For the last few days I have Beauty and the Beast on the brain. In fact I’ve been humming and quietly singing a couple of its songs all day, so of course I have to write about it. It would only be fair to all of you other Beauty and the Beast fans out there.
The thing is, it would be bland if I simply focused on the songs and music that everybody knows. The popular songs are so popular that they are used in nearly every Disney production out there. However, Beauty and the Beast is huge for Disney, with an animated film, a new live-action film, and a previously long-running Broadway show. This means there even more songs in the canon to love, use, and highlight this incredible and important story.
I personally love them all but I want to promote 5 songs that really stand out and I believe to be underrated.
So, let’s get started:
A Change In Me
A Change In Me is one Beauty and the Beast song that didn’t originate from the film, nor was it included in the tracklist when the film was first adapted for Broadway. Alan Menken and Tim Rice wrote the song specifically for Toni Braxton when she took over the role of Belle in 1998. Now the version I have included above is not sung by Toni Braxton but Susan Egan who was the first Belle after Paige O’Hara. I personally don’t like Toni’s rendition. To me it is not Belle, in style and range. It comes across as more of a pop ballad that is in line with Toni’s mainstream songs rather than one taken from a Broadway musical.
However, this version by Susan Egan is more like it. I love how she is actually performing the song and showcasing Belle’s vulnerability. The song comes at a point in the show where Belle is realising that the Beast is someone she could love and the castle is becoming her home. She is in that transitional phase, learning from what she sung in Home and I love that the song works as a mirror to Beast’s If I Can’t Love Her. It’s beautiful, enchanting, and everything I’d expect from a solo.
Also, I actually discovered the song through Disney’s On The Record CD so I first heard it sung by Ashley Brown, Broadway’s first Mary Poppins. I love this version as well as it encompasses the power of the song, and simply because the vocals are fabulous.
A song that originated from the animated film, was cut out for pacing reasons, used for the Broadway show and then introduced back into the film for a special edition. I love this song simply because it allows the other castle inhabitants to share their perspective on the curse and what future life they hope for. I also prefer the lyrics and production of the Broadway version because a) Chip gets a line or two, and b) although Beauty and the Beast doesn’t come straight after Human Again, Belle asking Beast to have dinner with her keeps that continuity going which I find very satisfying.
Days in the Sun
When I found out that Alan Menken was writing new songs for the film, I was psyched. I knew he was going to do them justice and create songs you’d automatically associate with Beauty and the Beast. I love them all but I personally have so much more love for Days in the Sun, as similarly to Human Again, it encompasses the views of everyone living under the curse. Actually, after listening very carefully to the lyrics, I’ve come to realise that this is the daughter song to Human Again and A Change in Me, expressing both themes interchangeably without having to have two different songs. It works perfectly due to the time constraints of the film. I also think this is the best example of Emma Watson’s vocals, highlighting the vulnerability in Belle’s character at this moment.
I’ll add the original version of the song too, which was unfortunately cut and edited into the one we know today.
I love this song because it brings more depth to Belle that we don’t really see that early on in the films. She’s just sacrificed her life to become Beast’s prisoner so she’s trying to work through an overwhelming onslaught of feelings and think about what her next move will be. It’s the foundation for her entire development throughout the story. Whilst the whole song is not used in the film, I love that the backing track was still worked into the instrumental score during important moments. It’s a nice nod to the Broadway show which I feel is often forgotten about nowadays.
And I know it is not seen as a reprise, but I adore the nod to Home in the End Duet/Transformation, highlighting Belle’s own journey and transformation throughout the story.
How Long Must This Go On
As a song that only consists of 10 lines, it doesn’t half pack a huge punch. I feel like this is a precursory song to If I Can’t Love Her, letting us inside Beast’s mind for such a short moment to help us understand his torment and concerns about being a beast for eternity. I think it is also the song that shows us Terence Mann’s talent for capturing Beast’s struggle. There is just an added depth to his performance that I don’t always get with Robbie Benson and Dan Stevens.
And that is that. I didn’t initially intend for nearly all of the songs to come from the Broadway musical, but after listening to it on repeat for the last few days, it does contain songs that we do forget about. I suppose for those of us who never saw the musical before its run on Broadway ended, and grew up with the animated film, (myself included – I came across the soundtrack through YouTube and other Beauty and the Beast things I read about) they’re not automatically songs we associate with Beauty and the Beast. Also, like I said above, I’ve not known Disney to use them outside of Broadway, which is a huge shame.
Enough rambling, because this post is longer than I expected it to be. Although with how much I love Beauty and the Beast, is it really that surprising?
What do you think?
What are some of your favourite underrated Beauty and the Beast songs?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!