Monday, March 17, 2014

My Top 10 favorite romantic songs in animated movies

Some Times romance is conveyed best through music, and animated movies always seem it hit them out of the park. For this list I’ll be counting down my personal favorite romantic songs from animated pictures, and I’ll only be looking at the songs themselves, not so much the lovers on screen, well, maybe with some exceptions.

#10 Accidentally in Love from “Shrek 2"

Here's a perfect odd romantic song for a perfect odd couple. The title sums their relation up perfectly, they did accidentally fall in love, and they couldn't be happier about it. It's also a really upbeat song, with a nice beat and the scene in the beginning of the movie offers more than enough visual hummer. It's the kind of romantic song you'd expect from an animated DreamWorks comedy, and personally I think it belongs amongst some of the best.

#9 Love Will Find a Way from "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride"

      When it comes to "The Lion King", most people think of the song "Can you feel the Love tonight", which has gained the reputation as one of the greatest songs in the entire Disney collection. Well, that's certainly a good song, especially when sung by Elton John, however, it also felt out of place because the couple in that film was really tacked on, and personally I actually prefer the song titled "Love Will Find a Way" from the admittedly inferior but also underrated sequel. While the actual lovers in the movie were nothing that special, this song was at least in place because the movie was all about their relationship. Also, it’s just a really nice song, with a majestic score and sweet lyrics.     

#8 Kiss the Girl from "The Little Mermaid"

      Now here’s a classic Disney song that definitely earns a spot on my list. Shortly after this movie’s release it even got an Oscar nod for best original song of the year, ironically it lost the award to “Under the Sea”, so either way “The Little Mermaid” still brought home the gold. It’s interesting to note that unlike all the other Disney princess movies, the couple aren’t singing this song together, instead it’s the supporting characters that get all the credit, which is kind of refreshing. The song itself is slow and romantic, but it also carries a surprisingly upbeat tone that really livens it up. The setting is perfect, the pacing is great and the buildup is just perfect. Combine that with Allen Matkins catchy lyrics and you got yourself a classic Disney song that ranks among some of my favorite romantic songs from an animated movie.   

#7 A Whole New World from "Aladdin"

      Oh, don’t even act surprised that I included this song, you all knew it was coming. This Oscar winning song is so famous, I don’t even know what I need to say about it. Upon its release, it actually beat out Whitney Huston’s “I will always Love You”, out of the Billboards top 100 spot, and to this day, it’s still a gem. While the song is romantic enough on its own, it's the presentation with our two lovers flying trough the clods and across the sky that really makes it feel all the more magical. On a side note, I just love all the different locations in this scene, from Arabia, to Grease, to Egypt, to China, they certainly cover a lot of places in one night. Sweepingly romantic and unforgettable, “A Whole New World” has earned its status as one of Disney’s greatest songs.  

#6 Far Longer then Forever from "The Swan Princess"

      While I freely admit that the couple in this film is about a generic as animated couples get, their duet song titled “Far Longer than Forever” is still a gem from my childhood and takes a different approach than most other lover songs. This princess and prince are actually separated from each other, but their feelings for one another are still just as strong, even across thousands of miles. That’s such a unique way to have a musical duet like this and it only adds more flavor to the song. If this movie had been released under the Disney banner, this song would be put amongst some of their best musical numbers. The melody is great, the visual style is captivating, and it’s so simple, yet so uplifting that it conveys the exact same feel that most of Disney’s popular hits convey.

#5 For the Dancing and the Dreaming from "How to Train Your Dragon 2"

      This is perhaps the most unique romantic song number on my countdown, it’s much shorter and isn't exactly what a popular artist would put on a record, but it’s still just as touching and uplifting as anything else I’ve mentioned. This is also very special because unlike most romantic songs that always feature two good looking young adults, this one features two middle aged parents that have been reunited after several years. The peace starts nice and soft as the husband tries desperately to reconnect with his wife, and as she opens up to him again, the song really begins to liven up. The real high note that completes this scene is their sons reaction as he just takes in this moment as it’s the first time in his life he ever saw his mother and father together. It’s cheerful, with some subtle comedy thrown in, and packed with lots of genuine human emotion, which is more than enough to make this little song one of the best feel good moments I’ve experienced in an animated motion picture.   

#4 I See the Light from “Tangled

      Here’s another great example of a romantic musical number in an animated movie that just hits all the right notes. It’s visually one of the most spectacular musical numbers I’ve ever seen, with all the lanterns floating through the sky, the reflections in the lake, the warm colors, it’s all very original, innovative and breath taking. Even without the location, it’s still a really sweet song, establishing how someone's lifelong dream came true and now a new one takes its place. I also like how the couple sings individually and through voice over at first, then gradually they begin to sing out loud together. It’s colorful, it’s unforgettable and one of the best romantic songs to come from Disney in years.  

#3 At the Beginning from "Anastasia"

     This song is every bit as sweet and wholesome as any of the previous songs listed, and it’s positively dripping with a cheerful tone and melody that never lets down. However, unlike the previous songs which were all about the beauty of the moment, this one is all about looking back at when the romantic journey started, what highlighted the experience, and where it all lead to in the end. It’s positively laced with nostalgia, and in a rare case, it’s not sung by the couple, it’s actually played over a clip montage during the end credits, which makes this a unique entry on the countdown, but a very special one all the same.        

#2 If I never Knew You from "Pocahontas"

      This song is making its way in popularity but it still isn’t a house hold title like “A Whole new World”. Shame, because I think this is one of the better romantic songs to come from Disney. The melody is beautiful and it’s such a great song about what life would be like without someone you loved. The actual scene with Pocahontas and John Smith singing this was deleted from the theatrical release, but the 10th anniversary DVD addition thankfully put it back in the film. Pocahontas and John Smith were never one of my favorite Disney couples, but this song is still a personal favorite, it’s subtle and touching. Plus the final version performed by Jon Secada & Shanice is fantastic. I really hope more people discover this because it really is one of Disney’s best romantic songs.

Before I revial my #1 pick, here are some Honorable Mentions ...

Love Always Comes as a Surprise from "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"
Love is an Open Door from "Frozen"
Ma Belle Evangeline from "The Princess and the Frog"
Looking for Romance (I Bring You a Song) from "Bambi"
Bella Notte from "Lady and the Tramp"
Jack and Sally duet from "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

#1 Beauty and the Beast (song) from "Beauty and the Beast"

      This is hands down the definitive romantic song, and easily one of the greatest songs to come from Disney. It has such a simple melody combined with a beautiful theme, and matched to an unforgettable scene with the two lead characters dancing in a ballroom. I can’t think of another musical number as touching, or as enduring as this one, and even to this day, it still warms me up inside. Belle and Beast always seemed to represent the greatest couple to ever be featured in a Disney movie, and it only figures that they’d get a timeless song to go with them. There’s also several other great renditions of this song, including the recent version performed by Jordon Sparks and I especially love the duet version performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson. Whatever version you listen to, it’s still a timeless gem and the greatest romantic song to ever be featured in an animated movie. 

            The End