Epic Twitter Thread Categorizes Every Disney Song Ever

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We love us some Disney songs here at The Mary Sue, and yesterday a Twitter thread went into depth analyzing the types and functions of Disney songs that was truly impressive. The thread came from Twitter user Justin McElroy (no, not that one). While he shares a name with the famous podcaster, this Justin McElroy is a reporter for CBC Vancouver, and a serious Disney scholar.

The first types of Disney songs, according to McElroy, are pretty familiar to us Disney fans. “This is the Movie” songs, which are self-explanatory, and the typical “I Want” songs.

Now, there are some quibbles here, mainly with the songs from Frozen 2, their placements in the narrative and insights are not quite the typical “I want” songs, but Frozen 2 isn’t a typical Disney film.

The next types are also pretty standard: “I’m the villain” and “We should bone.” The villain songs are, it should be noted, often some of the best in the movie. However, some songs like “Lost in the Woods,” didn’t quite fit the “I want” category. I’m not sure if “I won’t say I’m in love” fits here.

And then there’s the “cheer up, kid” song, a category that makes sense, and is, again, a showcase for some great songs. Now here’s where we get into the really interesting stuff.

Can we also talk about how great it is that Pooh has so many songs here just about how much he likes eating? That’s why Pooh is the best.

I like this a lot, and it fits all of these songs really well, as do the next categories …

Does the Reindeer song really fit here? Well, it’s fine. And after that, it’s time to cry. And dance!

Now, I’m not sure if the finale of Moana really fits here, but as we’ve talked about here, Moana is a really unique film in the Disney canon for the way it uses music as a finale. And could “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” work as a dance song too?

Why must we remember the Tarzan song gorilla song? Why?

But now we get into some real rarities.

Again. Tarzan. Just why?

Some of these types are very specific to particular films or film types. But they still work for the larger structure, mostly.

And now a Disney specialty: The weird drug song! A classic! Justin didn’t include Fantasia in his study, but we could probably put all of it in the “drug song” category.

And now, finally, those songs that … it’s best not to talk about. There are some real stinkers in the problematic category, for sure. We could also put the entirety of Song of the South in here.

And there we have it. Amazing work, Justin!

(image: Disney)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.