Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful phrase!
Hakuna Matata. Ain't no passin' craze
It means "no worries" for the rest of your days
It's a problem-free philosophy! Hakuna Matata!
— "Hakuna Matata", The Lion King
Life is good, ain't it? Makes you just want to sing about it. And if life isn't good... well, then sing about being happy, and some happiness is sure to come to you. And if you've got a friend whose life isn't as happy, well then maybe a song will perk up their day.
Some other guys can take their dark brooding, their angst
, their cynicism, and their responsibilities and sit in their corner somewhere. But this song is about living the good life, the free life, the happy life. Not tied down by any restrictions, you just sing to be happy, and that's all there is to it.
Basically, this song is about having a fun-loving, optimistic outlook on the world, and, above all else, no worries. Expect this sequence to be a lot lighter in tone than the rest of the plot.
Usually, this type of song is sung by a carefree individual to educate someone who doesn't know the joy of the good life, but, since the hero's journey is ultimately all about responsibility, this tends to be a Sidekick Song
, especially if the sidekick's life is a Foil
to the hero's destiny, or a song sung by the hero before The Call
screws around with his life.
Anime & Manga
Film - Animation
Film - Live Action
- The Trope Namer is "Hakuna Matata" from Disney's The Lion King, where Timon and Pumbaa tell Simba, who has just run away from his responsibilities and his life, that he doesn't need to worry about the past, because a carefree existence is much less trouble.
- Unbuilt Trope: This original version is not presented as the ideal philosophy it is often portrayed as today, and ends up becoming an obstacle Simba must throw off before he can kill Scar and claim his inheritance.
- Played straighter with Timon and Pumbaa, as The Lion King 1½ shows Hakuna Matata is definitely useful for them. It may be that Hakuna Matata applies more to them than to Simba.
- Before Hakuna Matata, the crowning example of this was probably "Bare Necessities" from Disney's The Jungle Book. Baloo tells Mowgli all about life in the jungle, where your only concern should be what's for dinner (and whether or not it's you), and no one needs any lasting anxiety.
- Before "Bare Necessities" there was "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" from Song of the South.
- "Why Should I Worry" from Oliver & Company, a Disney song created way before Hakuna Matata (the song) existed — the Dodger isn't comic relief in the end, but it's very much a "let me astonish you, young stranger, with tales of my carefree lifestyle" song.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The Movie (1998) had Slyly the fox sing "It Could Be Worse" to Rudolph after he's run away from home on how there are worse situations in the world and how he should forget his troubles.
- "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain, possibly the most obvious example of this trope. "Moses Supposes His Toeses Are Roses", a duet between the hero and comedy sidekick, also counts.
- Cross this over with a Villain Song, hand it to a Wacky Wayside Tribe that's keeping the heroine from reaching her goal, and you get "Chilly Down" from Labyrinth (here are the lyrics from the full-length version of the song on the soundtrack album).
- "Life's a Happy Song" from The Muppets.
- "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight", best known for its cover version by Tiny Tim, could be considered this.
- As one can tell from the title, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin is this sort of song. Maybe.
- "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley - the one with the chorus "'cos every little thing's gonna be alright."
- Visiting Africa, one notices a little tune emanating from the locals. Whilst the lyrics differ depending on region, it goes "Jambo, Jambo bwana, habari gani, m'zuri sana... Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata, Hakuna Matata!" It is an actual song, and very popular. (Simba is also Swahili for Lion and is heard everywhere, too)
- "Ain't Life Fine" from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
- "Bidin' My Time" from Girl Crazy, by the Gershwin Brothers that extols the slacker's philosophy.
- Rent has "Today 4 You", an upbeat and bouncy song...about killing a dog, "Out Tonight", about Mimi enjoying what time she has left, and "Santa Fe", about Collins' dream of opening a restaurant out west.
- Monty Python's Spamalot has "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," a song about how life seriously sucks but if you make the most of it, you might end up not being depressed.
- Subverted in its original presentation in Monty Python's Life of Brian, where it's being sung by a bunch of crucified people. Although it does allow them to delay until the end-credits roll, and thus not actually die.
- Though played straight in that this seems to actually be their philosophy.
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true / You'll see that life's a show, leave 'em laughing as you go
- "Happy Talk" from South Pacific.
- "All For The Best" from Godspell points out that even though life might suck, there's more to life than material wealth and that it will all even out in the end.
- "Consider Yourself" from Oliver!
- Subverted and directly referenced in The Book of Mormon with Hasa Diga Eebowai, in which the Ugandan villagers sing a happy-sounding song about how much their lives suck and how they try to make the best of it by cursing God in the most profane manner possible, and deconstructed in Turn It Off, in which the Mormon missionaries sing a toe-tapping tune about forgetting their problems by suppressing their emotions.
- "Dancing Through Life" from Wicked, though it is heavily shown that this manner of life is shallow, flippant and actually unfulfilling. The singer learns his lesson by the end of the play.
- "Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome" from Cabaret is of the darker life-sucks-but-let's-pretend-for-a-moment-it-doesn't variety.
: Leave your troubles outside! In here, life is beautiful ... the girls are beautiful ... even the orchestra is beautiful!
- The title song "Cabaret" is another:
Come taste the wine / Come hear the band / Come blow your horn, start celebrating / Right this way, your table's waiting!
- "Live, Laugh, Love" from Follies starts out as one of these.
Ben: "When the rent is owing / What's the use of tears? / I'd rather laugh, / I'd rather love, / I'd rather live / In arrears."