10 Best Songs From Disney Sequels
Second time's the charm?
Music has been an integral part of the success of most Disney films. Pinocchio wouldn't have been much of a movie if Geppetto had never wished upon a star, and the Pride Lands may still be under Scar's rule if Simba and Nala hadn't felt the love one night.
Despite the importance of music in Disney films, the songs in the studio's sequels, whether they be direct-to-video or theatrically released, are often overlooked when it comes time to compile great Disney song lists. It's a shame, as there are a few hidden gems in the bunch.
1. 'He Lives In You'- 'The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride'
Most would agree that 'Circle Of Life', the iconic theme from The Lion King, is a difficult act to follow as far as opening numbers go. However, 'He Lives In You', the opening musical number of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride makes a valiant attempt. Providing a backing track to the presentation of Simba's newborn daughter, Kiara, 'He Lives In You' honours the original film, by establishing how important Mufasa's legacy is to Simba, while also setting the scene for the sequel.
Of all the songs in Simba's Pride, 'He Lives In You' is the one that ties most seamlessly into the existing world of The Lion King. The song was later used in The Lion King Broadway musical, first as 'They Live In You', sung by Mufasa to Simba during their discussion of the Great Kings of the past, and later in it's original form, sung by Rafiki.
2. Wherever You Are - 'Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin'
Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin, was conceived as a sequel to The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh, taking place after Christopher Robin has left the Hundred-Acre Wood to go to school. However, in Pooh's Grand Adventure, the gang misunderstand Christopher's note, thinking that he has gone to the dangerous 'Skull', and set off to rescue him.
Late in the film, after the group suffers a few setbacks, beginning to lose hope of ever finding Christopher Robin, Pooh sings the touching 'Wherever You Are' as a message to his missing friend. Even now, twenty-three years after the film was released, Pooh's Grand Adventure stands as one of voice actor Jim Cummings best performances as Winnie The Pooh, and the emotion he brings to the above song is one of the biggest reasons why.
3. 'The Place Where Lost Things Go'- Mary Poppins Returns
As Mary Poppins tucks them into bed, the new generation of Banks children (Annabel, John, and Georgie) express their fear that they may soon lose their Home. Their Father, Michael, has lost his ownership papers for the shares in Fidelity Fiduciary Bank that could help him pay off his overdue loan. Through a touching song, Mary comforts the children with the advice that nothing is lost forever.
'The Place Where Lost Things Go' was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2019 Academy Awards. Any other year, it would have been almost certain of a win, but had the misfortune of being up against the now iconic 'Shallow' from A Star Is Born.
4. 'Lesson Number One'- Mulan II
When Mulan II begins, Mulan is juggling her responsibilities at home with her new role as a hero of China. Early in the film, Mulan's chores are interrupted by a group of village children wanting her to teach them to fight. It is a task Mulan happily accepts.
Aside from being a fun song, 'Lesson Number One' is a nice mirror image of 'Honor To Us All', the first song from the original Mulan. It shows how much life has changed for Mulan since the first film, and how much she was beginning to change things for young women in China as a whole.
5. 'My Lullaby'- The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
As Disney villains go, Scar is pretty unbeatable, and his villain song, 'Be Prepared' is among Disney's greats. And yet, Simba's Pride again makes a valiant attempt to match it's predecessor with 'My Lullaby'.
'My Lullaby' is sung by the evil Zira, a loyal follower of Scar, as her young son, Kovu, sleeps nearby. The song details Zira's plan to raise and train Kovu to be a vicious killer so that he can one day take Pride Rock back from Simba.
While 'Be Prepared' is definitely a hard act to follow, 'My Lullaby' is a memorable follow-up, easily the best villain song in a Disney sequel.
6. Always There- 'Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure'
On the outs with his love interest, Angel, after revealing a secret she told him in confidence, Lady and Tramp's son, Scamp, finds himself in hot water when he is betrayed by Buster, leader of the Junkyard Dogs, and caught by the Dog Catcher. Now on his way to the pound, Scamp reflects on the mistakes he has made, and the importance of family.
A little on the sappy side for some, but most agree 'Always There' packs just the right emotional punch for this point in the film. It also brings Susan Egan, the voice of Meg in Hercules, back into the Disney fold, providing the singing voice for Angel.
7. 'He Is Not One Of Us'- The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
Refusing to go through with his Mother's plans once he has fallen for Kiara, a furious Zira sets Kovu up to take the fall for an attempt on Simba's life. Returning to Pride Rock in the vain hope that he can convince Simba of his innocence, Kovu is instead sentenced to exile, and immediately driven out of the Pridelands.
'He Is Not One Of Us' is the only musical number in Simba's Pride that does not correspond to a song or scene in the original film, however, that only makes it stand out all the more. The song is a perfect example of how easily prejudice can spread and dictate people's actions.
8. 'I'll Try'- Peter Pan: Return To Neverland
The song 'I'll Try' appears twice in Peter Pan: Return To Neverland. The first is just after Jane and Wendy's argument early in the film. The second, perhaps more memorable reprise of the song appears after Jane, having just accidentally betrayed Peter and the Lost Boys to Captain Hook, realises that she is also responsible for Tinkerbell's light going out, after declaring that she didn't believe in fairies earlier in the film. Jane sobs over Tinkerbell's body, until the power of Jane's newfound belief in fairies, and Neverland as a whole, revives her.
'I'll Try' serves as a perfect backing track to this beautiful moment in the film.
9. 'Show Yourself'- Frozen 2
After spending most of Frozen 2 being guided by a mysterious voice, Elsa finds the source of the voice within the magical frozen river, Altohallan. It turns out that the voice calling to her was the spirit of her Mother, Queen Iduna. Elsa, born from the love between an Arendelleian boy and the Northuldran girl who risked her life to save him, is the fifth magical spirit destined to unite her people with the magic of nature.
While 'Into The Unknown' is perhaps the most well-known song from Frozen 2, 'Show Yourself' is more important to Elsa and the advancement of her story. Those who have embraced Elsa as an LGBTQ icon have come to view the song as a 'coming out' anthem.
10. 'Love Will Find A Way' - The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
After Kovu is exiled, Kiara slips away from Pride Rock to find him. During the search, both young lions sing of their belief that their love is enough to overcome the obstacles that have kept them apart.
Where the original film was a re-imagining of Hamlet, Simba's Pride gives us a new version of Romeo & Juliet, as the 'Love Will Find A Way' sequence makes clear. Thankfully, however, Kiara and Kovu don't meet the same tragic fate as their Shakespearean counterparts. Instead, the young couple make it home just in time to broker peace between their warring families.
While not all Disney sequels match the musical brilliance of the originals, you'll still find plenty of songs worth a second listen.