Great Original Songs in Animation – A List

I bet you’ve already got a number of songs in your head that could possibly be on this list; Let it Go? You’ve Got a Friend in Me? Maybe even The Fairy Godmother’s Song from Shrek 2?

I’m going to try my best to keep this list as varied as possible but it’s become apparent that there’s going to be a number of Disney entries here as lets be honest, they’re the studio making all of the animated musicals! In this list I’m going to stick to actual songs with lyrics rather than songs from a score and just stick to movies this time as I could give them both a list of their own!

Disclaimer: You’ll probably notice that quite a few of the biggest animated musical hits don’t make this list and that’s because I’m trying to be as varied as possible as everyone already knows how great songs like The Circle of Life and Under The Sea are.

Now, let’s begin!

How Far I’ll Go – Moana (2016)

Whenever I see a new film that has either a musical number or single released for it before the actual films release, I try to avoid hearing it and that’s because I want the first time I hear that song to be in the film! I feel like it tells a story in itself and I tend to listen to the lyrics more – 2016’s Moana was no exception to this. As I’m in the UK, Moana was released a month later here than it was in the US meaning a lot of the songs in the film were floating around online before I had the chance to see it, however I persisted and waited and to me, it really made all the difference! Even before the film had finished I remember watching this scene and hearing this song and immediately knowing that it would be my favourite. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t find myself singing this song.

Composer: Lin Manuel Miranda – Performer: Auli’i Cravalho

Why Should I Worry? – Oliver & Company (1988)

As an animal lover and especially a dog lover, I ended up watching Oliver & Company A LOT as a kid, however one day I stopped and years had passed, now in my 20’s a few years ago I realised that I couldn’t quite remember the plot of Oliver & Company so I re-watched it and as soon as this scene came on, everything came flooding back, even the majority of the lyrics to this song! Which was pretty impressive seeing as I hadn’t seen it in over 10 years or so. Oliver & Company is (in my opinion) is a pretty underrated Disney film so if you’re one of those people that hasn’t seen it, make sure you see it at least once! But use my tip of NOT listening to the song above until you’ve seen it!

Composer:  Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight – Performer: Billy Joel

Journey To The Past – Anastasia (1997)

I won’t lie, I’ve only seen this film once and it was a lot later than 1997. I first heard this song/saw this film I’d say around 4 or 5 years ago and never again for an unknown reason as it really is a good film! My point is, I’ve only seen this film once a good few years ago yet I’ve never forgotten this song! I can’t say I know it word for word but I have the vocal melody memorised after only one viewing, therefore it must be a good song!

Composers:  Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty – Performer: Liz Callaway

Love Will Find a Way – The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998)

We all know that you can’t go wrong with a song from The Lion King and it’s sequel is no exception. The film is also full of amazing songs but none of which are known quite as well as The Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, etc. for obvious reasons. In similar Disney fashion, the voice actors of the main characters differ from their singing voices, you may notice from looking at the composer/performer section of this post that this entry and the previous one have something in common and that is their performer! Liz Callaway provided the singing voice for both Kiara in The Lion King II as well as Anastasia! 

Composer: Tom Snow & Jack Feldman – Performer: Liz Callaway & Gene Miller 

Dancing in the Dark – Home (2015)

Home was slept on by EVERYBODY, I saw it at the cinema and it was a really good effort! It was just ignored by many people, it does however have an amazing soundtrack! The film itself features the voice talents of no other than Rihanna herself as well as Jennifer Lopez and Jim Parsons, with musical royalty like that, you bet that Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez managed to fit one – or in Rihanna’s case 3! songs into this film. I picked Dancing in the Dark as it’s my favourite song out of them all however other amazing tracks in this film include; As Real As You and Me & Towards The Sun by Rihanna and Feel The Light by Jennifer Lopez.

Composer: Various – Performer: Rihanna

Stand Out – A Goofy Movie (1995)

This is a big favourite of many 90’s kids, as shameful as it is I actually didn’t see A Goofy Movie until a few years ago! and again, only once or twice, but let me tell you – this film is FULL of iconic Disney songs that you might not even know yet! Stand Out is my favourite due to it’s chanting chorus. Stand Out and I 2 I  were both written and performed by Tevin Campbell. I can almost guarantee that after hearing this song – even if it’s for the first time! – It’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day! Once again, If you haven’t seen A Goofy Movie and it’s sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie, you’re seriously missing out!

Composer: Patrick DeRemer and Roy Freeland – Performer: Tevin Campbell.

Something That I want – Tangled (2010)

There are a number of amazing songs in Disney’s Tangled and they were all composed by none other than Disney legend; Alan Menken – you can thank him for so many of your favourite Disney film soundtracks from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and more! – As Tangled is one of my favourite Disney films it was difficult to choose just one I somehow settled on one of the only songs NOT composed by Alan Menken and that is Something That I Want which can be found in Tangled’s credits. This song was written and performed by Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. 

Composer/Performer: Grace Potter

Trail We Blaze – The Road To El Dorado (2000)

Did you know that the composers responsible for all of your favourite songs from The Lion King are also responsible for all of the songs in DreamWorks’ Road To El Dorado? and that duo is Elton John and Tim Rice! Yet another underrated animated film, The Road To El Dorado’s soundtrack is almost as catchy as The Lion King’s, however unlike The Lion King and similar to other entries on this list, this song can be heard over a montage of the main characters; Tulio and Miguel trying to find their way to El Dorado. This film is such fun and full of laughs so if you haven’t seen it yet, get to it! You’re only 17 years late!

Composer: Elton John & Tim Rice – Performer: Elton John 

The Hex Girls / Earth, Wind, Fire & Air – Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (1999)

Another childhood favourite that seems to never leave me is the Scooby-Doo franchise, growing up my sisters and I watched the cartoons, the live action films and the animated films – we had a number of them that were released around the same time on dvd that we watched constantly, these films include; Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998), Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (1999), Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000) and Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001). This song was performed by minor characters in Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost and honestly, I don’t exactly remember what the 3 girls did in the film, other than perform this awesome musical number at the end! I should really dig out my Scooby-Doo DVDs.

Composer: Bodie Chandler & Glenn Leopold – Performer: Jennifer Hale, Jane Wiedlin & Kimberly Brooks  

Sticks & Stones – How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Ask any of my friends and they’ll (hopefully) tell you that How To Train Your Dragon is one of my favourite films of all time, it really left such an impression on me! and one of the contributing factors to that is it’s soundtrack. The score was composed by John Powell – my favourite song in the entire film is the score track; Forbidden Friendship but as I mentioned at the start, I’m sticking to songs rather than score in this list so I chose my second favourite song; Sticks & Stones which was written and performed for the film by  Jónsivocalist for the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. This song plays during the credits of the film and has become a bit of a tradition for the How To Train Your Dragon movies as Jónsi returned and wrote another song for How To Train Your Dragon 2, here’s hoping he’ll be able to make me cry again in How To Train Your Dragon 3!

Composer/Performer: Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson

I’m Still Here – Treasure Planet (2002)

Another criminally underrated Disney film is Treasure Planet, although this film now has a big cult following, I don’t think it did very well at the box office. As this film is intended as more of an action adventure flick, the main (and possibly only?) song in this film is played over a montage sequence instead of sung by the characters themselves. I’m Still Here was written and performed by Goo Goo Dolls front man Johnny Rzeznik and can always be heard in my house. I will mention this a lot in this post but SERIOUSLY, if you haven’t seen Treasure Planet, get on it! It never disappoints anyone that I show it to.

Composer/Performer: Johnny Rzeznik 

I Want a Mom That’ll Last Forever – Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000)

ALL ABOARD THE TEAR TRAIN. Did anyone at any age every not come close to tears at this scene? Every time, it causes me to suddenly be very loving towards my mother. This short song was written for the film and performed by Cyndi Lauper. My sister reminded me of this song, it seems that whoever you mention it to always has the same reaction – a reaction as if they had just been punched in the chest, which coincidentally is exactly how it feels when watching this scene.

Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh & Cyndi Lauper – Performer: Cyndi Lauper

God Help The Outcasts – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

I’m never quite sure if The Hunchback of Notre Dame can be considered a underrated Disney film or not – many hardcore Disney fans have seen it and are mostly fans however your average casual fan usually hasn’t ever looked into it and that’s fair enough, this film can can come across pretty serious and dark and honestly, it really is at times! I believe it’s one of Disney’s grittiest films which is strange seeing as it was bought out during the golden reinsurance age of Disney films. The film hasn’t got any really catchy songs like Under The Sea or Reflection but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t great in their own way. God Help The Outcasts is my favourite as it’s full of emotion with hard hitting lyrics whilst still being in the form of a Ballad.

Composer: Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz – Performer:  Heidi Mollenhauer

Get Back Up Again – Trolls (2016)

If you have any younger siblings or even young children yourself, you may be all too familiar with this song. I’m not too sure what has happened of late however there’s been a real spike in the amount of young children who are just getting into DreamWorks’ Trolls, everywhere I go I find children wearing Trolls merchandise or looking at Trolls toys, my two youngest cousins are both really into Trolls at the moment and can both recite this song! I however saw this film on my own accord, I was excited to see Trolls for almost a year before it came out and – like Moana – as soon as this scene played out on screen, I knew it was going to be my favourite song in the entire film. Unlike the other original song written for this film; Can’t Stop The Feeling – written and performed by Justin Timberlake, this song didn’t receive much mainstream success, i’m sure that’s being made up for now what with every young child singing it for you. Speaking of Justin Timberlake, he did produce this song along with almost every song in the movie! This song is performed by the main character; Poppy’s voice actress; Anna Kendrick who we have of course seen show off her musical skills in other films e.g: The Pitch Perfect franchise. I find it pretty impossible to not get happy when hearing this song!

Composer: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – Performer: Anna Kendrick

Strangers Like Me – Tarzan (1999)

It is UNFORGIVABLE to make a list on great movie soundtracks and not mention Disney’s Tarzan. All of the songs in the film were written and recorded by the legendary Phil Collins and are all so good, I haven’t met a single person that can disagree with me on this yet. I chose Strangers Like Me simply because it’s my favourite and such a lovely turning point in the film. If you really want to get a good listen to this soundtrack, watch the film – don’t just look the songs up, you have to experience the songs in the moment, I promise it’ll make all the difference!

Composer/Performer: Phil Collins

Touch the Sky – Brave (2012)

This is surprisingly our first Pixar entry! Similar to Treasure Planet – Pixar usually make films that fall into the action-adventure genre, so unless it’s for comedic purpose, you probably won’t see any of their characters singing. So again, this song is played over a montage scene. It’s one of my favourites as it makes me feel so inspired; watching Princess Merida ride through the woods shooting arrows into targets, watching her climb mountains and carve into things – accompanied by a sweet but strong Scottish folk song really makes me feel like I can accomplish anything as long as Julie Fowlis is singing!

Composer: Alex Mandel & Mark Andrews – Performer: Julie Fowlis 

I Miss You (Robyn’s Song) – Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992)

Okay, you’ll have to bear with me on this one as I saw this film like a bazillion years ago. I remember watching it fairly frequently as a kid and I have a vague memory of the plot but other than that and this song, I can’t remember very much of it! So although it’s made this list, I’m not too sure what to say about it! What I do know is that I sang this song a lot as a kid  – not necessarily the right lyrics but I had the melody down! So apologies for having an utterly useless memory, I hope some others will see this entry and suddenly remember watching this film as a kid!

Composer: Henry Mancini & Leslie Bricusse – Performer: Anndi McAfee 

I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way – Lady & Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001)

You’ll see this film pop up in a couple of blog posts (Disney Animated Sequels That I Didn’t Think Totally Sucked.) and that’s because it’s one of my favourites! Yet barely anyone knows about it! It was hard to pick a favourite song in this film as all of them are pretty great! Other than it’s very catchy melody and chorus – I think It’s my favourite due to a behind the scenes fact I share with everyone that I watch it with, Although the main characters of this film; Scamp and Angel are voiced by Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano, their singing voices are provided by Roger Bart and Susan Egan who just so happen to provide the singing voices of two more of my favourite Disney characters; Hercules and Megara of Hercules! It’s not really that remarkable of a fact considering Disney often reuse voice actors for various projects but it adds to why I like this particular song so much.

Composer:  Melissa Manchester & Norman Gimbel – Performer: Roger Bart & Susan Egan

Accidentally in Love – Shrek 2 (2004)

Accidentally in Love aka “That song at the start of Shrek 2”  I believe (I may be wrong) was released for the film, I don’t think it came from it’s own album therefore I’m counting it as an original song for the film. Does anybody else get crazy honeymoon fever when hearing this song now? This scene is full of sly movie references from Spider-Man, The Little Mermaid and many more, see how many you can spot next time you watch Shrek 2. I know how much of a joke the Shrek franchise has become to some these days but you can’t argue how great the soundtrack is in every film – from All Star to My Beloved Monster, Holding Out For a Hero, Changes, Ever Fallen in Love – the list goes on.

Composer/Performer: Counting Crows

Big and Loud – Cat’s Don’t Dance (1997)

This is another entry similar to the Tom and Jerry: The Movie, I’m 98% sure that I watched this a few times as a child however I have no memory of the plot of this film. The only way I know that I’ve seen it is because deep in my subconscious I remember the aesthetics to this film, sounds crazy I know but this film suddenly came to my attention a few years ago and I recognised all of the characters but I couldn’t tell you any of their names or roles in the movie. I came across this song around the same time and couldn’t remember the lyrics or song itself at all really, however I did remember the actual sequence being shown so it must be buried deep in my mind somewhere, I’ll have to watch it again soon to hopefully bring more of my memories of it to light. I chose to add this song as I am so amazed by it, it’s such a great Diva song and gives you an impression of Darla without even seeing the whole film. The song was literally sung by a 12/13 year old girl at the time and what an impressive singer she was!

Composer: Randy Newman – Performer: Lindsay Ridgeway

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Another soundtrack that Disney got oh so right is the soundtrack for the first Lilo & Stitch film. A combination of authentic Hawaiian musicians and Elvis songs? What more could you want! This song was co-written and performed by ‘contemporary Hawaiian chanter’ Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu with help from Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus. Is there a song much better at causing you to reminisce about the time you never spent on a Hawaiian beach on a warm sunny evening? This is the scene where we start to see Stitch learning and becoming part of the family, it’s such a nice calm before the storm in the movie.

Composer: Alan Silvestri & Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu – Performer:  Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu & Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus 

 When She Loved Me – Toy Story 2 (1999)

I’m sure many of you saw this coming. As I mentioned in the Brave section of this blog post, Pixar don’t do musicals, that doesn’t mean however that their songs can’t have music and here is a prime example of that. During this sentimental scene we learn how one of the main characters of Toy Story 2 – Jessie the cowgirl found herself where she is today, this scene is so unexpectedly heart wrenching to first time viewers and makes everybody who watches it regret ever throwing out any of their old toys. Good job Pixar, you’ve managed to make us feel guilty for inanimate objects!

Composer: Randy Newman – Performer: Sarah McLachlan  

Phew! We’re finally at the end! Due to internet problems this blog post actually took 2 days to complete and get out there so I’m glad it’s finally done. I may have to do a part 2 to this one day as I still have so many songs to add to this list! Let me know if you’ve seen some of the more underrated films on this list and make sure you check out my latest posts on nerdoutwordout.com

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