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“While “Encanto” tells a captivating story of generational trauma and unrealistic standards, there are also themes of reconciliation, independence, and growing up,” writes VOX ATL’s Nick Harris.

VOX ATL Ranks the Songs of ‘Encanto,’ the Disney Movie Taking Over the World

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Let’s talk “Encanto,” and the soundtrack that has taken over the world. Disney’s newest film, released on Disney+ on November 24, is now everywhere. School, work, and not to mention TikTok where #Encanto has generated over 10.6 billion views. Although the film is a brilliantly executed story of generational trauma, the real star is the soundtrack featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “In The Heights,” “Moana”). 

While everybody (including myself) is undeniably in love with every single song, some are better than others. Finally, after weeks of deliberation, I think it’s time to share my ranking and review of every song on the soundtrack, and declare just one as the best (P.S. It’s not “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”).

To make this easier, I’ve sorted the soundtrack into tiers of two to three tracks each, from worst to best. It’s also noteworthy that “Colombia, Mi Encanto” is absent from the list, simply because the song doesn’t do much to contribute to the overall premise of the movie. Without further ado, here we go.

Tier 3 – :/

These tracks aren’t necessarily bad. It’s just that they don’t stand a chance in comparison with the songs featured in tiers two and one. 

  1. “Waiting On A Miracle”

Wow… what a lousy introduction to such a vibrant character. I’m not quite sure what went wrong in the process of curating “Waiting On A Miracle,” the viewer’s first introduction to the film’s protagonist, Mirabel. Although the track features thoughtful lyrics and a pleasant chorus, it’s just absolutely exhausting to listen to. Quite sad, considering that  Stephanie Beatriz really does sell the track to the best of her ability, and she sounds brilliant doing it. The real issue with the song lies within the listening experience.

The stripped-back guitar at the beginning of the track coming directly before a racing beat really makes you think that a grand or triumphant-sounding chorus is waiting for you, when you’re met with quite the opposite. The chorus is dull and the hook lacks catchiness of any kind. Not to mention that lyrically speaking, the song reveals nothing about Mirabel as a character … except for the fact that she doesn’t have a gift. While yes, this is a major part of her character, Mirabel deserves a better introduction than this. 

Mirabel is strong, witty, and tries to assist the Madrigal family in any way that she can while being limited. Maybe if the song was centered around that instead of a pity party for the protagonist, it’d be somewhere else on my list besides last place.

  1. “All Of You”

I mean, it’s nice… I guess. Serving as the closing track and what felt like the 12th interpolation of “The Family Madrigal,” “All Of You” delivers lovely themes of reconciliation and healing. The family home Casita falls apart and the neighborhood helps the Madrigals rebuild it during this track. However, the sentiment can’t make this song more enjoyable than it actually is. 

Clocking in at just over four minutes, “All Of You” isn’t offensively long or boring, and the structure of the song isn’t bad at all. However, that’s quite possibly the biggest problem with this track: it’s just there. I couldn’t name anything outstanding or colorful about the song, and for a movie as vibrant as “Encanto,” you would think the closing track would pack more of a punch. 

I have to admit that a large part of the reason for this track being so low in my ranking is my personal vendetta against Abuela. While seeing her welcomed back into the Madrigal family with open arms is lovely, it really shows how forgiving Mirabel can be. If I was in her shoes, it would take way more than a doorknob to heal years of emotional damage. Even Bruno’s return on this track is a bit disappointing, his verse lacks structure altogether and really disrupts the song entirely. Perhaps that’s the most frustrating part of “All Of You,” it’s not bad…. just disappointing.

Tier 2 – Finally, We’re Getting Somewhere!

These songs are great!!! Not quite as good as Tier 1, but they do what is needed.

  1. “What Else Can I Do”
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BRING IT IN, BRING IT IN. Now this is how you introduce a character. “What Else Can I Do” is the viewer’s first real introduction to Mirabel’s sister, Isabela, whose gift is “being perfect.” More specifically, she’s able to spawn flowers out of thin air. The song explores themes of individuality and seeing the beauty in the imperfections. Once Isabela spawns a cactus instead of a blossom, she has an epiphany during this track and realizes that she doesn’t need to be perfect, and she’s good enough the way she is. 

Isabela is assisted by Mirabel during this track, and Mirabel honestly steals the show. With her infectious “BRING IT IN, BRING IT IN” in the second verse, and the warm interpolation of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” she really sells this song. Personally, I believe that the best moments on this track are the moments the sisters share together, and the hug at the very end is a real tear-jerker.  

Sonically speaking, the song is brilliant. It feels freeing and lively, and although the opening verses are a bit bland, the end marks a beautiful culmination of harbored feelings between the two sisters — and one of the most heartwarming moments of the entire film. 

  1. “Surface Pressure”

It’s so relatable, it hurts. Lin-Manuel Miranda really outdoes himself in the songwriting process of this track. “Surface Pressure is the first time we see another side to Luisa, whose gift is being the strongest Madrigal, physically. The song talks about how although she’s able to move mountains, churches, and homes, she feels weaker than any of the other Madrigals.

Although Luisa has lots of physical pressure on her, she also has the symbolic pressure that comes with being the perceived backbone of the family. As the oldest of three myself, the line “Give it to your sister, your sister’s stronger, give her all the heavy things we can’t shoulder,” really resonated with me. Nobody talks about the pressures of constantly being a role model when you’re the older sibling. It’s exhausting to always have eyes on you, and this song really captures that.

The track opens with Luisa reciting positive affirmations before slowly breaking and admitting that she’s actually quite weak on the inside. While the verses are dark and somewhat pessimistic, the bridge shows some optimism from Luisa, and lets the viewer into a world without pressure. The beat grabs you and the lyrics keep you interested, it’s clear that “Surface Pressure is the best track by a soloist on the soundtrack, and some of the most relatable work in Disney’s catalog.

Tier 1 – Wow

These songs are all stellar, and trying to rank them was not an easy task. But it has to be done, so here we go!

  1. “The Family Madrigal”
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Wow…. What an opener! There’s not much I could say about “The Family Madrigal” that isn’t already in the song. With Stephanie Beatriz delivering a whopping five stellar verses in just over two and a half minutes, it’d be an understatement to say that this song is packed with power. There’s never a dull moment, and each member of the Madrigal family gets a glowing verse that sounds completely different from everything else you’ve heard in the song thus far. 

I mean, there’s truly nothing wrong with this track. The beat is bouncy and each of the verses flows so well into the next. The song interpolates both “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and “Dos Oruguitas,” and the easter eggs featured throughout the track are so satisfying to go back and notice after a full watch of the movie. This is one of my favorite openings of any Disney movie in recent years, and it really sets the tone for what the rest of “Encanto” has in store. 

If I had one critique, it’d be that the song doesn’t build to a grand finale, and the sudden beat drop at the end isn’t a very satisfying ending to such a grand opening track. But regardless of that, the song is stellar from start to finish, and there’s not much I’d change about it. I really do wish I could rank it a bit higher, but I can’t deny the quality of the following two tracks.

  1. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”

Wow… what a moment. As I’m writing this, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno has earned a staggering 100 million views on YouTube, and the hashtag #wedonttalkaboutbruno has garnered 1.6 BILLION views on TikTok. The song reached the #1 spot in the UK, becoming the first original Disney song in history to do so. It’s also noteworthy that the 1.6 billion views the song’s hashtag has on TikTok is a greater figure than the sum of every single song on this list combined. It’s an immense understatement to say that this song is… everywhere — work, school, radio, the internet. It’s truly impossible to escape “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” 

The success of the song is well deserved. The hook is infectious, and every verse featured in the track builds onto the previous. The song builds to a calm bridge where Isabela and Dolores recite Bruno’s visions for their futures before a grand finale featuring every verse previously performed in the song overlapping with one another. This song is perfect, it’s dark but it’s catchy, it’s upbeat but it slows down just in the right places, all of the verses sound different, but they all make so much sense in context of one another. 

For context, Mirabel discovers one of Bruno’s old visions, and when she asks about Bruno, it leads to one of the greatest Disney moments in recent history. With Isabela declaring that he said she deserves the life of her dreams, and Dolores speaking of unrequited love, the contrast between everyone involved in the track makes for an insanely engaging listen. It’s a stellar introduction to the Madrigal family outcast, and it shows how everyone has a completely different experience with Bruno. 

This song truly hits all the marks, what a shame that there’s just one other track that takes it over the top. While “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is certainly the catchiest track, it’s not the best song, and that’s OK to admit.

  1. “Dos Oruguitas”
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Wow. “Dos Oruguitas” is a soft guitar ballad that shows the history of the Madrigal family. While all of the other songs featured on this list advance the plot in some way, “Dos Oruguitas” is the first track to take a few steps back and look at where it all began. Lin-Manuel Miranda uses the analogy of two hungry caterpillars learning to grow independently, and waiting to see what happens after the “rearranging.” The viewer sees how Abuela and Pedro were forced to flee their homes and by the end of the song, the caterpillars turn into butterflies that can fly independently. 

Abuela tells this story to Mirabel, and the two are able to reach some form of mutual understanding through the song. It’s the first time the viewer can truly understand why Abuela is so hard on the other Madrigals, and why she feels the need to protect the miracle. Although I might be hard on Abuela, I suppose I can understand why she put so much pressure on the rest of the family. Maybe – just maybe – I understand. 

The song starts out slow and relaxing before growing into a grand bridge that serves as the most satisfying moment in the entire soundtrack. This is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first song written and performed entirely in Spanish, and Sebastián Yatra does an outstanding job of portraying the emotion poured into every lyric. It’s a beautiful culmination of the entire film and mandates tears with every listen. 

While “Encanto” tells a captivating story of generational trauma and unrealistic standards, there are also themes of reconciliation, independence, and growing up. “Dos Oruguitas” provides context for the pain, but it also shows the viewer how the Madrigal family can heal and start moving forward. “Dos Oruguitas” is the epitome of everything this movie is about, and as butterflies surround Mirabel and Alma toward the end of the track, it’s very clear how magical “Encanto” truly is.

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