Sunday, May 25, 2014

Love Is a Song: The Everlasting Power of Disney Songs

by Sam Vlas

I think I speak for many of you, dear readers, when I say that the songs of Disney are a great, big, beautiful part of the soundtrack of our childhood. Like smells, music is capable of letting memories resurface almost instantly. I often wondered what it is about the songs of Disney that captivates literally billions of people around the world. Continue after the page break and follow the leader in this musical mystery…

Music is an integral part of many people’s lives. It can make you feel happy or sad, scared or comfortable, or heroic and powerful. It conveys many emotions and we just simply can’t live without it. Disney has perfected the art of storytelling through music; from its very beginnings in “Steamboat Willie” all the way through the latest hit “Frozen”. But why? Why do we all love this music so much? What is that determining factor?

Over the years Disney has had some amazing songwriters, composers and dramatists who understood the art of music very well. The first real Disney songwriters were people like Frank Churchill, Oliver Wallace, Ned Washington and Paul Smith. Then came Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman in the 1950’s through the 1970’s, making up a significant part of the Disney Songbook. The 1980’s and 1990’s was the era of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Randy Newman, Elton John and Tim Rice and Phil Collins, and lately we have seen the addition of the Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to the Disney music legacy. And even in the Disney theme parks we have seen great composers like George Bruns, Buddy Baker and X. Atencio.


We all have our favorite songs and chances are very likely that they came from one of these people; songs that found their way into our own lives. Songs that we can sing, or whistle, or hum, at almost every moment of the day. For every emotion or every challenge there is, exists a Disney song. I even dare to say that most of your music devices have one or (way) more Disney songs on it.

“Let It Go” is a great example of a recent song that exploded on the internet. The message of the song (don’t hide yourself) resonates with a lot of people. People who feel they have to put on a show for their peers, or family, feeling that they won’t be accepted if they were themselves. I have dealt with this problem when I was in high school; I couldn’t tell anyone that I was a Disney fan, they would find me weird or strange and they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. As strange as it sounds, nowadays I don’t have to worry about that anymore. But in those days they were a few things that would cheer me up… and one of those things were Disney songs. They gave me hope, let me laugh and let all those negative emotions go for a second. It felt great and reassured me things were going to get better. I don’t know if this article is becoming too personal, but that’s my way of illustrating what these songs have meant to me and probably will mean for many people in the future.
I’d like to know what your favorite Disney song is? Elaborate in the comments!
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