Frozen wins two Oscars, baby!
I shouted at the television. I chanted. I DEMANDED Frozen win the Oscars because Jesus HG Wells it needed to happen. That movie was everything Disney needs to strive to become and so much more. And there was a reason Idina Menzel was the last to go on, because seriously. No one can follow her act.
But we’re not here to talk about the Oscars. Lord knows twitter has already been broken. We’re here to talk about the power song. Or the power ballad. Or the anthem, the montage, whatever the hell you want to call it, we’re going to talk about it.
The power song is prevalent in every Disney movie since the company first got started on a train. They’re the song our main character sings when they’re looking for direction in their life or have come to some realisation about themselves.
Hercules had one:
And because Disney isn’t the only company that uses music to further the plot, Anastasia (who should have won all kinds of awards) had one too:
Among many others that include and is not limited to: The Quest For Camelot, Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and too many more to name.
In movies, the power song allows us to further identify with the main character and their plight. It has become practically cliche in animated movies these days that, walking into one, you basically expect the damn thing to happen. This isn’t to say that the characters have to sing the song, but that there is one within the movie. Toy Story had ‘I Will Go Sailing No More’ for example. It’s a way to tell more of the story without trying to figure out exactly how to tell the story. Well, okay, more of the story. It’s the bit that’s told in around three minutes that Lawrence of Arabia took three hours to tell. A song gives an idea shape and allows for details to be revealed without needing an explanation as to why.
A character grows in some way.
Or digresses in another.
Maybe gains a purpose.
Power songs aren’t kept to the movies, however.
Writers use them too.
Well, this writer does, anyway.
I can’t write in the quiet. That just drives me nuts. I don’t always write to music, either. I’ve got a great little detective story going that I write whilst I listen to The Adventures of Sam Spade and The Shadow.
For my books, however, I have a playlist. And sometimes, sometimes, there is a song that strikes a chord; a song I listen to again and again and again until the scene is written because it is the song that says exactly what I need it to say.
For The Nightly-Edition, it was Skillet’s Monster. Not that I’m a huge Christian Rock fan, but Melanie is a monster and she needed to let it out.
Annie has Fall Out Boy’s The Phoenix because it’s a dystopian steampunk/zombie novel that I’m writing and Annie has a lot of growing up to do inside an airship that holds more than the living dead.
And Let It Go is Bella’s song. Because Carousel is more than a Wonderland story. Somewhere down the line it became a book about a girl who rejects who she is and faces the consequences of that rejection. The song literally shaped two and a half chapters in the book and gave me the plot of the story.
It’s also the song that I belt out at the top of my lungs. In the Volks. When no one else is around. Along with a slew of other Broadway and Disney tunes.
Because that’s how I roll.
What’s your power song?