With the Disney Princess show coming to Auckland on September 26, it’s time to ask yourself: have you refreshed your knowledge of the best songs before its arrival? With so many iconic tracks, we’re here to break down the best 10 (in our humble opinion), so you’re prepared for the show hitting our shores.
1. ‘Kiss the Girl’ – Samuel E. Wright, The Little Mermaid
I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t cheer up listening to this. Sebastian’s song is upbeat, romantic and cheeky, providing one of The Little Mermaid’s most important plot moments. While Eric is initially too shy to make a move in this scene, he eventually does, releasing Ariel from Ursula’s spell. The best thing about this song, though, is just the tune. So catchy!
2. ‘How Far I’ll Go – Alessia Cara, Moana
This upbeat, inspirational track replaced an earlier song, ‘More’ on the soundtrack. However, Songwriter Lin Manuel-Miranda expressed his desire to delve into more profound messages and created this piece, which explores Moana’s desire for strength, independence and finding her way in the world. While the lyrics are relatively straightforward, the simplicity makes this song universally relatable.
3. ‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’ – Lily James, Cinderella
Lily James as Cinderella brings this aspirational single. Singing to her animal friends, Cinderella tells them that even in sleep, your desires stay active, and any dreams are achievable. The scene in which the song features is particularly emotional as it’s clear that Cinderella is hurting but still provides comfort and wisdom to those around her. It’s a great example of her character’s beautiful traits, and this message to never stop dreaming stays one of the film’s central themes as it progresses.
4. ‘Strong’ – Sonna, Cinderella
Sonna described this song as being about ‘belief in yourself’ and the ‘importance of having courage and power in your heart’ in an interview about the film. With this beautiful meaning, ‘Strong’ emphasises to viewers that emotional strength is just as important and wonderful as outer strength – and is an equal superpower. Cinderella’s inner goodness eventually grants her her fairytale ending, and ‘Strong’ reflects this.
5. ‘I See The Light’ – Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Tangled
One of the main themes in Disney is, of course, love. This slow, romantic ballad, ‘I See The Light,’ is one of the most significant songs in Tangled, as Flynn and Rapunzel finally let down their guard around each other to see each other’s light. With this scene, audiences are reassured about the eventual happy ending, with its sentimental message of hope and renewed possibilities.
6. ‘A Whole New World’ – Lea Salonga, Brad Kane, Disney, Aladdin
Continuing with the heartfelt theme, ‘A Whole New World’ is another song in which the characters and audience can feel all the good feelings. In this scene, Jasmine recognises freedom and new opportunities, and for Aladdin, the same. The things holding them back no longer seem impossible, and they can dream more expansive dreams. Also, ‘A Whole New World’ was Disney’s first song to go commercially number 1 on the charts for one of their animated films, making this one of their best songs and a record breaker.
7. ‘How Does A Moment Last Forever’ – Emma Watson, Beauty & the Beast
This moving track is about holding onto precious moments in life. Sung twice in the film, first by Maurice and then by Belle, it’s a reminder to be fully present, particularly when it comes to time with family.
8. ‘I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) – Susan Egan & the Muses, Hercules
A mid-tempo, doo-wop pop ballad inspired by 1950s music, Meg is expressing her insistence that she doesn’t love Hercules in this, even though she knows that she does. The lyrics inspire viewers to listen to their feelings and intuition. The Muses push Meg to do just this and understand her emotions so that she can experience the happy ending so many Disney films feature – and to the viewers’ excitement, she does in the end.
9. ‘Almost There’ – Anika Noni Rose, The Princess & The Frog
With this heartfelt, enchanting song, Tiana expresses how close she is to achieving her dream of opening a restaurant, hence the title ‘Almost There.’ Bringing to viewers the powerful message of continuing to chase your dreams no matter the potential setbacks, generations of young people are provided with the statement that nothing is impossible if you continue to persevere. Sometimes, it feels like your goals are out of reach, but one day, they will be closer – so keep going. You, too, are almost there.
10. ‘Loyal Brave True’ – Christina Aguliera, Mulan
Hear me out – I know the new Mulan wasn’t the best film, BUT the soundtrack! Representing the join between vulnerability and strength, this is a great inspirational song for young people with the desire to find their power.
Disney Princess – The Concert will play at Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre in Auckland this September 26. Buy tickets here.