Women, men & minorities in geek culture and pop culture
I will admit – I’ve attempted to sing the African chant that is sung at the beginning of The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” many times. Also I have looked up the English translation of the lyrics. They read:
“Here comes a lion, father
Oh yes, it’s a lion
We’re going to conquer
A lion and leopard come to this open place”
They are simple, yet the song and shots of Simba being lifted up by Rafiki on Pride Rock set the film’s theme about life well.
My favorite Disney ensemble song is Tarzan’s “Trashin’ the Camp.” I love seeing the gorillas breaking the camp apart and making a song out of the things they found in it. But what I love the most about this song is that it makes me want to dance and there really aren’t any lyrics for one to learn. You hear it once and you remember the sounds the gorillas make.
Pathetically enough, as I typed “I’ll” into the search bar on YouTube, Mulan‘s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” was the first thing to pop up. Okay, let’s get down to business, though. Mulan is the movie to make me feel awesome about girl-power. I don’t know, I was really young when I saw Mulan for the first time, but in some ways it’s kept me from thinking that I can’t do something because I’m a woman. Hell, if Mulan can save China, I can get into college. So this extremely motivational ensemble is really more Shang and the Pathetic Men, but it’s a great journey song. You see the hopelessness of this particular troop as they begin training through to their practice as powerful, controlled weapons. And the irony is terrific. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” but it’s the application of discipline and perseverance, regardless of gender, that makes Mulan successful. But yeah, let’s be honest, the sun rising as she climbs to the top of the pole thing is majestic. Can’t go wrong with quality animation.
The Muses are responsible for many memorable songs during Hercules. I was torn between “The Gospel Truth” and “Zero To Hero,” but I decided on the latter because of the visual effects used and the depiction of merchandising for a rising star. The Muses sing about how Hercules enters every facet of life for spectators and makes their lives better. In the meantime, Hercules is along for the ride. He reminds me of what I know of most pop culture icons, how their faces and physiques are valued over everything and make tons of money only to eventually burn out. The cheer of the song and the liveliness in which it’s sung disguises the fact that Hercules is artificially being built into an icon.
I heard “He Lives In You” for the first time when I watched the movie The Lion King 2, and again when I listened to the soundtrack of The Lion King Broadway Musical. I love both versions of the song because it manages to touch on something I’ve always found meaningful: the relationship between a person and his or her ancestors.
In The Lion King 2, the song represents the relationship between Simba and his father Mufasa and the parallel relationship between Simba and his daughter Kiara. The idea that all lions are a single entity – living inside one another – is a common theme throughout the movie, and “He Lives In You” only makes that more pronounced. In the Broadway version of The Lion King, “He Lives In You” is a reprise of the song “They Live In You” and takes place during the scene where Rafiki shows Simba his own reflection to show him that Mufasa is still alive.
“He Lives In You” is a beautiful song with a fantastic ensemble arrangement, and anyone who’s ever lost an important person in their life – especially a father, uncle, or grandfather – is sure to find comfort when listening to it.
What Disney ensemble songs do you love? It’s hard to choose just one – tell us in your comments which ones you love best.