Saturday, December 10, 2016

Top 5 Disney Love Songs

            I have not been posting nearly enough this year and I want to steer back from that.  To that end I have found a 30-day blog challenge and fluffed it out to 31 entries (since December has 31 days).  I have done a 30-day challenge before for movies, though that one was poorly executed (I started it in the middle of a month, at one point I posted 2 entries on one day, it is a mess).  I did another one just this year in August on Video Games, that one was better, go read it after this one, all of it.  Or don’t, no pressure.

            Today is day 10 and the topic is “Best Love Song”.
            I am going to start off by saying, there are lots of these and they are near universally good.  The reason I start with that is I also have to point out that the songs skew HEAVILY toward romantic love and neglect almost entirely friendship and familial love as things to sing about—there are plenty of songs about friends, but not about loving a friend.
            To that end I decided to look at what I feel are the 5 most iconic songs about romantic love, a top 5 list in no particular order seemed like a great idea.  Then I recognized a fun quirk about each of the five, they each emphasized a different stage/aspect of romantic love so I decided to put them in that order.

From “Hercules” you have “I won’t say I’m in Love”

            This song captures the hesitation related to entering a new relationship, in this case those feelings issue from having been hurt previously—or in other cases just being scared of entering into a new relationship.
The best aspect is that the song is presented in a statue garden that presents numerous instances of a romantic ideal—a modern Western heteronormative ideal that is, in real Ancient Greece there would have been a lot more sculptures of gay wrestling—so even while surrounded by depictions of love and having the muses singing with her about the subject she is still trying to keep her emotional walls up.  She fails, but still.  
(If you want to learn more about Aphrodite, the love goddess barely appearing in the movie about Greek gods and has a subplot about romance, watch this video, it also talks about the Greek ideas about love.)

Swept Away
From “Aladdin” we have “A Whole New World”

            We have moved on from being afraid, both in this blog and in the movie, “Aladdin”.  Jasmine has been resistant to suitors and Aladdin has met that resistance as best he can with charm and wonder and… well, if a princess showed up to my house with a parade and then took me on a magic carpet ride (Euphemisms!  They’re great!) I think my resistance to entering a relationship would melt away too.  Allowing yourself to be swept up in the charms and taking your emotional barricades down is important to starting up an emotional journey.
It was my favorite Disney song for a long time because I think it captures the emotions they are going for perfectly, both in the animation capturing the rises and falls—subtext(!)—and the nature of the duet starting off as an invitation, answering with acceptance, and then coupling.  It’s great.

Making the Move
From “The Little Mermaid” there’s “Kiss the Girl”

            While the previous two have either trepidation or breaking thru trepidation at the start of a relationship this song takes place during a relationship that is going from quasi-platonic and flirty to full on romantic.  And the song is full on about reading signals and making moves.  Which can be difficult.
            Not everyone is taught how to seal the deal and not nearly enough people know when you should be trying to.  This song is about that little voice in your head telling you to do it because being around this person is making you so emotionally charged that every noise in your vicinity starts to sound like music.

Sexual Chemistry
In “The Lion King” they have “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”

            First and only song on this list that is non-diegetic, aside from the opening and closing by Timon and Pumbaa—and you can cut those elements from the song without losing the meat of it—all of the singing that is done by Simba and Nala takes place within their own heads while most of the music comes from an unseen chorus.  But that aspect is not all that important to what the song is really about.
            This song is about sex.  Unlike the other songs about romance, this song is about sex framed in a romantic sense.  It is not even all that sub textual, at one point in the song he gets he gets her wet and she is shocked by it.
Go ahead and tell me there is nothing symbolic about this!

True Love
“Beauty and the Beast” has the most aptly titled “Beauty and the Beast”

            Moving past all the previous entries there is one final aspect that needs to be covered, the romantic ideal.  This song contextualizes the romance between Belle—Her name means Beauty, You Get IT!?—and the Beast as “story old as time, song as old as rhyme”.  This is not just their relationship it is THE relationship.  The bad boy who will only be good to the one girl, the shut off girl who will only open up to the one boy.
            While the previous songs see the object of the affection as some sort of ideal that they are distant from.

“Who d'you think you're kidding?  He's the earth and heaven to you” -Muses from “Hercules”
“A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew!”  -Jasmine from “Aladdin”
“Sitting there across the way, she don’t got a lot to say, but there’s something about her” -Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid
“Why won’t he be the King I know he is; the King I see inside?” -Nala, from “The Lion King”

            But this song is about Belle and Beast’s relationship starting from a completely different point and moving into romance organically allowing them to see each other as who they are rather than what they imagine the other person to be.  They are in love on a deeper level.  It is what the whole movie is about, seeing someone for who they are beyond appearances.
I am, admittedly, taking the exact opposite perspective most comedically oriented people do on this movie.
I mean, the old and tired joke is about Stockholm Syndrome.
“Barely even friends, then somebody bends, Unexpectedly.” -Ms. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast”

            There is one other song I could have included that blends elements of these and that complexity I think elevates it, so it will get its own entry down the line.  But for right now, these are five Disney Songs that explore love.

Bonus: Not a Song
            Let me be clear, as most of these movies are made for little children the idea of romance as something new to be explored means that romance skew young in these movies, but there is another stage of love that goes past first kisses and dances in a ballroom.  There is the sort of love that makes you feel incomplete without it and drives you to go on mad cap adventures trying to prove to yourself and the one you lost that it was all worth it.
            There is more nostalgic and wistful romance in “Up” than any movie with a prince or princess in it.

Beg for Attention
            Share your own thoughts on this in the comments.  I know I am not the only person out there who is nostalgic for Disney products, and I am sure many people disagree with my selection for today’s entry.
            Do you have a favorite?  Can you tell me why?  Is there some stage of courting I missed in this simplistic list of five things?  What would you suggest?  Please comment below.
I picked Disney stuff just because I knew there was so much of it to talk about and it lends itself to discussion in the comments.  So please, tell me how my opinion about cartoon movies is biased and how your opinion on cartoon movies is objectively right.

If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

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