Top 5 Villain Songs in Disney Movies
Disney has provided us with some fantastic songs, many of which have counted as pop hits in their own right. A good example of this is the uplifting and catching tune Let it Go from the 2013 movie Frozen.
Most people know at least one Disney song and these tunes, often sweet or motivating, hold fond memories for many adults across the globe. As well as the heroes having great songs about their dreams or struggles, some of the well-loved Disney villains also have their own tune where they sing about their evil desires. Here are my top five favourite Disney villain songs, plus some honourable mentions.
5. My Lullaby (Lion King II: Simba's Pride)
The Lion King was a huge hit when it was released in 1994, and the sequel was released in 1998 telling the story of Simba's daughter, Kiara, and her friendship with a lion from the forbidden Outlands, Kovu, who was adopted by Scar, the antagonist from the first movie.
Kovu's mother, Zira, only wants revenge for Scar's death and is determined to bring up Kovu to hate Simba and to eventually kill him to take the throne. Her haunting song, My Lullaby - with admittedly dark lyrics for a children's movie - is incredibly cool.
4. Mother Knows Best (Tangled)
Tangled, based on the classic tale of Rapunzel, came out in 2010 and remains the favourite of many Disney fans today. This sweet movie tells the story of Rapunzel, born as a princess with beautiful golden hair that she got from the healing powers of a flower her mother drank when deathly ill. Gothel, a witch who used the flower's powers to keep her young and beautiful, kidnaps Rapunzel and locks her in a tower, pretending to be her mother so she can continue using her hair to keep herself young.
To find the lost princess, the royal family releases golden lanterns on Rapunzel's birthday in her memory and hoping she'll someday return to the kingdom. As she can see them from her tower, Rapunzel longs to find out what they are and leave her tower to go and watch them. When she asks her "mother", Gothel sings this song to convince her to stay.
The song is pretty scary because it shows how narcissistic and manipulative this villainous character really is. See how she touches Rapunzel's hair every time she mentions her love for her "daughter"?
3. Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
Beauty and the Beast is a gorgeous movie, released once as a cartoon in 1991 and again as a live-action masterpiece in 2017. Gaston, a handsome yet devilish young man, lusts after Belle, who doesn't return his affections at all. He doesn't actually love her, but wants to marry her and "win" her love. When he's feeling annoyed that he can't catch her, his best friend sings about how wonderful he is.
Both versions of Gaston are brilliant. The animated version is below, but you can listen to the live-action version here.
2. Be Prepared (The Lion King)
The Lion King was hugely successful and is loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Mufasa, king of the Pride Lands, has a baby boy, much to his brother Scar's disgust. Scar knows that with his brother's son, he's got no hope of becoming king. He plans to kill his brother and his nephew, Simba, and take the throne for himself.
Scar sings a fantastically wicked song about killing the king and taking Pride Rock, all the while promising bountiful food for the hyenas who follow him and carry out his wishes. Give this great tune a listen.
1. Hellfire (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. Justice Claude Frollo pursues a gypsy woman, thinking that her baby is stolen goods, and she fatally falls when he snatches her baby from her arms. The priest appears in time to stop Frollo from killing the child too, saying that he'll go to hell if he doesn't redeem himself by taking care of the baby.
Frollo keeps the child in the bell tower and calls him Quasi Modo. 20 years later, Quasi sneaks out of the tower to watch a festival, where he and Frollo meet Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy. Frollo finds himself infatuated with her and confuses his lust with what he describes as evil witchcraft.
The song Hellfire is quite simply a masterpiece, haunting and with some fantastic animation, showing how twisted beliefs and bigotry can turn people to madness. This is definitely the best villain song in Disney.
Honourable mentions include Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid, where the antagonist, an octopus named Ursula, offers Princess Arial a human body in exchange for her voice, all in a plot to take the throne and rule over the sea. Another runner-up to this list is Friends on the Other Side from The Princess and the Frog, which an evil magician sings before he turns the handsome prince into an amphibian.
Disney employs some of the best songwriters in the world and continues to bring us fantastic tunes that we just love to sing along to! Is there a villain song you love that wasn't on this list? Which one do you like best?