When you think of classic Disney animated movies, iconic songs from their soundtracks seem to stand out the most. You think Mulan, you think "I'll Make a Man Out of You." You think Aladdin, you think "A Whole New World.. And of course, how can anyone possibly think about Frozen without "Let It Go" getting stuck in your head instantly?
Moana is no exception to this pattern. The newest animated feature from Disney hits a high note with characters, story, visuals, and of course the soundtrack. From the opening scene to the ending credits, Moana is stuffed full of amazing and catchy tunes that I constantly listen to on repeat. Just in case you don't want to listen to the entire soundtrack over and over, go ahead and check out this list, where I've separated the pretty good from the truly incredible.
8. "I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)" — Rachel House, Auli'i Cravalho
"I Am Moana" is a song that is very reliant on another song in the soundtrack, and for that it gets marked down a bit. There is still a lot of emotion and beauty in the song, so I wouldn't skip past it on the soundtrack (I actually wouldn't skip any of these songs), but if I had to choose, I'd listen to "How Far I'll Go" to get the same sort of vibe as this song.
7. "Know Who You Are" — Auli'i Cravalho
This one is perhaps the shortest of the bunch, so it's hard to rank a song highly that's barely over a minute long. Luckily, it's a minute of beautiful singing and emotional background music. This song does take place towards the end of the film, so it's not as adventurous as some of the other songs. You can't discredit Auli'i Cravalho's voice though. She really makes this song worth listening to.
6. "Logo Te Pate" — Olivia Foa'i, Opetaia Foa'i, Talaga Steve Sale
Unfortunately, this isn't a song that you can easily sing-along to, but it's still a well-made tune. It's up-beat and energetic, and quite similar in tone to "We Know the Way." When it comes on in the soundtrack, it's the kind of song that you dance around to for a second before impatiently awaiting your favorites that are coming up afterwards.
5. "Where You Are" — Christopher Jackson, Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger, Auli'i Cravalho, Louise Bush
"Where You Are" is the first sing-along musical hit in the movie, and it shows us the tone that the rest of the movie is going to follow. The song features a host of voices, as Moana's entire family and tribe join in. It's a fun song, but once the movie ends, there are going to be a few other songs that stand out a bit more than this one.
4. "We Know The Way" — Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i
"We Know The Way" is the song that you probably remember from the trailer for Moana, and it shows up a couple of times in the film. It's not necessarily as catchy as some of the other songs on this list, but it's uplifting and enjoyable nonetheless. It's the perfect adventure song that makes you feel empowered and optimistic at the same time. The only problem is that about half of the song is kind of difficult to sing-along to, but it's still fun to listen to.
3. "Shiny" — Jemaine Clement
Disney movies infamously feature what are known as "villain songs," which usually end up lacking in popularity compared to the rest of the soundtrack. In Moana, the tables are turned with Tamatoa's song "Shiny." According to the screenwriter of Moana, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the song a week after David Bowie's passing, and dedicated the song to his style. It's catchy, it's unique, and heavily Bowie-inspired, and I never get tired of listening to this song.
2. "How Far I'll Go" — Auli'i Cravalho
Just like the "villain songs," a lot of Disney movies follow the pattern of using what I call the "Reflection" songs. The "Reflection" songs (named after the song in Mulan) are the moments where the protagonist sings out her struggles and ultimately realizes what she has to do at the beginning of the film. This one is wonderfully deep and emotional, and shows off what an amazing voice that Auli'i Cravalho has. "How Far I'll Go" is beautifully written and executed, and it tops "Let It Go" (another "Reflection" song) any day of the week.
1. "You're Welcome" — Dwayne Johnson
If you want the next super-catchy hit, look no further. "You're Welcome" is the only song where Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson sings, and yet it manages to be the catchiest and most fun song of the bunch. Somehow, the song manages to be fresh and nostalgic at the same time. "You're Welcome" sounds like it could have been in a classic '90s Disney movie, yet it still has a contemporary vibe that really makes it stand out. Plus it has Dwayne Johnson rapping, so that's always fun to hear.
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If you haven't seen Moana yet, it's simple, go see it. It is a stand-out modern Disney movie that seems like it was made to be a classic. In twenty to thirty years for now, I can see this movie getting passed down to generations in the way that The Little Mermaid and Cinderella were. And if you have seen Moana, why not see it again? It's just that good.