We're less than a week away from the release of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast, and the internet's excitement is reaching fever pitch.
The original was arguably Disney’s best ever movie (aside from The Lion King, obviously!). Thus, fans are now watering at the mouth to see the 1991 classic recreated in live action, with modern, progressive sensibilities, and to hear a stellar cast performing Howard Ashman’s beautiful lyrics.
Indeed, the consistently excellent songs of Beauty and the Beast rank among the very best of Disney’s output — but which ones are the very best in the movie?
Be our guest and read on to find out how we rank the ballads of Beauty and the Beast!
7. 'The Mob Song'
And so it begins! It’s a shame that "The Mob Song" is in last place, but there’s always going to be a loser in this kind of thing, right? Unlike the rest of the score, there’s a bit of aggression and power to this tune, to really reinforce the violence that the villagers want to inflict upon the Beast (Robby Benson). Plus, its lyrics are brilliantly perceptive about the nature of mob mentality, and undercut just how blindly they follow Gaston (Richard White):
“We don't like/ what we don't understand/ In fact it scares us/ And this monster is mysterious at least...Here we come, we're fifty strong/ And fifty Frenchmen can't be wrong.”
I’ll bet that some readers will no doubt be thinking how parts of this apply to, ahem, certain current situations. Is the way the song tackles uncomfortable truths the reason why it’s placed so low on this list? Or is it just because we don’t want them to KILL THE BEAST? Regardless, 'The Mob Song' just isn’t as memorable or as fun as the other tunes in the movie.
6. 'Something There'
Following the scene in which Belle and the Beast begin to compromise and bond over their porridge, 'Something There' sees the coldness between the pair begin to thaw. It’s only short, so it doesn’t get chance to build up as much traction as the other songs on the list, but it’s earnestly performed by Paige O’Hara and Robby Benson, who add color and tenderness to the proceedings. We can't wait to see and hear #EmmaWatson and #DanSteven's version!
5. 'Human Again'
Some fans may scratch their heads, and think "I don’t remember this one!". Indeed, 'Human Again' was cut out of the classic Disney version to cut down the runtime. However, it was put back into the 2001 Special Edition, which is all the better for it.
Following almost immediately after 'Something There', it has a slow start, but "Human Again" grows in strength as we see how the rest of the side characters feel about the curse potentially being lifted. And we get a lovely moment showing the ever-growing bond between the Beast and Belle.
Accompanying images of the famous ballroom being painstakingly cleaned, this track is soaring and spectacular; here’s hoping that it’s included in the remake!
4. 'Belle' & 'Reprise'
If there are any budding songwriters reading this, take note — this is how you begin a musical. Often mistakenly called 'Little Town' or 'Bonjour', 'Belle' has such a happy and catchy bounce to it that you simply can’t help but like it.
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken thought that it would be the song that got them sacked from the picture, but only a madman would have booted them off the project. Concisely setting the scene, Belle tells us everything that we need to know about our heroine’s life, in a bright and funny way following that brilliantly prophetic prologue.
In this defiant and yearning song, we get to see the different facets of Belle, from her bookishness to her fierce independence. No wonder she is such a beloved #Disney princess!
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3. 'Gaston' & 'Reprise'
This is undoubtedly one of the greatest ear-worms from the House of Mouse. After Belle publicly rejects him, the villagers manage to cheer up Gaston (Richard White) by sycophantically listing the things which make him so great and beloved, in a lively bout of animated antics instigated by Le Fou (Jessie Corti). And with the recent revelation about Le Fou's orientation, his adoration for Gaston throughout the song makes so much more sense!
A suitably rowdy and raucous tavern ballad, the lyrics to 'Gaston' are the silliest, most masculine, and unrelentingly pompous words ever uttered by a Disney character. Add a dash of sexual innuendo in there, and you’ve got a villain's song like no other!
If the trailers and pictures are anything to go by, it looks like #LukeEvans and #JoshGad will be replicating the song with gusto — and good job too! It’s such a popular meme on the internet that there’d be angry mobs bashing at the Disney gates if it wasn’t included.
2. 'Beauty and the Beast'
The wondrous technical accomplishments of the ballroom often overshadow this famous titular song, which, while simple, is effortlessly evocative. After all, in the remake trailers you only have to hear the strains of its melody for it to bring back the waves of love that you have for this scene.
As Belle and the Beast finally realize their love for each other, they are accompanied by this masterpiece of a song. What makes Beauty and the Beast so timeless is its discourse on all the universal qualities which define that most cherished of human feelings. It's just so stirring as it swells in its passion! Angela Lansbury was famously hesitant about singing it, but now her warm vocal tones are inseparable from the lyrics.
Fancy a bit of nostalgia? Watch her performing the song for the movie’s 25th anniversary — its sure to have even the most stoic fans blubbing.
1. 'Be Our Guest'
“Surely nothing can top the classic song of Beauty and the Beast,” I hear you say.
Well, one song does — but only by a whisker, mind you. Lumiere (Jerry Orbach) leads the castle staff in a welcome song and dinner for Belle, much to the chagrin of Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers) in one of the most inventive and giddily exuberant numbers ever produced.
The discussion of all those different foods makes stomachs rumble, and Cogsworth’s awkward attempts to suppress the volume of his colleagues are hilarious. From the fabulously colorful animation, to the spirited performances of the singers, it’s a showstopper in every sense of the word!
And there we are! All of the Beauty and the Beast songs ranked, for your consideration. Personally, I can't wait for the remake to come out, and if you're reading this I'm sure that you can't either!
But do you agree with the positions of these songs? Which is your favorite? And which are you most looking forward to seeing in the remake? Scroll on down and let me know!
Which is your favorite song from 'Beauty and the Beast'?
(Poll Image Credit: Disney)