Have you seen Disney’s latest movie, Moana?
I haven’t yet, but I’m addicted to the soundtrack.
Vocal and instrumental numbers both.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who wrote Hamilton, Mark Mancina the man who composed Tarzan and Brother Bear and New Zealand guitarist Opetaia Foa’i, all bring their magic touch to Moana.
All three men have great senses of humour – illustrated through their music.
Let’s start with Moana’s epic I want number – How Far I’ll Go.
The melody is bright. Auli’i Cravalho’s singing is hopeful. Happy. Determined. Inspiring.
Then you’ve got the mid-tempo, light-hearted, feel-good numbers like You’re Welcome and Shiny.
Mysterious-sounding numbers like I Am Moana.
And the rest of the soundtrack?
Percussion. Hip-hop. Acoustic guitar.
Light. Happy. Fun. Upbeat.
Dramatic. Epic. Adventure.
In animated movies, the music sounds animated. Composers are aware of this – each part of the movie communicates part of the story – each part is unique. Each instrumental track sounds animated – whether they feature clarinet, acoustic guitar or percussion – marimba.
If you love instrumentals, you’ll love Moana’s score. Hip-hop influences give this Disney movie a new type of sound. You have traditional orchestra sounds, too – like Aladdin, Tangled and Beauty and the Beast – this sound is prominent when Moana’s characters sing.
So why should you listen to Moana?
Because Moana is so much more than Disney music. Moana is musical theatre. With a pop and hip-hop twist. Moana’s music and lyrics communicate a timeless story about finding your indentity – something we can all relate to. Moana’s music and lyrics celebrate the potential that all of us have and encourage us to go for what we want, while acknowledging the challenges that we may have with should versus want. And while the movie communicates this, Moana’s music and lyrics lifts people up.
Whether or not you’re a Disney addict and have seen the movie, or are a film score addict or Lin-Manuel Miranda, or Mark Mancina or Opetaia Foa’i music addict – Moana magic is here for all of us.