Has there been a more highly anticipated movie soundtrack this year than Moana's? A Disney animated musical comes with very high expectations to begin with. Add to those expectations the fact that Disney tapped Hamilton genius Lin Manuel Miranda to collaborate with South Pacific Fusion songwriter Opetaia Foa'i and composer Mark Mancina on the score, and the buzz gets even louder. Moana will be in theaters Nov. 23 (just in time for post-Thanksgiving dinner screenings!), but its soundtrack is already out in the world. The Moana album features 14 vocal tracks plus a second volume with the film's score, outtakes, and demos. To prepare for the movie, I've ranked all 14 songs on the Moana soundtrack. Because though they're all good, one has to be the best.
Moana didn't skimp on its voice casting, that's for sure. The lead is played by newcomer Auli'i Cravalho; the demigod Maui is voiced by your 2016 People Sexiest Man Alive, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson; and Flight Of The Conchords star Jemaine Clement lends his pipes to a villainous crab. You'll also hear the voices of Hamilton actor Chris Jackson, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople's Rachel House, plus a triumphant chorus. A few of these songs will probably be Oscar contenders; read on to see what we're
14. "Tulou Tagaloa"
13. "We Know The Way (Finale)"
12. "How Far I'll Go (Reprise)"
11. "An Innocent Warrior"
10. "How Far I'll Go" By Alessia Cara
9. "Know Who You Are"
8. "You're Welcome" By Jordan Fisher Featuring Lin Manuel Miranda
7. "Where You Are"
6. "Logo Te Pate"
5. "We Know The Way"
4. "I Am Moana (Song Of The Ancestors)"
I'm always here for an over-dramatic Disney villain, and Jermaine Clement is a brilliant casting choice. "Shiny" will become a favorite of kids especially, with lyrics like, "I just love free food, and you look like seafood."
2. "You're Welcome"
Johnson is probably one of the world's most likable celebrities, so it's about time he lent his charm to a Disney musical. "You're Welcome" is an ode to harmless arrogance, as Maui takes credit for all the gifts he's so selflessly given to humanity. And maybe I'm the kind of person who hears Hamilton everywhere, but this song reminds me of King George's oblivious musical boasts.
1. "How Far I'll Go"
"How Far I'll Go" will be talked about as Moana's answer to the Frozen showstopper, "Let It Go." Cravalho's vocals are warm and impressive. And the lyrics, about a girl who wants more and doesn't know how to silence that voice, will strike a chord with all the dreamers in the audience.
I'm delighted to report that Moana's soundtrack is everything I hoped for from this incredible cast and crew. It's going to be a challenge not to sing along when I finally see the real thing.
Image: Walt Disney Studios