Saturday, October 17, 2015


I like all kinds of music and genres, from rock to Gregorian chants. I especially enjoy music covers, when different artists perform an established song. And if they can do it in a different style or genre, all the better. It's cool to hear a rock anthem performed like a country ballad or a classical piece given a heavy metal twist. When artists have a different take on a popular song, I find myself listening to the lyrics more closely.

Today, I'm going to count down my top 5 different covers of Disney songs. Why Disney? Disney has had a big influence on music in our culture, and Disney songs have likely been covered hundreds of times by hundreds of artists.  I chose these particular tunes because of their slightly different approach to the songs.  Yes, this is a highly subjective list and there are no doubt many songs that could be included (if you have a favorite, list it in the comments below!). And who knows, next month or year I might claim a different list.

Another disclaimer: I do not necessarily endorse the individual performers in these videos or do any extensive research as to their background, values, and political views. So please do not say, "hey, I heard that guy kicks puppies, so why is he on this list?" For now, just enjoy and evaluate the songs. If someone indeed is on America's Most Wanted, I'll write about that another time.

5.  "I'll Make a Man Out of You" (Mulan)  Jackie Chan (in Chinese). 
Martial arts star Jackie Chan shows he has some halfway decent singing chops as he performs this standard from Mulan. The video is full of Chan's martial arts moves, which are more than halfway decent.

4. "I Have No Strings" (Pinocchio) Ultron
This isn't strictly a cover, but it makes you think. It was featured prominently in the trailer to the hit movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, about a maniacal sentient robot who wants to wipe out humanity. By sampling Pinnochio and bringing in Ultron to some deep dark music, it is genuinely creepy and well done. (the folks at the pop culture parody sight How it Should Have Ended have a fun take on this in their video).

3.  "Let It Go" (Frozen) Daniel Taylor
"Let It Go," the song that launched a million covers, is an inspiring and motivational song. But enter this artist who uses numerous Disney characters to belt out the tune. His skill in transitioning from one voice to another is fun to watch.

2.  "Prince Ali" (Aladdin) Jonathan Young
Metal is not my thing, unless I can understand the words. In this video, we are given a hard, energetic translation of the "Prince Ali" song that allows us to hear every single word clearly and forcefully.

1.  "Friend Like Me" (Aladdin)  Bri Ray
When I first saw this video, I was stunned. Bri Ray is not only an incredible singer, but an actress whose facial expressions and body language fit this song perfectly. Yes, it reminds me of Robin Williams' original performance, but in a unique, fresh way that would suggest, "What if the Genie was a young woman?"  Seriously, it's that good.

What are your favorites? Suggestions? Rebuttals (be nice!)? Use the comment section below.