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Awesome Music / Pocahontas

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"Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"

While this film has got historical inaccuracies in spades, it makes up for it with its gorgeous animation and epic soundtrack, penned by musical legends Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

  • "The Virginia Company" is a truly splendid opening with all the drums and ceremony expected of a grand voyage send-off. It's also a bit of musical Fridge Brilliance; the gravitas is there to convince the English (and indeed the audience) that they're on a grand exploration as opposed to suppressing another culture - which will later be deconstructed once we meet the Powhatans.
  • "Steady as the Beating Drum" introduces the Powhatans, sung by a powerful chorus and illustrating their way of life beautifully. As Wahunsenacah appears for the first time, the song swells into a goosebumps-raising high (culminating in an impressive ululation), that is an undeniably epic way to open a movie.
  • "Just Around the Riverbend", the quintessential "I Want" Song, giving us the first listen to Pocahontas's singing voice (Judy Kuhn, who has played Cosette in Les MisÚrables, Betty in Sunset Boulevard and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof). It's sung while she's canoeing down a raging river, and the music and arrangement are just as exciting as what Pocahontas is doing. The original demo version of "Riverbend" was sung by Liz Callaway (best known as the singing voices of Anastasia, Kiara, and Odette), and it is just as good as that description makes you think it is.
  • "Listen With Your Heart", a soft, maternal piece sung by Grandmother Willow as she encourages Pocahontas to...well...listen with her heart. It's Irene Bedard's favorite song in the film.
  • "Mine Mine Mine" is sort of the Villain Song, but Ratcliffe makes the 'dig up the gold' plan sound very appealing through song. David Ogden Stiers's excellent vocal work is often considered the highlight of the villain who's fixated on greed. Additionally, we get a few solos where John Smith sings about wanting to find adventure in Virginia. Mel Gibson does his own singing, and it's quite pleasant.
  • "Colors of the Wind", which won Best Original Song at the Oscars and made up the majority of the promotion campaign. Some may find the Green Aesop preachy, but there are just as many who agree with it or don't care because the music is just that beautiful. The way Pocahontas's voice soars as she sings "have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon" is bound to give chills. The cover sung by Vanessa Williams is just as magnificent.
  • "Savages" is the true Villain Song, and it is equally terrifying and thrilling. The fact that it pulls no punches with some of the racist statements (one edited line that can still be heard on the soundtrack was "their whole disgusting race is like a curse") makes it all the more powerful. The whole song is grade A Nightmare Fuel along with Realism-Induced Horror. The reprise has Pocahontas joining in, singing about how she has to stop the execution before things get worse. You can hear both the desperation and passion in her voice as she rushes to save John.
  • The Cut Song "If I Never Knew You", a romantic duet between John and Pocahontas that is a huge Tear Jerker. It's their last night before John is executed in the morning, Pocahontas at this point thinks there's nothing she can do to save him and both know their people are going to destroy each other soon. All they can sing about is how grateful they are to have at least known each other in the midst of all this horror. Many call this one of the best love songs Disney ever produced (and thankfully it's re-inserted on the 10th anniversary DVD). The end credits version between Shanice and Jon Secada is likewise very powerful.
  • The original version of "Steady as the Beating Drum" was an upbeat Crowd Song called "Dancing to the Wedding Drum" that is quite catchy in its own right. Kocoum even gets a solo!
  • "The First Dance" was intended to be sung mostly by Grandmother Willow as she encouraged Pocahontas and Smith to talk things over with the tribal leaders. Though it was ultimately cut (because that moment didn't feel suited to a musical number), you can't deny it's awesome; the percussion sets a steady and upbeat pace that evokes Indigenous ceremonial dances, the lyrics beautifully and poetically illustrate the courage it takes to stand up for peace in times of chaos, and the demo singers' vocals soar (especially for the singer filling in for Grandmother Willow).
  • Written for the same spot as "The First Dance" (and abandoned for the same reasons), we have the early attempt at John and Pocahontas' romantic duet — the hopeful and majestic "In the Middle of the River".


  • "Pocahontas" is a beautiful piece that introduces the titular character, accompanied by an epic pan up the waterfall and the music soars as the wind whips through Pocahontas's hair. The perfect track to be named after our heroine.
  • "Farewell", the haunting piece that plays over the finale. Both tragic and bittersweet, it underscores the ending with a blend of tragedy and hope. The way the orchestra swells as the wind blows the ship out of Virginia and Pocahontas can only wave fitting for the rare Disney Bittersweet Ending.