Top 20 Most Underrated Disney Songs Ever

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Top 20 Most Underrated Disney Songs Ever

VOICE OVER: Emily - WatchMojo WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These underrated Disney songs deserve so much more love. Our countdown includes "Lady and the Tramp," "The Princess and the Frog," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and more!
Transcript
Script written by Nick Spake

Top 20 Underrated Disney Songs


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Underrated Disney Songs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at tunes from animated Disney films that have yet to get their due.

Which Disney song do you think deserves more love? Let us know in the comments.

#20: “He’s a Tramp”
“Lady and the Tramp” (1955)


Singer Peggy Lee lent her voice to a few characters in this classic, including Darling. It’s a stray Pekingese named Peg, however, that showcases Lee’s signature sassy vocals. Lee plays Peg with the attitude of a retired stage performer who’s been around the block. As Lady learns through Peg’s song, the Tramp has also been around the block with numerous dames. Despite painting him as a ladykiller, Peg can’t deny that even she has a thing for the Tramp. With the other dogs barking backup, the pound transforms into a jazz club that’ll have you tapping your feet along. Having such an iconic singer behind it, you’d think that “He’s a Tramp” would get more attention. It’s about time somebody threw it a bone.

#19: “All in the Golden Afternoon”
“Alice in Wonderland” (1951)


This song gets its title from the preface poem in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Bob Hilliard’s lyrics are mostly original, however, while Sammy Fain’s melody brings out the tranquil sentiment of springtime. Performed by an ensemble of flowers, this lovely tune makes you want to take a nap under a tall tree… kind of like Alice. It’s wall-to-wall with colorful, creative imagery, giving each flower a distinctive look, personality, and voice. “Alice in Wonderland” is certainly among the zanier Disney films. While this number maintains that zany edge, it’s also one of the movie’s most relaxing moments, letting Alice take a breather from the madness. Maybe that’s why it’s often overlooked, but we encourage you to stop and smell the roses on your next rewatch.

#18: “Frozen Heart”
“Frozen” (2013)


“Frozen” has taken the world by storm with its music, particularly the Oscar-winning “Let It Go.” Yet, even the most popular musicals can have their underrated tunes. In the case of “Frozen,” it’s undoubtedly this opening number. Echoing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and “Fathoms Below,” “Frozen Heart” makes the audience feel the cold bearing down on the ice harvesters as they go to work. The song’s beat is only made catchier by the sound of the ice being broken, matching the macho melody. Listening closely to the lyrics, you’ll also find that the song foreshadows several plot points, most notably the frozen heart that Anna receives from Elsa and how to break the spell. It’s songwriting and storytelling perfectly synced up.

#17: “Thomas O’Malley Cat”
“The Aristocats” (1970)


If you want to learn how to make an entrance, take a cue from Thomas. Effortlessly cool, Thomas struts into the lives of Duchess and her kittens by singing the first a capella verse about how he likes his meals. As he gets closer to Duchess, a big band comes in, giving the song a full, swing time feel of the 1950s to it. Thomas slinks around as he croons about his reputation around Europe for being a fun-loving, go with the flow kind of cat. His confidence makes it easy to buy what he’s selling; who wouldn’t want to be a cat if all the felines are as cool as Thomas? This kitty surely deserves to be more popular.

#16: “Just Around the Riverbend”
“Pocahontas” (1995)


“Just Around the Riverbend” is in the tradition of “Part of Your World” from “The Little Mermaid” and “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast.” For whatever reason, however, it’s yet to gain the same levels of acclaim as those “I Want” songs. This invigorating tune captures Pocahontas’ unquenchable thirst for adventure, as well as the thrill of paddling down an untamable river. The song also possesses an alluring sense of mystery, boldly following our heroine into the unknown. Pocahontas doesn’t know what waits around the Riverbend, but she’s eager to find out. She’d rather take her chances exploring an uncharted path than settle for the steady route. This film is largely about getting in touch with nature and the river reflects Pocahontas’ desire for more.

#15: “Ma Belle Evangeline”
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009)


You can see how this movie’s setting inspired its soundtrack. “When We’re Human” matches the jazzy energy of Mardi Gras and the gospel “Dig a Little Deeper” brings out that New Orleans soul. “Ma Belle Evangeline” is the kind of song you’d want to experience with a loved one on a New Orleans evening, especially if dancing is involved. As Ray serenades the only star in his eyes, Prince Naveen asks Tiana to share a dance. Although hesitant at first, Tiana is surprisingly good on her frog feet and Naveen ain’t half bad either. Whether it’s played in a ballroom or down by the bayou, this swoony-worthy song never fails to make one’s heart flutter. It’s definitely among Disney’s most soothing - and most underappreciated - love ballads.

#14: “Oo-De-Lally”
“Robin Hood” (1973)


Since it was released in 1973, it makes sense that younger audiences wouldn’t know this one - but boy, that’s a shame! Sung by honky-tonk country hero, Roger Miller, this short ballad pretty much sums up the friendship and adventures of Robin Hood and his right-hand man, Little John. The song is cute and upbeat, but still has that lethargic, lazy day summer-feel to it even though it’s about their escape from death. They’re never in grave danger, but there’s still a sense of relief by the song’s final chord. The ditty is simple yet sophisticated, and would make for a fun tune to whistle. Plus, we should all put “oo-de-lally” in our vocab.

#13: “He Lives in You”
“The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride” (1998)


Being a straight-to-video release, “The Lion King II” has understandably been eclipsed by its theatrical predecessor. Even so, this sequel still had a few songs well worthy of “The Lion King” name, one of which made its debut in the Tony-winning stage musical. “He Lives in You” kicks off this sequel on an atmospheric note, engrossing the audience back in the Pride Lands. Although the imagery mirrors the first film’s opening, “He Lives in You” never comes off as a “Circle of Life” retread. The melody and lyrics have a more spiritual essence as Mufasa looks down upon Simba and his cub, Kiara. Uniting three generations of lions, the song conveys the bonds that connect family even in death and the legacies that live on.

#12: “Streets of Gold”
“Oliver & Company” (1988)


Based on the Charles Dickens classic, “Oliver Twist,” this flick gave the novel a 1980s modernization by following orphaned kitten Oliver as he falls into a group of feisty dogs while living on the streets of New York. This tune embodies that jazzy, pop sound of the decade with Rita the Afghan hound, whose singing was done by Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters fame, using her powerful voice to explain to Oliver how to make it on the streets. Even though she’s doling out hard advice about living from week to week, the song is upbeat and hard not to bop your head to. Whereas “Why Should I Worry” at least got a Golden Globe nomination, “Streets of Gold” is another story. The movie has lost popularity over time, but a song like this shouldn’t go to waste.

#11: “Shiny”
“Moana” (2016)


When people think of villain songs, dark shadows and intimidating figures typically pop into their heads. While this tune does possess those elements, it has a comedic edge and a few surreal twists. That might be partially why it’s not as iconic as some other villain songs, but it’s among Disney’s most unique. As Moana and Maui infiltrate his turf, Tamatoa the giant coconut crab basks in his rich body of treasures. Voice actor Jemaine Clement and the songwriting team were heavily influenced by the late David Bowie. “Shiny” taps into Bowie’s eccentric energy, distinct delivery, and stylish flair, resulting in one of the most fun villain songs since “Magic Dance.” It may be underrated, but few Disney songs shine brighter than this one.

#10: “Human Again”
“Beauty and the Beast” (1991)


If you only saw the original theatrical release of the film, then it’s understandable if you don’t know this gem of a tune. Originally conceived as an 11-minute number, “Human Again” had filmmakers on the fence about its inclusion, as they felt its length contributed to pacing issues. But luckily for us, by the time the re-mastered 2002 version came out on DVD, the team figured out how to cut down the playful waltz and fit it in the movie. A great expression of the longing of the secondary characters to be human again, it was ultimately included between “Something There” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Prior to the home video appearance, it was featured in the 1994 Broadway musical adaptation.

#9: “God Help the Outcasts”
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)


“God Help the Outcasts” is a different kind of “I Want” song. It’s not about Esmeralda’s personal goals per se, but her desire to see outcasts everywhere treated with compassion and acceptance. The song is essentially a prayer, which is fitting given its religious setting. Even if you’re not the most spiritual person, the message at the song’s core is one that we should all take to heart. It’s a haunting yet hopeful ballad that overflows with humanity. Although journalists like Janet Maslin and Howard Cohen thought it would be a strong contender for Oscar consideration, the song went overlooked by the Academy and has yet to get its day in the sun. Until that day comes, we’ll continue to sing its praises.

#8: “Mother Knows Best”
“Tangled” (2010)


Similar to Judge Claude Frollo, Mother Gothel imprisons our heroine under the guise of a caring parental figure. Where Frollo never shies away from his stern nature, however, Gothel tries to present herself as a warm, loving mother. Her maternal manner of speaking and singing is hilariously constructed by this song’s lyrics, which delve into the many dangers of the world while taking several shots at Rapunzel. It isn’t until the reprise that Gothel’s tone matches the song’s dark overtones. “Mother Knows Best” works as a comedic song, a villain song, and a Broadway-esque show tune with singer Donna Murphy masterfully juggling every note. Of all the underrated songs in the “Tangled” franchise, we just might love this one most.

#7: “One Jump Ahead”
“Aladdin” (1992)


While the movie as a whole and songs like “A Whole New World” definitely aren’t underrated, this tune tends to get lost in the shuffle, which is a bigger crime than any Aladdin ever committed. A show tune at its core, “One Jump Ahead” is a frantically paced ditty that matches Aladdin’s crazy life surviving on the streets of Agrabah. The song’s slowed down reprise comes early in the film, and at one minute long, does an excellent job of conveying Aladdin’s desire for a better life. Both the full-length version and the reprise are relatable since we’ve all felt like underdogs in life, so this song truly deserves more credit.

#6: “I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme)”
“Treasure Planet” (2002)


Since it isn’t a musical, “Treasure Planet” might not be the first movie that comes to mind when you think about underrated Disney songs. While the characters don’t break out into song, this pop single did elevate a crucial sequence from the film. Through a montage, we see the parental bond growing between Jim Hawkins and John Silver. At the same time, we see glimpses of Jim’s absentee father, who ultimately ran out on him and his mother without even bidding a proper farewell. Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik supplies a distinctive post-grunge sound, which may be an acquired taste for some. However, “I’m Still Here” successfully gets to the root of Hawkins’ teenage angst, fear of abandonment, and longing for a father figure.

#5: “Son of Man”
“Tarzan” (1999)


Phil Collins outdid himself with this soundtrack, with songs like “You’ll Be in My Heart” and “Strangers Like Me” becoming breakout hits. But this one is just as good! The African-inspired tune describes Tarzan’s journey from boy to man as he grows up in the jungle, gaining wisdom and strength along the way. The song describes Tarzan’s status as an orphan, allowing the audience to learn the key facts of Tarzan’s life, while keeping an up-tempo, optimistic feel to it. It’s also a fun number with an important message about keeping your head up in times of struggle.

#4: “Almost There”
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009)


It’s strange that an Oscar-nominated song could be considered underrated, but tell us: do you know all the words to this one? Exactly. Written by supremely talented composer Randy Newman and sung by Anika Noni Rose, this tune deserves to be a breakout hit. In the jazzy, up-tempo song, Tiana sings about how she’s almost made her dream of opening her own restaurant come true. She’s self-assured and confident, and proves that she’s a woman who can fulfill her own dreams and desires. Her belief in herself is contagious as she convinces her mother that she knows what she wants. Who wouldn’t want their kids to know such an empowering song?

#3: “The Gospel Truth / Main Title”
“Hercules” (1997)


The whole “Hercules” soundtrack is pure gold, but this song deserves more recognition than it’s received over the years. Heard right after the opening credits, the tune sees the Muses interrupt the film’s dry, male narrator to sum up ancient Greek history in less than two minutes. With “The Gospel Truth,” the Muses bring a needed dose of funk, soul, and sass and let us know that this isn’t your typical Greek tragedy. This song also sets the tone for the movie, making way for comedic songs like “One Last Hope” later. But The Muses are the original divas and we should all listen up when they have something to say, especially when Meg is conflicted about her for Hercules.

#2: "I 2 I"
“A Goofy Movie” (1995)


Sung by popular 1990s R&B singer Tevin Campbell, who also portrays the pop star Powerline in “A Goofy Movie,” there’s no denying that the musical chops on this song are top-notch. This could easily be a throwback jam if people would let it! The tune comes at the film’s climax when Goofy and Max reconcile after they realize they can get along despite their differences. The duo ends up on stage with Powerline, where they rock out to this funky tune. It has a powerful message about how love allows us all to come to an understanding and see things eye to eye. This one could come in handy when we need a little reminder about love and cooperation.

#1: “Out There”
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)


As one of Disney’s darker and more mature animated features, it’s about time that this whole film and its soundtrack underwent a resurgence in popularity. Gems like this one and “Topsy Turvy” are musically complex, both in subject matter and composition, with full orchestral movements and heartbreaking lyrics. “Out There” may start out dark with Claude Frollo shaming Quasimodo. But as soon as the Judge leaves the titular character alone, Quasimodo turns the song into a joyous, hopeful tune about making it “out there” and finding his place in the world. His voice matches the beauty of his soul and even though his situation is heartbreaking, the titular hunchback is not downtrodden. We owe it to Quasimodo not to forget his story or this song!
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