Music, for me is like a friend. The best ones are the ones who stay with us not only in good times but also through the bad times, cheering us up and helping us to get back on our feet despite everything. Strangely enough, lots of the ones that really speak to me are Disney movies' soundtracks (sorry, Pixar, I love ya but in the music department, Disney's still better). Maybe because they're aimed at kids, the lyrics and melody are simple, honest, and truthful - which is exactly what I look for in a song, and in a friend. Or maybe it's simply because Alan Menken is a wonderful songwriter. Hehe. It's not just him, though. There are lots of other composers for the songs in my collection, although I have no idea who wrote what. I'm just too lazy to look up for the composer one by one.
So, where should I start?
1. A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
Favorite version: Kimberley Locke
I start with this one cause this is the song that rings the truest for me right now. Along with Disney's immortal 'When You Wish Upon A Star' (favorite version: Julie Andrews, live), this song ranks the highest on my playlist when I feel down and lost. This song does magic to me. It's soothing and empowering at the same time. When I play it on a loop, it lets me cry my burden out and then later gives me hope for a better tomorrow. In The Sound of Music's 'I Have Confidence in Me' you heard the lyrics, "Strength doesn't lie in number, strength doesn't lie in wealth. Strength lies in a nice and peaceful slumber." I believe that with all my heart, and with a similar sense, the lyrics in this song deliver me to that 'nice and peaceful slumber' so that I have the strength to face tomorrow and make my dream come true. It's really a beautiful, beautiful song, and when you put Kimberley Locke's voice to deliver it, I really couldn't ask for anything more.
2. God Help The Outcast
Movie: Hunchback of Notre Dame
Favorite version: Original
I fell in love with this song since the first time I heard it, although I originally watched the movie because I loved the song 'Someday'. Every word speaks to me without fail. Do you know the saying that a way to feel better is reaching out to the less fortunate? How true. One of the most effective way for me to feel better when I was down is to send a prayer, not for myself but for those in a worse situation than me. It really makes me re-think the situation and be thankful that I don't have it worse. I found this song when I was in a struggle of accepting that I'm gay, maybe that's why the lyrics struck me from the very first chord: "I don't know if you can hear me, or if you're even there. I don't know if you would listen to a gypsy's prayer. Yes, I know I'm just an outcast, I shouldn't speak to you. Still I see your face and wonder, were you once an outcast too." Ooooh, can you have it better than that? Jesus and Mary were indeed once outcasts too! Mary was pregnant before she was married, and though she said it was by God's grace, how many people at that time would believe her? And how many time Jesus actually broke the Taurat (what's that in English?) law? He was even sentenced to death because people didn't believe in Him and thought of Him as a sinner. Esmeralda was never one of my Disney crushes, but damn do I admire her!
3. God Bless Us Everyone
Movie: A Christmas Carol
Favorite version: Original
As I've read, watched, watched, read, read, watched, many many versions of this story, when I found this musical version my expectation was high - especially for the music, cause Alan Menken was listed in the credit. I won't give a high rating for the overall movie, but I found two lovely songs in it. This one, and 'There's A Place Called Home'. I've actually listened to both of the songs before when I was in junior high. They were in Disney's Love Songs album. But it's not until I watched the movie that I fell in love with both of them. 'There's A Place Called Home' very much describe the home I've always dreamed of. 'God Bless Us Everyone', though, gives me a one-liner that's so simple and yet so true... "Let us love till we die, and God bless us everyone." Cause even if I'm nobody, even if I have no strength left and nothing in my possession, what I can still give is love. Just a smile, just an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or even a word that says you care. As long as that means something to someone, then my existence is not totally useless. I love this song in a whole, though, and if you watch this movie in a whole and not drop a tear when this song is sung last, then you're either lying or made from stone. Heh heh.
4. Welcome To This Day, Feels Like Home, It Will Be Me
Movie: Brother Bear 2
Favorite version: Original
Okay, okay, I know this is cliche... Melissa sang all of them and wrote two of them. But bear with me cause seriously, these songs are a bit different than her usual songs. If you can, please listen to all three of them, and I bet you'll like at least one of them. Even my sister who hates Melissa passionately can't resist the charm of these. 'Welcome To This Day' is the perfect waking up song. I'm not a morning person, that's definite. But every now and then I have to wake up early, and nothing puts me in a better mood than to sing along and dance to this song. 'Feels Like Home', for me it's an adventure song. I don't relate to this song often, only if I'm about to start a new 'adventure', and even then I have other songs I could relate more. I swear I don't put this song on a lower rank because it's the one Melissa didn't write! This is a great song, and many love this one most out of those three, but this is just the one I could relate the least. 'It Will Be Me' is perhaps the most popular out of those three, and I used to like this one most out of the three. It's a love song, pure and simple, but it's a parting song so yeah, it's sad. I've met people who don't like this song cause it's a ballad, but I've never met people who don't think this is a beautiful song. I personally think this is one of Melissa's best but unknown cause except you're a hardcore fan like me, not many know she wrote for BB2 (and BB2 isn't that much known either).
5. Colors of The Wind
Favorite version: Venessa Williams
I actually knew this song before I ever watched Pochahontas. Understandable, since I never watched Pochahontas until I was in college. Hehe. This song becomes a turn-point for me, though, in my relationship with the nature. As a child I wasn't much aware of the nature. Of course I played in dirt, ran in the rain, caught butterflies and bugs, and who knows what else, but as a child - it's all just so natural, you know. I think as human gets older we slowly learns to become a person and to conform to society's rules and expectations, that slowly we separated ourself from the rest of the nature. This song is the first to remind me about the nature... to really see the beauty in it, to pay more attention to it. To feel the wind against my skin, the texture of the earth, the coolness of the water - to be a part of the earth again.
6. Small One
Movie: Small One
Favorite version: Original
My family is a multi-religion family, as some of you know, and so I've never known much about Christmas stories and Christmas tradition. Most children in US nowadays think Christmas = Santa Day, and only a few of them know that Christmas is the birth of Jesus. I was the total opposite. I knew nothing about Santa and his bowlful of jelly until I was a teenager. And so, the story about 'Small One' also escapes my radar until I was in college. I don't think this story is well-known in Indonesia generally, so I'll put in a quick review for you. Small One is an old donkey who's not much use anymore to his owner. The owner asks his son to take him to town and sell him. But he's so small and so old, no one wants to buy him. The boy is friend with Small One so he desperately looks for someone with a kind face and with good intention. Both of them are almost out of ideas, until finally a kind-looking man finds them and buy the donkey as a ride to his wife who is pregnant and have to go out of town. The rest is history as that very night a baby was born in Bethlehem. When you know the story, the lyric of the song has a new height, as it says, "Small One, Small One, don't look so blue. Somewhere a friend is waiting for you. Someone still needs you to brighten his day, there's a place for each small one, God planned it that way." Yup, who knows someone so 'useless' will get the honor to carry someone so precious? This could be the theme song for 'It Gets Better' project. To ANY teenager who thinks of ending their lives for whatever reason... you're put on this earth for a purpose. If that's not true, why are you here at all? You continue to live, and one day you'll become something. You choose to die, and you'll really become nothing.
Honorary Mentions (not because I don't like them, but cause I love them despite not having much to relate to the songs...):
1.Make Me Look Good (At least I think that's the title...)
Movie: Christmas Maximus - Twice Upon A Christmas
Okay, how many of you know that Goofy has a son? Hahah... I must have watched too much Disney cartoons then. This is a sweet short movie, and almost all of the story was told in that song. This one makes me think of my dad. Goofy is... well, a goof, and Max is so embarrassed about his dad, especially when he brings his girlfriend home. My dad and I are totally the opposite. He sometimes lacks confidence although I'm never ashamed of him or his education level. I find this movie ironically funny because if my dad's actually over- confident like Goofy, perhaps I'll also be embarrassed like Max. Hah hah hah
2. As Long As There's Christmas
Movie: Beauty and The Beast - Enchanted Christmas
This is one of my favorite Christmas song ever - have loved it from when I first found it. Christmas might not be my favorite holiday in a year, but well, I love it and what it is all about, so yeah, I do hope that there'll always be Christmas.
3. Part of Your World & Under The Sea
Movie: Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid is probably my favorite Disney movie - musically. There are so many Disney classics in this movie, and if you haven't watched it since you were children and don't even remember liking it, I highly recommend watching it again. I've re-watched so many Disney Classics in and after college, and no, they're not out-of-date, they're not old, and they even holds their own against the new ones - even the ones from Pixar. Of course I might be biased cause there's some sentimental value in the classics, but damn, they're really really good. My favorite is still Beauty and The Beast, but Little Mermaid comes close although I've never counted on it before. Oh, and I'm a racist bastard so Mulan also gets to be my favorite number 2. Hohoho. No, wait, Pochahontas also needs to be on number 2, I've got a huge crush on her. Oh well....
This song is the first English song I've ever liked. One thing I failed to mention earlier is that until junior high school, I never liked any English song. I heard them on media and muzak and such, but I never really listened to them. I remember that the first to attract me is Michael Jackson's song, but until now I don't remember which one. But reflection is the first one I really listened to, find the lyrics and translate them so I understand it. Funny thing that I later found many people associate this song with the acceptance process of being gay... I actually never interpreted this song that way. Heh.
I think I'll leave out the songs from 'The Sound of Music', 'Mary Poppins', and 'Annie' cause while I love absolutely every song in each of them, none of them really meant something for me personally besides personal enjoyment. Perhaps 'I Have Confidence' in 'The Sound of Music', cause that was the song that made me able to cope with living by myself for the first time in a place where I knew no one. Well, to try and list EVERY Disney song I love would require me not to sleep tonight, and I really want to sleep. So goodnight. I'll listen to 'Feed The Birds' before I go to sleep today. That one always makes me sleep in heavenly peace.