Whether belting out “Let It Go,” punching air to “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,” or performing “I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)” with a jaded cynicism that belies our years, most of us are familiar with the joys of a good cartoon singalong.
Yet famous Disney princess movies aren’t the only animations with impressive singable soundtracks. Many other animated films and television shows feature equally fun and catchy songs which could easily fit in on a Spotify playlist, but just don’t get as much attention as their more well-known peers from the House Of Mouse. Fortunately, this means you’re probably less likely to get tired of them due to overexposure.
In chronological order, here are seven brilliant yet underrated songs that were written for cartoons.
1. “Busted” from Phineas and Ferb
In Phineas and Ferb‘s season one episode “I Scream, You Scream,” Candace (Ashley Tisdale) and Vanessa (Olivia Olson) sing pop bop “Busted” as they attempt to expose their families’ shenanigans to their mothers. While the Disney cartoon sees the girls surveilling Phineas and Ferb and Dr. Doofenshmirtz respectively, “Busted” could just as easily be performed by someone checking up on a friend’s cheating partner.
Special mention also goes to Phineas and the Ferb-Tones’ very catchy which fans voted the best song of the show in “Phineas and Ferb Musical Cliptastic Countdown.” Seemingly influenced by The Exciters’ “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” “Gitchee Gitchee Goo” has some enjoyably strong ’60s pop hit vibes.
2. “This Is My Idea” from The Swan Princess
The Swan Princess‘ most popular song is inarguably the Golden Globe-nominated romantic duet “Far Longer Than Forever.” However, one of the film’s most enjoyable songs is “This Is My Idea,” which follows Prince Derek and Princess Odette’s relationship throughout the years.
The delightfully fun montage takes the audience from Derek and Odette’s first meeting and instant dislike of each other as children to their sudden attraction and the start of their romance as adults. “This Is My Idea” is a cute performance which establishes that the pair have known each other for their entire lives, and also features a chorus of their subjects hoping the pair’s marriage will “result in lower taxes.” A dream we can all share.
3. “The Prayer” from Quest for Camelot
Performed by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, stunning operatic duet “The Prayer” won the 1998 Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy as well. Quest for Camelot, the Warner Bros. cartoon the song was written for, featured its villain saying the line, “Now this chicken can kill.”
A direct-to-video children’s movie, Quest for Camelot follows a young girl on a journey to retrieve Excalibur after the sword is stolen from King Arthur. Unfortunately the film received disappointing reviews, leaving the critically acclaimed song “The Prayer” as its biggest impact it had on the media landscape.
4. “Deliver Us” from Prince of Egypt
Dreamwork’s Prince of Egypt retells the Biblical story of Moses, following him from his birth to leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate its incredible soundtrack, though.
It’s hard to choose just one of Prince of Egypt‘s songs for this list, since every single one is amazing. even beat out “The Prayer” to win the Oscar for Best Original Song. However, it’s the majestic opening number “Deliver Us” that immediately captivates the audience, laying out the slaves’ plight and beautifully setting the scene for everything to follow.
5. “Good Little Girl” from Adventure Time
Adventure Time has a reputation for , but the song that most deserved an extended version was “Good Little Girl.” Performed at Lumpy Space Prince’s party in fifth season episode “Bad Little Boy,” the flirty duet was sung by Fionna (Madeleine Martin) and Marshall Lee (Donald Glover) — gender-swapped versions of Finn and Marceline respectively.
Though Cake eventually joins them onstage to sing about her “two hot tomatoes,” the melodic exchange between Fiona and Marshall Lee by itself makes a sweet love song about the potential beginnings of a relationship. “Good Little Girl” was one of the last songs Rebecca Sugar wrote before leaving Adventure Time to work on Steven Universe, and she certainly left an impression.
6. “Here Comes a Thought” from Steven Universe
Steven Universe is another animation that is difficult to choose just one song from — which makes sense, considering it was created by Rebecca Sugar. The bright Cartoon Network series about alien warriors is packed full of great tunes, from the powerful to the melancholy Even its theme song is sweetly and sunnily addictive.
“Here Comes a Thought” appears in Steven Universe‘s fourth season episode “Mindful Education,” as Garnet (Estelle) teaches Stevonnie (AJ Michalka) to focus on their emotions and deal with their inner turmoil. The comforting, contemplative song is lovely to listen to even without context, and a good reminder to take the time to deal with your emotions in a healthy manner.
7. “Ready As I’ll Ever Be” from Tangled: The Series
“Ready As I’ll Ever Be” was composed with Disney musical legend Alan Menken, so there was already a high chance it was going to be an earworm. But with words by Tangled lyricist Glenn Slater and performances by Mandy Moore, Jeremy Jordan, and Eden Espinosa, there’s no wonder this song became .
Performed in Tangled: The Series’ season one finale, the Broadway-style adversarial number features Rapunzel, Varian, and Cassandra gearing up for an upcoming fight between former friends. It’s a shame this rousing song wasn’t in a Disney feature film where it might have gotten the attention it deserves.
There are a ton of other great cartoon songs as well, from The Archie Show‘s “Sugar, Sugar” to Anastasia‘s “Once Upon A December.” The next time your friends want to have a Disney karaoke night, consider shaking things up with one of these catchy tunes.