Thursday, July 07, 2016

Ultimate Disney Song Bracket - 1990s Region


We've arrived at the 1990s Region, a.k.a. "The Group of Death." Originally when I laid out this bracket, the plan was to do a '60s/'70s region and an '80s/'90s region, but there were just too many good songs in the '80s/'90s region when broken out that way. I mean, just look at what's left below, and imagine adding in all the songs from "The Little Mermaid" (plus any other good choices from '80s Disney movies). Even as it stands, this is going to be a bloodbath. Some really good songs are going down in the first round. I apologize if one of them is your favorite.

On to the matchups...

"A Whole New World" (from "Aladdin")


vs.

"Out There" (from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame")


There's really no point spending a ton of time breaking down this matchup, because "A Whole New World" is a serious contender to win this entire thing. This is going to be a blowout. But one of the benefits of breaking "The Little Mermaid" out into the other region was that I was able to sneak "Out There" into this bracket at all. It's a hauntingly beautiful song, and really one of the better "I Want" songs in the Disney canon (even if Quasimodo isn't exactly a princess).





"Gaston" (from "Beauty and the Beast")


vs.

"I Just Can't Wait to be King" (from "The Lion King")


These might be the two most egocentric songs in the entire bracket. Young Simba is a cocky little shit, and Gaston is just a douchebag, and yet something about both of these songs makes you kind of like the characters. It's mostly that they're both delivered with such confidence, and they're both so much fun to sing along to. Both of these songs deserve to move on to the second round, but only one of them can.





"Circle of Life" (from "The Lion King")


vs.

"Reflection" (from "Mulan")


I have to be honest, I wasn't quite sure which song from Mulan to put in the bracket, and it ended up coming down to a coin flip between this one and "I'll Make a Man Out of You". I probably should have taken it more seriously, but either way the coin-flip winner was gonna get routed by "Circle of Life." But lemme at least say something about "Reflection": it was a breakout hit for Christina Aguilera, but I really like the Lea Salonga version from the movie itself more. Do I like it as much as "Circle of Life"? No, of course not. Don't be stupid.





"Be Our Guest" (from "Beauty and the Beast)


vs.

"One Jump Ahead" (from "Aladdin")


How did I make this a first-round matchup? I hate me. OK, so "Be Our Guest" is a brilliant piece of song-writing, but even more so it's an epic animated scene. "One Jump Ahead" is the song that makes it clear that Aladdin is the actual princess of "Aladdin" -- he's the one who gets the "I Want" song. I expect this to be one of the closest votes of the entire bracket.





"Friend Like Me" (from "Aladdin")


vs.

"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (from "The Lion King")


At first glance, this seems like a really close matchup, but here's the thing: the actual movie version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" isn't that great. Yes, the Elton John version is amazing, but the song from the scene in the movie is kind of cheesy. Whereas "Friend Like Me" is the absolute perfect introduction to Genie. If you want to vote for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to support the soundtrack version, that's perfectly fine. In fact, I fully expect plenty of people to do that. But I know which song I'd vote for.





"Belle" (from "Beauty and the Beast")


vs.

"Zero to Hero" (from "Hercules")


When I first unveiled the field for this bracket, I got more flak over including "Zero to Hero" than any other song (though "Reflection" was close). I recognize that there are a lot of other good songs from "Hercules", but this one is my personal favorite. And the Ariana Grande cover on the "We Love Disney" compilation is amazing. But even with the power of Ariana, it's hard to see this song beating "Belle", which is probably the most Broadway musical style song from any of the post-Disney Renaissance movies.





"Hakuna Matata" (from "The Lion King")


vs.

"Prince Ali" (from "Aladdin")


I mentioned in the last region that "Hakuna Matata" is really just a pale imitation of "The Bare Necessities", but that doesn't make it a bad song. In fact, it's a really good song. There are far worse songs to imitate. It definitely draws a tough matchup, though, against "Prince Ali", which is such a great introduction to the royal version of Aladdin. Robin Williams just owns the song from start to finish, as he does with everything in the movie.





"Beauty and the Beast" (from "Beauty and the Beast")


vs.

"Colors of the Wind" (from "Pocahontas")


"Beauty and the Beast" was the song that began the tradition of having a pop version of the movie's main song, and as good as the CĂ©line Dion and Peabo Bryson version is, it's the Angela Lansbury version that really has the heart. There's a reason it won Best Original Song at the Oscars. "Colors of the Wind" -- another song that had a movie and pop version -- certainly is good enough, but doesn't remotely hold up to "Beauty and the Beast". This should be a blowout.

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