Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.
To continue the Halloween festivities, I’m making a return to villains by talking about a segment in Disney musicals that many look forward to: the Villain songs. Most of the time, the villain song is where we find out more about who the villain is, what motivates him/her, and (sometimes) their evil plans. They can be bouncy and fun or bone-chillingly intense. And I’m not just talking about songs from Disney’s animated musicals; they can also be from live-action films, stop motion films, and more. So let’s get ready to enjoy the creepy and psychotic side of music with the top 12 Disney Villain Songs!
#12: Mother Knows Best reprise from Tangled
The original version of this is…okay. Mother Gothel’s vocals are good, the tune is bouncy, and it’s nearly impossible to get out of your head once you know the lyrics. However, I don’t find it as memorable as other villain songs.
But then we got the reprise, and holy cow, was that an upgrade! When Mother Gothel suddenly reappeared in the scene, everyone jumped out of their seats in the theater. And the reprise was so bone-chilling and intense that I’d be stupid not to add it on here. It’s right on par with songs like “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “Cell Block Tango,” and it was just the right tune to show the dark, twisted side of Tangled’s villain.
#11: Professional Pirate from Muppet Treasure Island
Before anyone asks, Muppet Treasure Island was filmed and released shortly after Disney bought the Muppets. Moving on!
Putting the movie’s celebrity aside, this song is another fun little number that showcases everything cool about sailing the high seas and having swashbuckling adventures. If you’re a big fan of pirates, this song is just right for you!…even if it is sung by a guy who still makes people flinch after working on the Stephen King miniseries. Seriously, what is it with Tim Curry and scaring little girls? Oh well. Next one.
#10: Fidelity Fiduciary Bank from Mary Poppins
This isn’t technically a villain song, especially since Mary Poppins doesn’t have any villains. However, the scene is an interesting commentary on how banks and money can increase a person’s productivity while also increasing a person’s dependency. The bankers say, “think of everything you could do with a bank account! Think of what you could do when you turn your little nest egg into a fortune!” But no one shows interest in what Michael really wanted to do with it. The song that came before this was “Feed the Birds,” which inspired Michael to do something selfless with his money. And how did the old man respond when Michael states not once, not twice, but three times in the span of five minutes that he wants to feed the birds?
“Fiddlesticks, boy! Feed the birds, and what have you got? Fat birds!”
The use of it in Mary Poppins, as well as in Saving Mr. Banks, shows that the biggest villain we will ever encounter, more often than not, is man’s dependency on money. Fidelity Fiduciary Bank: So poignant, so underrated, and yet so low on the list.
#9: Friends on the Other Side from Princess and the Frog *
I talked about this one before, so I won’t go into too much detail about it here. What I will say is that it’s still a fun song, easily the best number from a mediocre movie with mediocre music. The vocals are great, the music is great, and the visuals—though a bit gruesome for a kids’ animated movie—are great.
#8: The Mob Song from Beauty and the Beast
I know a lot of people like this song, but I had to put it low on the list. For one, the true villain song of Beauty and the Beast is the Gaston number. For another, while it captures the intensity and dark tones of the situation at hand, it’s ironically overshadowed by other songs in the musical, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Be Our Guest.” However, it’s still a good song worth talking about. Again, a lot of people do like this song, and for good reason. As I said before, it still captures the intensity and dark tones of the situation at hand. So while it’s not my favorite, I still enjoy it.
#7: Marley and Marley from Muppet Christmas Carol
Insert Disney-bought-Muppets-before-this-movie and move on to topic at hand.
Statler and Waldorf are two favorite characters in the Muppet franchise, so it was worth it to tweak the Dickens classic and allow them to have a song together. On top of that, the song serves as a rare glimpse into what happens to the bad guy after he gets his comeuppance for his crimes. There’s even a part where they laugh about one of their evil deeds, and then shudder just a few seconds later when they remember where their evil got them. It’s creepy yet fun, hilarious yet horrific, and encouraging yet discouraging.
#6: Gaston from Beauty and the Beast
As I said before, this is the true villain song of Beauty and the Beast. After being rejected by Belle, the townsfolk get together and remind Gaston why he’s the most popular guy in the village. Everyone wants to be like him, and it doesn’t take him long to join in and praise himself. It’s also the start of Gaston’s transformation from man to monster, making him the perfect villain of the story as well as the perfect foil to the Beast. This song is so repetitive and so fitting for Gaston that it would later become a running gag in House of Mouse.
#5: Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid
Poor Unfortunate Souls is the perfect combination of scary, fun, creepy, and crazy. It starts as a waltz, and like other villain songs, ups the drama and spine-tingles by the time we reach the second chorus. This was the first awesome villain song Disney gave us, and if we can’t give The Little Mermaid credit for that…well, there’s plenty of other things to give it credit for, even if it’s not Disney’s best movie. But the song is still awesome.
#4: My Lullaby from Lion King 2 **
Disney Sequels are, admittedly, bad. They’re created only to milk success from their predecessors until the money bin is bone dry, and everyone knows it. With that said, Lion King 2 is one of the few sequels that wasn’t necessarily terrible. And one reason for that is its villain, Zira. She’s like the Bellatrix Lestrange of Disney; she’s so vengeful and bloodthirsty that it’s hard to forget about her. And nothing in the movie shows it best than the villain song, “My Lullaby.” While the vocals aren’t terrific, it still represents Zira’s character perfectly. Nothing pleases her more than the dying gasps, fearful squeals, and mournful cries of her foes. And if you become someone she hates, you don’t have a prayer.
#3: Be Prepared from The Lion King **
Since it tied with “My Lullaby” in my top 12 Intense Songs countdown, it only seems fitting to mention it here as well. While “My Lullaby” keeps the same tone throughout, “Be Prepared” starts classy and creepy, and then ups the craziness as it progresses into the second half. And again, I’m not the only one who can see this being a motivational song for the Nazis.
#2: Savages from Pocahontas **
While this isn’t the real villain song of the movie, it still has a purpose beyond moving the story forward: it shows that prejudice and hatred are sometimes bigger villains than people. Some of the lyrics are definitely overused and overdramatic, but they still get the point across. And the way it weaves three tunes together in the last third of the whole song is perfect and spine-chilling.
#1: Hellfire from Hunchback of Notre Dame **
Again, this one tied with another song on my top 12 Intense Songs, so it’s fair not only to include it here, but also to give it the number one spot. Unlike “Savages,” Hellfire is more intense, and the lyrics are more gritty and realistic as opposed to cheesy and cliché. The song alone is a psychological thriller. It also takes a surprisingly dark subject for kids and makes it into a cautionary tale that fits with the rest of the movie. It takes a villain who’s already a religious hypocrite, and makes him go even crazier with power. It’s not just creepy; it’s terrifying, and we can’t help but love it for that.
Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “So long.”
* Also mentioned in Top 12 Fun Songs (https://lgalfonso.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/top-12-fun-songs-2/)
**Also mentioned in Top 12 Intense Songs (https://lgalfonso.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/top-12-intense-songs/)
Photo source: http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/04/13/disney-villain-signature-songs-on-a-scale-from-1-to-fabulous/