There are many reasons to love Disney’s animated catalog of films, including their songs. By employing some of the best musicians and lyricists available, they’ve created hundreds of catchy tunes, from iconic “I Want” songs sung by longing princesses to dastardly numbers that showcase their iconic villains. Many of their songs have even received mainstream recognition.
However, not every song can be a winner, and with over sixty animated films under its belt, Disney has had a fair share of duds. Whether because of their changing values, tonal imbalance, or uselessness to the story, these songs are often forgotten or outright avoided even by Disney fans.
10 “One Last Hope” – ‘Hercules’ (1997)
Hercules is perhaps the strangest film to come out of the Disney Renaissance. It’s an odd combination of superhero and sports movie clichés while poking fun at endorsement deals. Still, its gospel-inspired music was a stroke of genius for a movie about gods and heroes. However, the song sung by the satyr Philoctetes (Danny DeVito) doesn’t hold up to the others.
“One Last Hope” has the same wonderful musical composition audiences expect from an Alan Menken song, but its tone and DeVito’s singing hold it back. It’s the most comedic song in the movie, but it lacks the grand feel of “Gospel Truth” and “Zero to Hero.” As for DeVito’s singing, it doesn’t fit at all and comes across as more obnoxious than endearing.
9 “Say It With a Slap” – ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ (1947)
To save money while his animators were fighting in World War II, Walt Disney released package films in what is now called Disney’s Wartime Era. These pictures combined multiple smaller stories into one. Fun and Fancy Free‘ first story is about a circus bear who escapes showbusiness to live in the woods. There, he learns wild bears slap one another to show love.
While the song has a purpose, it’s puzzling for several reasons. It starts as a square dance before randomly shifting to “Turkey in the Straw” for a few seconds in the middle, then resuming its original slower melody. The lyrics have some fun play on words, but the idea of bears hitting each other to show affection is odd and doesn’t fit the rest of the story.
8 “When I Am Older” – ‘Frozen II’ (2019)
After the massive success of Frozen, its sequel sees the characters travel into a magic forest to find the source of Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) powers. However, four elemental spirits also reside in the forest, and they are all out of sorts. Elsa’s living snowman, Olaf (Josh Gad,) stumbles upon them and sings a song about how he’ll understand what he sees when he’s older.
Frozen II suffers heavily by not giving its side characters anything to do, and this song proves it. While it’s meant to echo Olaf’s song in the original film, “In Summer,” it lacks any significance to the story and doesn’t further Olaf’s character at all. All it does is kill time as Olaf stumbles about while the spirits follow after him.
7 “A Place Called Slaughter Race” – ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ (2018)
Wreck-It Ralph is one of Disney’s best Revival Era films, touching on important themes like self-acceptance, societal marginalization, and overcoming stereotypes. Sadly, its sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, traded all that away to glorify Disney’s IPs, giving Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) a storyline about abandoning her game for another called Slaughter Race.
“A Place Called Slaughter Race” is still a Menken song, so it sounds great musically, but that can’t save a bad concept. After the first movie spent considerable time explaining why abandoning your game is wrong, it’s infuriating to see the sequel encourage Vanellopy to do just that with no consequences. Silverman’s attempts to sing in Vanellopy’s high-pitched nasally voice also don’t do it any favors.
6 “The Morning Report” – ‘The Lion King’ (1994)
Like many Renaissance-era Disney films, The Lion King received a stage adaptation after its success. They created several new songs for the production, such as “The Morning Report,” which plays when Zazu (Rowan Atkinson) gives a report to Mufasa (James Earl Jones). In 2002, the song was added to the film.
Everything about this song screams “unnecessary.” The lyrics mainly consist of animal puns, while Zazu and Simba’s (Johnathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick) new singing voices sound nothing like their old ones. The animation is also notably more cartoonish and bouncy, and the song is interrupted with unnecessary slapstick moments.
5 “Human Again” – ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1991)
Beauty and the Beast has some of Disney’s most iconic songs. During production, the crew had a grand sequence involving the servants cleaning the palace to show the passage of time. Due to the size of the number, it was eventually replaced with the more intimate “Something There.” After the song saw success in the Broadway show, it returned to the movie in 2002.
“Human Again” ultimately feels pointless, especially compared to “Something There.” Sure, it gives the servants more screen time and tells a story within a story, but it doesn’t tell the audience anything new, nor is it all that entertaining. Worst of all, it pushes Belle (Paige O’Hara) and Beast (Robby Benson) into the background.
4 “Siamese Cat Song” – ‘Lady and the Tramp’ (1955)
Lady and the Tramp is widely regarded as one of Disney’s best Silver Age movies and one of their most romantic. However, one thing audiences detest is the twin cats of Aunt Sara (Verna Felton). Called Si and Am (Peggy Lee), they establish themselves as troublesome with a song as they wreck the house.
Everything about this song is meant to invoke Chinese stereotypes, from Si and Am’s designs to the instrument choice. Its lyrics are pretty weak and contain broken English, which, combined with their actions in getting Lady (Barbara Luddy) into trouble, adds to the yellow terror feel. Finally, the song is ultimately pointless, as Si and Am never appear again.
3 “Yodel Adle Eedle Idle Oo” – ‘Home on the Range’ (2004)
Home on The Range is infamous as the movie that killed traditional animated films. This isn’t quite true, but it’s still one of Disney’s worst films. Fittingly, it’s home to one of their worst songs, the cattle-stealing villain, Alameda Slim’s (Randy Quaid) villain tune. After dodging the cow Maggie (Roseanne Barr) and her attempts to get revenge for Slim stealing her herd, he bursts into yodeling to hypnotize the cattle.
Besides the title being a mouthful, there’s just not a lot to this song. The yodeling is impressive, but it doesn’t establish Slim’s character, and the commentary by his nephews is solely on his weight. Ultimately, it feels like an excuse to kill time and pad out the movie.
2 “Fixer Upper” – ‘Frozen’ (2013)
Despite a tricky production, Frozen would become the highest-grossing animated movie until the 2019 remake of The Lion King. Much praise was given to the film’s music, especially the signature song, “Let it Go.” However, the Trolls’ song, “Fixer Upper,” has an infamously bad reputation.
Unlike the other songs in the movie, “Fixer Upper” doesn’t explore characters or further the story. Instead, it kills time by waving silly trolls trying to force Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Anna (Kristen Bell) to marry, not caring that Anna is engaged. Then it ends and is never referenced again, which added to the troll’s infamous status among Disney fans.
1 “A Guy Like You” – ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ (1996)
As Paris burns due to Judge Claude Frollo’s (Tony Jay) ethnic cleansing, Quasimodo (Tom Hulce) fears that his Romani friend, Esmeralda (Demi Moore), has been captured or killed. His gargoyle friends, Victor (Charles Kimbrough), Hugo (Jason Alexander) and Lavern (Mary Wickes), reassure him that not only is Esmeralda safe, but that she’s in love with him. The three then reaffirm this statement by singing about Quasi’s attractiveness.
Along with being sung by some of Disney’s most annoying characters, “A Guy Like You” is just mean to poor Quasi. The gargoyles only sing about his physical appearance, not his personality, and ultimately just get his hopes up for nothing when Esmeralda falls in love with Phoebus (Kevin Kline).