Sunday, April 29, 2012

Disney Sing-Alongs: Rain Edition

It's cool outside and there's a steady rain grazing my window. It leaves behind little dots of reflective water. A touch of translucent coloring is all I need to feel content after a long day.

Such is the life of a college student - to find small pleasures that make the larger pains more bearable. On occasion, just the sound of the droplets hitting my window is enough to keep me intoxicated with the thought of the cold outside and the warmth under my covers. Other times, I'm just not able to sit in the relative silence of a room where the only sound to be heard is the light tap-tap of water.

So I turn, like most people who are uniquely silly and infantile, to Disney music. It removes all sense of quiet from a room, even when it's played at the softest decibel.

One of the best experiences in the world is walking around in the rain with an umbrella and an iPod playlist specifically for a dark cloudy day. I have songs that fit every mood or occasion, but the ones I most enjoy are those on my rain playlist.

Today I'll share with you the Disney music off my rain playlist. And since, in Chicago at least, the forecast has us expecting at least a few days of rain this week, maybe it's time that everyone makes their own rainlist, Disney or not.

"The Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan

There's something about the music from Peter Pan. It may not be all that interesting musically - I don't go around singing "Following the Leader" very often - but it has a lot of heart and spirit to it. It also reminds me of London. When I'm walking around on a foggy afternoon, the song from the opening credits of this film transports me to another place where the world is engulfed by stars and we're floating among them rather than staring up at them from the ground. It's a beautiful, romantic melody that I love.

"Fathoms Below / Opening Titles" from The Little Mermaid

Disregarding the part of the film in which Eric's ship gets caught in a thunderstorm and our lovely prince ends up being knocked out and having to be saved and brought to shore by Ariel the mermaid, this is an idyllic set of pieces that put me in the mood to not only stand out in pouring rain, but go under water too. The Little Mermaid has such an organic, misty feeling to it - if that makes any sense. The "Opening Titles" sequence especially is something unbelievably soothing.

"Heaven's Light" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

If you stop the CD before "Hellfire" comes on, then the feeling of listening to this wonderful tune will never be lost. It bothers me a bit that the two are linked together. I understand the dichotomy, but "Heaven's Light" as a stand-alone song is one of the best Disney melodies of all time. It's heartbreaking and beautiful and like the image the movie gives you, it makes you feel like you're surrounded by blueness. Literal blueness. The scene is blue and inside you are blue. If that doesn't make sense, then pardon me because I can think of no better way to describe the emotions this song conjures up.

"When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2

I don't know that this is exactly a rain song in the common understanding of the phrase. But luckily there is no real common sense in the phrase since I just came up with it a few minutes ago. "When She Loved Me" has the melancholy sadness of a ballad with the yearning hopefulness of a "wishing song" (as I like to call it). On a gloomy day, the feeling of uplift isn't exactly pertinent. Try listening to the Beach Boys and you can't help but shake the feeling that something is wrong. But depressing yourself isn't a goal either. A song like "When She Loved Me" is somewhere in the middle - creating feelings of warmth and love, but stealing them away like the rain. It's a gorgeous sentiment.

"Ma Belle Evangeline" from The Princess and the Frog

I realize now that many of my song choices for this sing-along involve nighttime. I guess when I re-examine the idea of rain for me, it really goes hand in hand with evening. The feeling of night is one of mystery and cool comfort. Nighttime is when you get to enjoy the company of your friends and loved ones. It's when people go out on dates. It's when you can watch fireworks at Disneyland. It's when the streetlamps turn on and suddenly the world is filled with a warm glow.

"Ma Belle Evangeline" is a song that makes you feel the warmth of love and the coolness of night. It's such a heartfelt song, and a beautifully constructed scene in the film. Nothing more needs to be said, really.

I love walking down the street and listening to music as the rain coats my shoes with droplets and leaves my feet feeling slightly damp. It doesn't sound like the best experience, but in a way it is. To characterize it in music is a way to preserve the physical feeling even when it's not there.

So as it rains today, maybe tomorrow, maybe later this week, I'm going to enjoy the sound of my songs in my mind (or on my iPod) and the rain on my feet. In some fashion the feeling and the music are inextricably linked.

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