Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Disney Sing-Alongs: Heroine Edition

Right now I'm under the impression that I will never have time to do anything I want ever again. I have a plethora of reading assignments to complete, a ton of homework I keep forgetting I have to do, a bunch of movies to watch by next week and all these extra things that I didn't even realize I had to do that must be finished very very soon.

It's come to the point that I can barely keep my head on straight. I wake up in the morning thinking about how much work I have to do and I go to bed thinking about it just as much. So to help myself along a little bit, I'm going to start a new trend in my blogging that will hopefully not become a regular occurrence.

Instead of writing a typical and lengthy blog post (I've already done two paragraphs and I'm working on a third, so I'm not being absolutely terrible), I'm going to take up space with some of my favorite Disney music shared via YouTube.

Whenever you see a post that seems to be very video heavy and not so text heavy (okay, still pretty text heavy - I can't control myself), assume that it's because I am under tremendous pressure and if pressured into writing a text-only blog post, I may actually fall apart from anxiety.

For this week's Disney video theme, I will be sharing with you my favorite heroine songs. Heroine with an "e," as in the music from the awesome females that make up Disney's greatest animated films.

I will try to provide a bit of commentary so that I don't grow too complacent, but bear in mind that I am also slightly distracted by how much work outside of The Songs of Spring that I have to do. Tonight will be fun.

And now to the songs:

"I Won't Say I'm in Love" from Hercules

I've always loved the mid-90's heroines of Disney animated film. They took on a new feminist role that emphasized the state of conflict that a lot of women are faced with when they feel they are subordinate to men and want to break through those shackles, whilst they are also feeling strong romantic feelings for a man whom they worry might hurt them. Megara is the ultimate feminist symbol in Disney film. She has been hurt, she is cynical, she is strong even if she seems physically weak. And she won't let anyone in because she fears letting her feminine frailties get in the way of her self-empowerment. I love Meg for her strength and her weaknesses. And I love this song.

"God Help the Outcasts" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I was three years old when The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released in theaters. And once I saw the film, I was convinced it was made for me. I was a little kid with tan skin and a messy matted mane of raven black hair. Being surrounded by images of pale blonde beauty, I was so proud to have someone to feasibly aspire to look like and admire in Esmeralda. I may not have lovely eyes of greenish-blue, yet I thought of her as an model of ethnic beauty as well as powerful female strength. She was such a great, emotional, introspective character. A great role model as far as Disney heroines go.

"Just Around the Riverbend" from Pocahontas

Though I never identified with Pocahontas personally, I always enjoyed the movie and the music for its very nature-centric imagery and beautiful melodies. "Just Around the Riverbend" is the kind of song that you can't help but want to hear again once you've heard it once. As everyone knows (we've all seen Pocahontas, right?), the song is Pocahontas' outlet for her misgivings about having to settle on a marriage to Kocoum. It's the kind of song that can inspire you to feel tremendously hopeful and sad at the same time. So beautiful. So worth multiple listens.

"When Will My Life Begin?" from Tangled

When I first heard "When Will My Life Begin?," I thought I'd found some defective version of the song. It ends in an inconclusive way, making it seem like there is a chorus or a verse coming up to fill the gap in your soul that Mandy Moore's trailing voice leaves you with. It's the perfect example of how music can really tell an emotional story, this time about a young girl who is dreaming and who has to wipe those dreams away much like the song fades, to be re-had once she is in the privacy of her own solitude. Rapunzel is a very interesting character who, even with a peppy song like "When Will My Life Begin?," expresses a really fascinating message about hopefulness.

"Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog

There's a line from another song in The Princess and the Frog called "Dig a Little Deeper" that is one of the best quotes of any song I've ever heard. Mama Odie sings, "You your daddy's daughter, what he had in him you got in you." In "Almost There," our main character Tiana makes a similar claim for herself when she plans out her rise to notoriety as the proprietor of the best restaurant in New Orleans. It's such an uplifting song, not only through its melody and lyrics, but also through the message it sends to young girls that (alert for triteness) once you set your mind to something, you can achieve it.

"Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid

Finally, we come upon one of my favorite childhood animated films that coincided with my love of Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but also probably preceded it by a few years. The Little Mermaid was the 1989 return of Disney Animation that ushered in a golden age with a beautiful melody sung by a red-haired heroine with giant blue eyes. In my opinion, "Part of Your World" marked the beginning of a new era not only in Disney Animation, but in Disney music and in the Disney message. Disney's The Little Mermaid is, after all, not just a story about a girl who goes from having fins to legs, but rather about her journey of heartbreak, self-discovery and eventually happiness.

I realize that the heroines' songs are some of the most famous in all of the collective Disney songbook, but to start off this new series of "I'm-so-busy-that-I-can't-think-of-what-to-write" blog posts, I thought I'd take a simple route. In the future you may see some more creative, revolutionary categories of Disney Sing-Alongs.

Hopefully this is an opportunity for you to, despite my laziness, enjoy a really beautiful few minutes of listening to classic Disney music that you may have forgotten over the years. For me, listening and watching these films and these songs is one of the greatest joys and most uplifting experiences of life. Maybe you can find that same happiness too.

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