Top 20 Disney Songs of the 21st Century

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Top 20 Disney Songs of the 21st Century

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Taryn Crankshaw
We're still listening to the best Disney songs of the 21st century. Our countdown includes "Tangled," "Moana," "Mary Poppins Returns," and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Disney Songs of the 21st Century 2000-21


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Disney Songs of the 21st Century.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best melodies that have come from mouse house from the year 2000 on. So, although Zenon is a girl of the 21st Century, her 1999 movie and its catchy “Supernova Girl” tune are ineligible for our list. Since some of these songs happen at major plot points, a spoiler warning is in effect.

What’s your favorite Disney tune of the century? Let us know in the comments below.

#20: “Someday”
“Z-O-M-B-I-E-S” (2018)


Cheerleaders, zombies and pep rallies, oh my! In this Disney Channel Original movie, human and zombie teens must learn to coexist after they both enter into the same preppy suburban high school. Leads Zed and Addison end up falling in love during this collision of two worlds. During their “Someday” duet, they imagine a time where all of their friends can get along. The movie and its sequel also offer up great jams like “Fired Up” and “Flesh & Bone”. However, “Someday”’s important messages bout love, equality and acceptance earns it special recognition.

#19: “Cruisin’ For a Bruisin'”
“Teen Beach Movie” (2013)


Nearly 60 years ago, cinema was hit by a wave of movies known as “beach party films”. In 2013, Disney paid homage to that time with “Teen Beach Movie”. The film-within-a-film follows a pair of surfers who are transported into a beach musical known as “Wet Side Story”. During one of the film’s most high energy numbers, leather and beehives take centre stage as a pack of Greasers sing about rebellion, rock n’ roll and fast cars. It’s a rockabilly “Grease” inspired fever dream that is pure nostalgia and perfectly captures this bygone era.

#18: “Cheetah Sisters”
“The Cheetah Girls” (2003)


“The Cheetah Girls” is a perfect snapshot of the early 2000s, a time when velour tracksuits and sugary and sweet pop music reigned. This famous girl band featured Raven-Symoné, Adrienne Houston, Kiely Williams and Sabrina Bryan. Soon after the first film debuted, songs like “Cinderella” and “Girl Power”, became fan favorites. But if there’s one song that captures what the girl group is all about, it’s “Cheetah Sisters''. The group sings about their unbreakable bond with powerful vocals and lyrics. While their “spots” may be “different colours”, they’ll never stop seeing each other as family.

#17: “Show Yourself”
“Frozen II” (2019)


After “Frozen” became a mega hit in 2013, it seemed only natural that it would receive a sequel. This time around, Elsa embarks on an adventure to discover the source of a mysterious euphonious voice that keeps calling to her while finding out who she is along the way. “Show Yourself” portrays her plea to find out who the disembodied vocals belong to. Other songs like the technically challenging “Into the Unknown”, are definitely masterpieces too. But “Show Yourself” is a song fueled by heartfelt emotions that resonate with many of us. It’s a shining example of how and why the “Frozen” franchise is a force of nature.

#16: “You Are The Music In Me”
“High School Musical 2” (2007)


In 2006, “High School Musical” took the world by storm and introduced a generation to the wonderful world of musical theatre. Fans were reunited with characters like Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez in “High School Musical 2” only a year later. While preparing for the country club’s talent show, Troy and Gabriella sing “You Are The Music In Me” for the first time. The sweet and catchy duet that plays off of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens' undeniable chemistry. This tune reminds us of the feelings of excitement and joy that come with a budding romance. After this memorable duet, Troy and Gabriella gave us another great love song with “Can I Have This Dance” in “High School Musical 3”.

#15: “A Cover Is Not the Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns” (2018)


When it was announced that Disney was producing a sequel to the beloved childhood classic “Mary Poppins” with Emily Blunt assuming the titular role, expectations were high. The film went on to blow us all away during Christmas in 2018. Adults and kids were treated to a sentimental and whimsical experience thanks to songs like “A Cover Is Not the Book”. A seamless blend of live action and animation, the song is a masterclass in witty lyrics and storytelling. Musical wordsmith Lin-Manuel Miranda and a pitch perfect Emily Blunt put on a dazzling show that leaps off the screen during this number. This colorful song instantly brightens up our day every time we listen to it.

#14: “Rotten To The Core”
“Descendants” (2015)


Since its premiere in 2015, “Descendants” has quickly become one of the Disney Channel’s most recognizable franchises. The first film follows the adolescent offspring of Disney’s most heinous villains including Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella de Vil and The Evil Queen. This band of misfits causes mischief and mayhem and dance through a crowded market in this opening number. Employing electronic beats and infectious lyrics, “Rotten to the Core” helps introduce the audience to the scoundrels and helps establish their certified wickedness. This song set the stage for later hits like “Descendants 3’s” “Queen of Mean”. Both of these villainous anthems helped bring the spirits of classic Disney villains into the 21st century.

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


Some of the best songs in the Disney canon are without a doubt villain songs. Ballads like “Be Prepared” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, are memorable for how sinister they are. But Mother Gothel’s “Mother Knows Best” from “Tangled” takes a different approach. Performed by two time Tony Winner Donna Murphy, the song is uptempo and features a light, playful melody. Gothel uses the song to conjure up fear and doubt in Rapunzel. As she lists off all the evils of the world, the princess is encouraged to say inside. The song subverts audience expectations of what a villain’s signature song is supposed to sound like while providing great comedic beats.

#12: “Strut”
“The Cheetah Girls 2” (2006)


In “The Cheetah Girls” sequel, the band goes international by taking off to Spain to participate in a music festival. The soundtrack is full of hits like “Amigas Cheetahs”. As great as that song is, “Strut” steals the show. It starts off slow before becoming an energetic and upbeat song that is full of confidence boosting lyrics. The girls dance, spin and explore Barcelona while we fall in love with this lively tune. It also features some great vocals from Peter Vives. After listening to this song a couple times, we were ready to strut our way right over to the Catalonia region.

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


When Disney apadated the fairy tale “The Princess and The Frog”, the world was introduced to one of the greatest female leads in the studios canon: Tiana. During this big number, the aspiring New Orleans restaurateur imagines the possibilities that await her. She’s full of excitement, emotion and optimism as she sings about being on the precipice of making her dreams come true. Of course, things don’t go totally according to plan. Especially since the evil Dr. Facilier is around to brew trouble and give us memorable songs like “Friends On The Other Side”. Fortunately, Tony Winner Anika Noni Rose performs the vocals of “Almost There” with such conviction that there is no doubting that Tiana will achieve her dreams.

#10: “Chillin’ Like A Villain”
“Descendants 2” (2017)


The “Descendants” never fail to make being bad look so good. In the franchise’s second film, Evie is tasked with helping King Ben learn her and her friend’s evil ways. She naturally teaches him through song and dance. What results is an infectious little number that is all about unapologetically breaking rules, tapping into your evil side and looking effortlessly cool while doing so. You could call Evie’s training methods a little unconventional. However, it did seem to bring the best and the worst in Ben. By the time the song is done, he’s proven himself to be quite the pickpocket and a pretty decent dancer.

#9: “Determinate”
“Lemonade Mouth” (2011)


Sometimes, the best ideas are found in the most unexpected places. This Disney channel original movie chronicles the formation of a high school band after the group meets during detention. Encouraged by their teacher to enter into a contest, the band tests things out during their school’s Halloween Bash. Their song starts off slow but blasts into a dizzying display of electronic pop and dance inducing rhythms. As the band performs for an audience of costume contest hopefuls, it becomes clear that the song is livening up the party and setting the mood of one great night. Even the most jaded listener will long for those awkward but fun school dances after hearing “Determinate”.

#8: “This Is Me”
“Camp Rock” (2008)


Out of the many Disney Channel original films, “Camp Rock” boasts one of the most memorable soundtracks. Full of rock and pop inspired hits, every song is a certified jam. The “Gotta Find You” number hits particularly high notes. After listening to a number of fun tracks, protagonist Mitchie Torres takes center stage with the most moving song of them all. She reveals her true authentic self to the entire music camp with “This Is Me”. The song is a great way to conclude Mitchie’s arc and let Demi Lovato show off her powerhouse vocals. She gifted us with her talents again to give us noteworthy tunes like “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” in the sequel.

#7: “That’s How You Know”
“Enchanted” (2007)


“Enchanted” takes the tropes of classic animated musicals and turns them upside down. At the same time, it earnestly plays homage to its roots with songs like “True Love’s Kiss”. One if it's best musical numbers is unquestionably the Oscar nominated “That’s How You Know”. Amy Adams leads a song that features a steelband, plenty of backup vocals and lots of infectious energy. Within the movie, she encourages ordinary residents in Central Park to join her in the big show stopping number. Even the most jaded of moviegoers can’t help but be completely won over by Giselle’s over the top celebration of love and romance.

#6: “We’re All In This Together”
“High School Musical” (2006)


There’s no denying the iconic nature of “Start of Something New”. And we all know the lyrics to “Breaking Free” by now. After we hear these classic“High School Musical” hits, East High students gather to stomp, clap and sing along to “We’re All In This Together”. They set aside egos, competition and rivalries for a tune about working in tandem to make everyone’s dreams come true. It was great to hear everyone from aspiring scientists to basketball players sing on this upbeat track. Featuring memorable and unforgettable lyrics, this song was an extremely satisfying way to cap off the start of a pop culture phenomenon.

#5: “What Dreams Are Made Of”
“The Lizzie McGuire Movie” (2003)


Before Lizzie McGuire ended, all the stops were pulled out to give the beloved series its own movie. In the film, Lizzie and her BFF Gordo venture to Italy with their middle school classmates. The young fashionista finds herself in a messy situation when she is persuaded to pretend to be a renown Italian singer named Isabella Parigi. Fortunately, everything works out and she gets to perform this epic duet with her famous doppelganger. “What Dreams Are Made Of” is an empowering song that makes you feel like you accomplish anything. And it appears just as protagonist Lizzie overcame all her challenges too. We’re grateful that she traveled to Italy to give us this dreamy tune.

#4: “The Climb”
“Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009)


With a soundtrack featuring songs by a variety of big musical names like Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, “Hannah Montana: The Movie” is full of great country and pop jams. But the one song that’s the most synonymous with the 2009 film is “The Climb”. The song’s all about pushing forward to that goal that’s just within reach. Written by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe, this song’s popularity proved Miley Cyrus would keep topping the charts after she stepped away from Hannah Montana. Full of metaphorical and hopeful lyrics, this Grammy nominated song has become an anthem of strength and resilience.

#3: “Remember Me”
“Coco” (2017)


In 2017, Pixar’s “Coco” tugged at our heart strings every time the main character picked up his guitar. The story follows a young boy named Miguel who goes on an unintentional journey to the Land of the Dead and learns important lessons about family in the process. While we hear plenty of great songs during his journey, the Oscar winning “Remember Me” stands out most. Although it’s fun as a lively ballad, it hits hardest when it's slowed down and sung without any extra bells or whistles. The lyrics paint a simple yet poetic portrait of longing and love that digs deep. This tender song has the power to turn on the waterworks and comfort listeners like a warm blanket.

#2: “How Far I’ll Go”
“Moana” (2016)


“Moana’s” a movie about a young Ocean bound adventurer attempting to save her island and people from a grim fate. The multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina made sure her brave journey was full of fantastic songs. Maui’s “You’re Welcome” was ridiculously catchy. And the wondrous “Shiny” still leaves us in awe. At the end of the day, Auli’i Cravalho commanded most of our attention with the stunning “How Far I’ll Go.” The song’s rich and empowering lyrics are a call to action and adventure. It’s a tune that uplifts you, encourages you to shed your doubts and to live life as courageously and boldly as Moana does.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Man Or Muppet”, “The Muppets” (2011)
Oscar Nominated for Best Original Song

“Push It To The Limit”, “Jump In” (2007)
A Fun & Energetic but Underrated Gem

“Speechless (Part 2)”, “Aladdin” (2019)
Jasmine Finally Gets Her Own Signature Song

“Evermore”, “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)
An Original Song from the Live Action Remake Soundtrack

“Try Everything”, “Zootopia” (2016)
A Fun Song With An Important Message

#1: “Let It Go”
“Frozen” (2013)


Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez certainly know how to produce hits. Honestly, we never thought we’d love a song about building a snowman until they worked on “Frozen”. But we think this dynamic duo will be most remembered for “Let It Go”. Tony Award Winner Idina Menzel lends her vocals to Elsa for this emotional and powerful song. Her incredible talents ensured this tune would be a show-stopping, jaw-dropping and standing ovation worthy movie moment. Even if you didn't see the film, there’s a pretty good chance you heard his song playing on the radio shortly after it came out. This Grammy and Oscar award winning tune took the world by storm. It still stands as Disney’s most iconic song of the century.
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