Disney music is often some of the happiest, up-tempo music you will be exposed to. However, it can also be serious and even downright sad if you pay enough attention to the transitions in the music and the lyrics laid on top of them. Without further ado, I want to get into a couple of lists.
Best Movies for Music
("The Sound of Music" and "Fantasia" not included)
Irene Bedard's voice on "Colors of the Wind" pretty much puts this movie in the discussion. The movie doesn't exactly stick to historical accuracy, but the songs in this movie are great. Rather than being upbeat, funny, and directed at kids, the songs in this movie seem to be more aimed at adults. I didn't enjoy this soundtrack a ton as a kid, but I love listening to the songs now.
"A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me" drive this soundtrack, and they are great.
10) The Jungle Book
If you can appreciate jazz, swing, and other older forms of music, then you'll probably love this soundtrack. As one of the older Disney movies, the soundtrack has a record player background to it, which gives it an authentic feel. As for the reason it's on here, the top two songs on the track are fantastic. "I Wa'na Be Like You" is one of my favorite Disney songs, and "The Bare Necessities" is punny and fun.
9) Mary Poppins
If you aren't familiar with this soundtrack, then you're missing out. I'm personally not huge on this movie, but I can't leave it out of the top ten. There are too many classics like "Spoonful of Sugar" and "ThatlongwordI'mnotgoingtospelltwiceinonepostsokeepreading."
Surprisingly, Mandy Moore is exceptional as the voice of Rapunzel in this movie. The song writing is fantastic, it's got a more modern feel, and the songs are really catchy.
7) Lilo & Stitch
Out of all of the soundtracks on this list, this is probably the most unique. The reason for that is that a lot of the song is sung by a native Hawai'ian in the native language. Throw in some great music and a wonderful-sounding kid chorus and you've got a wonderfully crafted soundtrack.
This is one of the most demanding soundtracks in any Disney movie, simply because it asks a ton of the voice actors to contribute. I don't think one person thought the singing in this movie would be as great as it was.
5) The Little Mermaid
4) Beauty and the Beast
Just so many classic songs. "Be Our Guest", "Belle", and "Beauty and the Beast" will forever remain in the hearts of countless individuals as precious memories. The music is well-crafted, and the lyrics are even better.
3) Pirates of the Caribbean (Series)
Unlike most other Disney movies, the music in this series is done via an orchestra led by the legendary Hans Zimmer. I don't know enough about orchestras to go into specifics, but listening to the OST for this series is always a joy.
2) The Lion King
It's easy to just give a ton of credit to Elton John for this soundtrack, and it's a little unfair to other movies that he was so heavily involved. However, he worked on some of the greatest songs ever. The songs on this track are the stars of the Broadway musical, and the John has performed the songs in live concerts countless times.
While Elton John is "unfair" on The Lion King's soundtrack, Phil Collins was simply insane on this soundtrack. I've listened to a lot of Phil Collins and Genesis throughout my life, and I've never heard him as good in any of his songs as he is on the Tarzan soundtrack.
Best Songs of All Time
First off, here are the honorable mentions:
"Why Should I Care?"- Oliver and Company
"Zero to Hero"- Hercules
"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"- Mary Poppins
"Go the Distance"- Hercules
"A Whole New World"- Aladdin
"Be Prepared"- The Lion King
"Everybody Wants to Be a Cat"- The Aristocats
Now to the rest of the list:
25) "You've Got a Friend in Me"- Toy Story
Chances are you've heard this song before. Randy Newman's most classic song created for Pixar Studios helped make Toy Story one of the greatest animated films of all time. It's comforting, humble, and uplifting.
24) "Jack Sparrow"- Pirates of the Caribbean
23) "When Will My Life Begin?"- Tangled
This movie is relatively new, so it doesn't get a ton of love and respect for the great Disney movie that it is--for what it's worth, it's got a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney got away from serious movies and Pixar to head back into the world of animated films, and they nailed it. This song is the highlight of the movie.
22) "Part of Your World"- The Little Mermaid
21) "Kiss the Girl"- The Little Mermaid
Honestly, Jodi Benson's singing voice is just great--she voices Ariel in the movie, if that wasn't already glaringly obvious. "Part of Your World" is probably the best example of your talents. Meanwhile, "Kiss the Girl" has arguably my favorite introduction to any Disney song ever.
20) "You'll Be in My Heart"- Tarzan
19) "Belle"- Beauty and the Beast
18) "Heigh Ho"- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
17) "Friend Like Me"- Aladdin
16) "If I Didn't Have You"- Monsters Incorporated
15) "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"- The Lion King
14) "The Bare Necessities"- The Jungle Book
13) "The Circle of Life"- The Lion King
If I were to make a list of the songs that were objectively greatest and not just my favorites, this one would probably top the list. Elton John doesn't perform the song in the movie, but his recording of it is nothing short of incredible.
12) "Davy Jones"- Pirates of the Caribbean
11) "Hawai'ian Roller Coaster Ride"- Lilo & Stitch
(hint: these are all getting videos and summaries because they're worth it):
10) "Beauty and the Beast"- Beauty and the Beast
9) "Be a Man"- Mulan
"(Be a man)
You must be swift as the coursing river
(Be a man)
With all the force of a great typhoon
(Be a man)
With all the strength of a raging fire
(Be a man)
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon"
Just a freaking amazing chorus, if you ask me (especially starting at the 3:00 mark in the video). It's not lyrically great, but it's still awesome.
8) "Be Our Guest"- Beauty and the Beast
Have you tried the gray stuff? It's pretty delicious. One of the catchiest songs I can remember, and you'll learn a lot about different types of food. Oh, and the part where they mock Cogsworth is naturally incredible.
7) "He's a Pirate"- Pirates of the Caribbean
6) "I Just Can't Wait to be King"- The Lion King
5) "Under the Sea"- The Little Mermaid
4) "I Wa'na Be Like You"- The Jungle Book
I'm a big fan percussion and smooth beats, and this song has the greatest beat in Disney history. While the song lacks in great vocals, the lyrics are great. I love the way Disney broke off from their traditional songs to make a song like this. The opening few lines are just great. "I'm tired of muggin' around."
3) "He Mele No Lilo"- Lilo & Stitch
Just listen, guys. Such a fantastically written song (especially the bridge). Lilo & Stitch is criminally underrated in the Disney world.
2) "Son of Man"- Tarzan
Phil Collins was a BEAST (pun intended) when he worked on this soundtrack. The intro, the chorus, the bridge...everything about this track is just incredible. If you need more to like about this song, watch Tarzan and notice the timing of when the track is used. Much like the next song on this list, it is the song that transitions you from one part of the movie into the next, and it fits so incredibly well.
1) "Hakuna Matata"- The Lion King
Don't dwell on the past. Live in the present and focus on what you can control. Make the most out of your life.