so poetic and romantic, I adore the analogies made! "And life is a road that I want to keep going. Love is a river, I want to keep flowing. Life is a road, now and forever, wonderful journey. I'll be there when the world stops turning, I'll be there when the storm is through. In the end I wanna be standing At the beginning with you." And going back to the beginning, I absolutely adore the lines "Unexpected, what you did to my heart. When I lost hope, you were there to remind me, this is the start." This song has all of the epic journey, love, romantic and just magnificent feel. Epic is the best word to describe every part of this song... Epic, gorgeous, classic and timeless... Of all of the animated songs that I know, I think this is the absolute best, which is why it's my absolute favorite. "Nothing's gonna tear us apart!" 

So what did you think of Part 2? See any of your favorites?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Disney Animated: Favorite Songs Countdown Part 1 (Top 30-21)

I really love Disney's music, especially by the team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Disney has a really spectacular way of creating fun and memorable songs that capture their respective scene or film really well. Sometimes the lyrics are very inspirational or creative and they often have positive messages too. I love all of these things about Disney music and therefore end up loving a lot of Disney songs. That being said, I was able to narrow my list down to a Top 30 Favorite Disney Songs Countdown! For the sake of avoiding repetition, I did not count any "Reprise" as separate tracks.
*Note, I am only counting down my favorite songs from Disney's animated films. I have also added in some honorary mentions from non-Disney animated films that I also grew up on. Those songs are placed where they'd rank if they were included in the countdown.*

30. Hercules - The Gospel Truth
I love the use of gospel in all of these Hercules tracks. I think this was such a clever way to use the music to tell parts of the overall story, catching us all up to speed on the events of the film. This song has always left an impression on me for how incredibly fun it is and how much it makes me want to dance. This was such a fun introduction to the movie and I thought the entire concept was incredibly clever, resulting in a very catchy final product.

29. The Princess And The Frog - Dig A Little Deeper
One of the better songs from this film, it's really the powerful positive message that allows it to rank so highly on this list. I do find the beat to be quite fun sometimes but it's really the lyrics of this song that make it such a powerful Disney track. I see it as a good follow up to "When You Wish Upon A Star", because while it is important to have a dream/goal in life; I also think it's very important to not lose those qualities that make us human. Compassion, understanding, open-mindedness and most importantly, an open heart to other people. I love the emphasis here on the difference between what a person wants and what a person needs. This is one of the best anti-greed songs that I have ever heard.

Honorable Mention: Anastasia - In The Dark Of The Night
This track does such a good job of painting the terror that awaits in the dark. It's amazing how catchy a haunting melody can be, but this is definitely a catchy yet haunting melody. This song also does a fantastic job of conveying this villain's sole focus, destroying Anastasia and completing out his curse.

28. Sleeping Beauty - I Wonder
I love how gorgeous Aurora's voice sounds. I also love how this song represents Aurora's docile and innocent nature as well as her romantic and idealistic personality. She is so pure and graceful and I think it really comes through in this song. The only way she knows of finding love is the same way as the birds: Through song. Normally I am not a fan of opera; However I am normally a fan of great talent, which Mary Costa undoubtedly has.

27. Beauty And The Beast - Gaston & Reprise
I am intrigued myself by the fact that I do not agree with the message of this song, as it portrays the worst stereotype of masculine men, yet I think the lyrics are absolutely brilliant and far too clever to not love. I find myself singing to this song quite often, even memorizing the lyrics much easier than I'd think. The song is just too catchy to ignore and too fun to condemn. I find this song to be incredibly entertaining and uplifting, for how much it makes me laugh. So while I do not think Gaston is any kind of role model for any boy out there, I couldn't blame anyone - boy or girl - for finding this song to be a total blast of fun!

The reprise is even more witty and clever than the original song, and Gaston's lines are brilliant! What a clever and intelligent way to make fun of a buffoon and expose his silliness!

26. Hercules - Zero To Hero
Hercules is one of my favorite Disney films because it is also one of the most witty of Disney films. All of the songs in this film are perfect examples. I love how these songs don't shy away from delivering so much information to the story, whether with lyrics or concepts, quite oppositely it packs a ton every time! In addition, the beats are incredibly fun! I love how Disney incorporated gospel into these songs, they create such a lively atmosphere and I also think it's a really clever concept to have the muses singing gospel about Hercules. This song is as clever and witty as it is fun, a rare find! (And in fact, it's the very clever wit that does make it so fun!)

Honorable Mention: Fern Gully - Batty Rap
I am not normally a fan of rap music, but again I am a sucker for wit! I love how this song starts off with the creepy Dracula sound but immediately blends that into a funky rap beat - how incredibly unique! It almost reminds me a bit of the band Goblin, which I love. (If you are familiar with the films Suspiria or Deep Red, Italian horror films by Dario Argento, then you know what I am talking about! They do a phenomenal job of blending jazz/funk with haunting, horror sounds.) The lyrics here tell a great message about what we do to nature and nature's creatures and how we have been losing respect for non-humans. I commend this song for finding such a unique and fun way to convey a somewhat darker message that is meant to make us reflect on ourselves and our behavior as a people.

25. Pocahontas - Steady As The Beating Drum
As I have mentioned earlier, I love drum beats in music! Ever since I was a little girl, I always thought this song was so beautiful and powerful! It always caught my attention with the utmost interest. I don't find the lyrics to be quite as stunning or positively distracting as the music though I do think the singing flows along nicely with the beat overall. While this isn't exactly like anything I have ever heard at a pow-wow growing up, I still can't help but think it's a pretty talented track, so I don't hold that against it.

Honorable Mention: Thumbelina - Yer Beautiful, Baby
I just always remembered this song because it started off with a nice groovy beat that was very catchy despite the awful voice of the beetle singing it before it derails into a completely humiliating scene for poor Thumbelina. While I always remember this scene as being sad and upsetting when I was younger, I still have to admit that the lyrics were clever (as all of the songs in this movie are) and the beat was still groovy aside from the humiliation show. Musically, this song is really good and I can see why it would be the big hit at the "Beetle Ball".

24. Sleeping Beauty - Once Upon A Dream
I love classical music and I absolutely love Tchaikovsky! Ever since I was a little girl I always liked classical music and I loved this song. It always feels like a dream, sweeping me off my feet and making me want to do Piqué turns etc. all over the room. It certainly sweeps me off my feet and I can definitely see why it swept Aurora off of hers as well. It embodies grace and beauty to me. 

23. Aladdin - One Jump Ahead & Reprise
This is just one of those songs that all of my Renaissance peers all knew the lines to, making it an incredibly fun sing-along. I love the quick nature of this song, which perfectly conveys how Aladdin's life is spent so much on the run and struggling for survival, that he never really gets to enjoy the pleasures of life. In addition, like so many of my favorite Disney songs, the lyrics are so clever and witty here, really conveying concepts that likely go over the heads of smaller children. It's those concepts that make me love this song so much more though. I think Disney is at it's best when it uses intellectual humor, as opposed to just relying on low-grade potty or vulgar humor.

The reprise to this song is even better, in my opinion, as it is much more beautiful and shows the vulnerable side of Aladdin, and how he lives the life he does out of circumstance; not choice.

22. Lilo & Stitch - Aloha O'e aka Farewell to Thee
This song is just as short as it is sweet. Even though it's only about a minute long at best, it is so soothing and gorgeous-sounding. When you do not understand the lyrics and the source of this song, it comes off like a sweet-sounding lullaby almost. When you do understand the lyrics and source, it becomes so much more. This song comes from the last Queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, who was unable to protect her country and sang it as an apology for not being able to uphold her duty as Queen. The translation is "Farewell to thee, farewell to thee. The charming one who dwells among the bowers. One fond embrace, before I depart, until we meet again." Nani sings this song because like the Queen, Nani is unable to protect Lilo and thinks she will be losing her very soon. Knowing this, makes this song so much more beautiful and sad. Nani has so much conviction to raise Lilo, even if she's in over head with it, and that love and devotion really comes off in this song, with or without translation.

21. The Sword In The Stone - That's What Makes The World Go Round
Probably one of the most intelligent Disney songs in the history of the company. Although this song mainly consists of a bunch of aphorisms, I also love the clear emphasis on balance. For every positive, there is a negative and that really is what makes the world go round! It sounds like a simple, silly little song with simplistic lyrics yet it is actually tackling the bigger concepts of life and the world around us. It really touches on the basic concepts of science and existence, that everything has a counterpart or it can't exist. I have always emphasized the importance of balance, so I can't help but completely love, respect and appreciate this song for the message it is trying to convey. Furthermore, it's not just a message about how the world works, but also how to be successful in it. On top of it all, the little melody behind the lyrics is very pleasant and sweet-sounding, letting the message take the spotlight.

So what did you think of Part 1? See any of your favorites?

Part 2 Link Here