Aside from their ground-breaking animation, Disney are particularly famous for their incredible songs.
Astonishingly catchy with genius lyrics, Disney songs are both integral to their storytelling and have a rightful place in the world of popular music, with ‘Let it Go’ from 2013’s Frozen as a prime example.
The studio’s latest outing, the highly anticipated Moana, is no different. Set on a mystical island in Polynesia, the story follows a chief’s daughter with a calling to explore the water as she sets sail on a magical journey accompanied by a demigod voiced by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. There are a lot of strong ideas working together for which the songs and score encompass.
The team responsible are made up of Samoan songwriter and producer, Opetaia Foa’i, creator and star of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and composer Mark Mancina. This team brings together the native sounds and melodies of Polynesia, witty and beautiful lyrics, and a classic Disney/Hollywood grandeur.
Highlights of the soundtrack include Moana’s ‘’heart song’, ‘How Far I’ll Go’, voyager theme ‘We Know The Way’, and ‘Shiny’, a Britpop-esque tune about a giant crab’s love for things that sparkle.
‘How Far I Go’ is sung by lead actress and voice of Moana, 15-year-old Auli’i Cravalho. Telling the story of Moana’s desire to see what’s beyond the ocean’s horizon, Carvalho describes it as a ‘fight song’ as Moana feels she believes she belongs out on the water. With a passionate chorus and strong lyrics, it definitely has the strength to be the new ‘Let It Go’.
‘We Know The Way’ is a song sung by Moana’s voyaging ancestors which celebrates and shows the pride in them being the world’s first great navigators. The song is performed by songwriters Foa’i and Miranda and uses Māori vocabulary. The song grounds the film in an authentic world which audiences can relate to and others can explore.
Last but not least is Jermaine Clemant’s, of musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, turn as 50-foot crab Tamatoa. A villainous creature from the realm of monsters, his song takes an unexpected humorous tone. ‘Shiny’ has Bowie-esque style (working perfectly with Clemant’s voice) and manages to make it very sinister, despite the monster singing about how much he loves shiny objects. It’s the wild card in the pack and it brings something new to the Disney universe.
All songs are available to listen to on the soundtrack now and the film is in UK cinemas from 2nd December.