Created By: HiddenFacedMatt on July 27, 2011 Last Edited By: HiddenFacedMatt on August 4, 2011

Movie Song Versatility

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This song is so touching, especially for overseas students.
- This video's description of Barking At The Moon, a song about a dog trying to find his way home.

When a song is written for a movie, its lyrics and its context in the movie are adjusted to fit each other; the idea, then, is to have a musical moment that is still very clearly connected to the movie's plot at that point in time... but what if a song could work both there AND elsewhere, or even to a variety of contexts?

Movie song versaility is about, well, the versatility of such songs in such movies. The idea is to have a balance between being clear that the song was written for this movie, while still making clear that it can be applied to other contexts as well.


  • Disney seem to be champions of this trope.
    • "Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book. The point in-context is to show how carefree Baloo is, but despite the jungle-centric examples of what he's talking about, it's a song that could easily be used by others to express similar attitudes.
    • This arguably applies to several songs in The Rescuers. They're written to illustrate the theme of a particular context, but still have mostly general lyrics.
    • Oliver & Company has "Why Should I Worry," "Streets Of Gold," and "Good Company." Even "Perfect Isn't Easy" can be applied to fashion in general instead of just Georgette's.
    • Beauty and the Beast has "Be Our Guest" which though applied to talking furniture and talking dishes can be interpreted to apply to restaurants in general.
    • Aladdin has "One Jump Ahead" which can be applied to the Sympathetic Criminal in general, or "A Whole New World" which can be applied to discovering new things in general.
    • The Lion King has "Circle Of Life" (which is more of a philosophical song just played for the intro, rather than having characters involved) and "Hakuna Matata," which is, again, about carefree lifestyles.
    • Hunchback of Notre Dame has "God Help The Outcast" which is about compassion in general, even if it's just written for Esmeralda's concern for the poor at that point in time.
    • Mulan has "Reflection," which though written in the context of her failing a matchmaker assessment, can be applied to issues of not meeting social expectations in general.
    • Bolt has, of course, the above song referenced in the tentative page quotation.
  • Of course, Disney has no monopoly here... Dreamworks has "Miracle Child" from Joseph: King of Dreams.
Community Feedback Replies: 5
  • July 27, 2011
    It's an interesting discussion, but it might be too subjective to trope. In some ways it's an Audience Reaction, but it's a very individual one. If it's launched, maybe it should go on Sugar Wiki.
  • July 27, 2011
    Extremely subjective - judging from the Aladdin example, you're basically saying it's any movie song that doesn't actually have the name of a character in it.
  • July 27, 2011
    Actually, the One Jump Ahead example does have the name Aladdin in it. It basically can apply to any song with any emotion that people can relate to from what I can see.
  • August 3, 2011
    More to lyrics that are (mostly) applicable to other contexts than the ones they're presented in. A few lines don't negate this.

    But yeah, this is probably going to be subjective. The level of versatility is open to interpretation anyway.
  • August 4, 2011
    I'd have trouble thinking of a song that doesn't fit, at least anything that's not an Expository Theme Tune. Music is used in movies to express emotions, and naturally since we're all the same species those emotions are going to be ones that the audience can relate to. That's the whole point.

    Take the soundtrack of any of those movies, I guarantee you can make the same kind of connections to any one of the songs.