Last week I shared my picks for the Top 5 Underrated Disney Movies and I realized that I talked a lot about the soundtracks from those movies, so I decided to have this week's post piggy-back off of last week's and focus only on the underrated Disney soundtracks.
For each soundtrack that I list, I'll include my reasoning and then I'll pick a favorite song off the soundtrack, plus list some other top hits. Let me know in the comments at the end of the post if you agreed or disagreed with my choices!
Before I get into my main list, I'd like to first list two honorable mentions:
Oliver and Company
I couldn't justify putting this one in the top five, because I was looking at the soundtracks as a whole and this one really only has one song - "Why Should I Worry?" that would make the cut as underrated, but it's such a good song that I felt it warranted an honorable mention.
Lilo and Stitch
Lilo and Stitch has a great soundtrack too! Hawaiian Roller Coaster ride is so fun and catchy, but beyond that it's pretty much just Elvis music, which don't get me wrong, is great music! But, it wasn't written specifically for the film, and therefore, only warrants an honorable mention.
Fun fact: Lilo and Stitch has more Elvis songs in it than any other movie - including the ones that Elvis actually starred in!
Okay, so here are my actual top five:
5. Hunchback of Notre Dame
This fantastic soundtrack comes during the height of the Disney Renaissance. (aka - all those fantastic 90's Disney movies that you grew up watching) But this soundtrack, like its movie, stands out because of its dark themes. Even the opening song has a ton of minor overtones! But of course it is a Disney movie so it still has a ton of upbeat catchy songs as well. I mainly think that it's underrated because it gets shadowed by the other fantastic movies with equally fantastic soundtracks to come out around the same time, like The Lion King and Aladdin.
Best: "God Help the Outcasts"
The whole sequence is so gorgeous! I always get goose bumps at the end when Esmeralda walks into the sunlight streaming through the rose window! Plus I think that the lyrics just perfectly capture how truly kind and hurt Esmeralda is.
Also great: "Out There", "Hellfire", "The Bells of Notre Dame", "Topsy Turvy Day"... Literally all of them!
I think that Clopin is such an underrated Disney character, so any song of his, I automatically love! And "Hellfire" is such a downright creepy song, and it pushes the boundaries for Disney villains, so I think that it should also be appreciated for that.
4. Brother Bear
Everyone loves Phil Collins' Tarzan soundtrack, but no one ever talks about his equally impressive Brother Bear Soundtrack! Seriously, this soundtrack fits its movie perfectly! Not many people have even seen Brother Bear, so they don't know what they're missing!
Best: "On My Way"
This is such a catchy song and I listen to it way more than I should! Plus it's the perfect addition to any "heading to Disney World" road trip playlist.
Also great: "Welcome", "Great Spirits", "Look Through My Eyes"
I have to give props to "Great Spirits" because it's sung by Tina Turner! Also, this is definitely a movie that you should stay through the credits, that way you'll hear "Look Through My Eyes"!
As I mentioned in my underrated movie post, the soundtrack for Enchanted mirrors Giselle's character arc perfectly. As she drops her princess persona and learns to love New York (and Patrick Dempsey) the music style changes from classic Disney to more current pop.
Best: "That's How You Know"
This song and scene are iconic. Whenever anyone mentions Enchanted, the first thing I think of is Amy Adams dancing through Central Park. Plus it's the song where Robert questions why everyone is singing, which makes me laugh every time!
Also great: "Happy Working Song", "True Love's Kiss", "Ever Ever After"
Ugh! Just listing all of these makes me want to go listen to this soundtrack again!
Cars is unique in the sense that it's unusual for a Pixar movie to put such a strong emphasis on its soundtrack. Typically you have one iconic song that's sung by Randy Newman and then the rest of the movie is scored. But with Cars, you get a collection of fantastic singers singing songs with lyrics that actually advance the plot of the movie.
Best: "Life is a Highway"
Obviously "Life is a Highway" is the strongest on the soundtrack. You still hear this version on the radio today! How many other Disney songs can you say that about?
Also great: "Real Gone", "Sh-boom", "Our Town"
Think about how different these three songs are. Now think about how different the movie would be if you removed them from it. Isn't it crazy how they all fit perfectly into the plot and are all necessary to it? Also, I have to give a shout out to James Taylor! He's one of my favorites and I always forget that he sung "Our Town", so it always makes me smile to hear him when I reach that part of the movie.
1. The Muppets
Okay, I might be a bit biased since I'm a huge fan of all things Muppets, but the soundtrack to the 2011 Muppet movie is seriously perfection. The Muppets have a long history of music, thanks to their movies and TV show, and their music has historically been super quirky. I mean "Mahna Mahna" is pure nonsense. But then they also have very heartfelt songs like "Rainbow Connection", or my personal favorite, "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday." This soundtracks fits perfectly in with their existing music, which, honestly, is a feat for any sequel.
Best: "Man or a Muppet"
THIS SONG WON AN OSCAR!!! ...enough said
Also great: "Life's a Happy Song", "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard", "We Built This City"
Have you ever noticed the amount of whistling in these three songs? I never noticed it the first time I saw the movie, so I was kind of shocked when (spoiler alert!) Walter saves the show with his "Whistling Caruso" number. But after going back and watching the movie again, I realized that we see him whistle in "Life's a Happy Song" and "We Built This City," plus there's a whistling part of "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" that plays during the opening credits! Pretty clever foreshadowing, Muppets!
Well, what do you think of my list? Let me know in the comments below if you think I missed any crucial underrated Disney soundtracks!
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