Tomorrow is Father’s Day so have a Dad Themed meta! What better way to express your love for Dad than with music? There are two Disney songs and one non-Disney song that are Dad centered. Let’s dive in!
Father and Son
In the third Aladdin movie, Aladdin finally met his long lost father. They have a strained relationship on account of Cassim being absent (and the fact that he’s The King of Thieves—minor detail). In this song, Genie tries to help them make some positive progress in their relationship.
And boy do they need it…
This song is different than the ones we’re gonna talk about because it’s not the kid and parent singing. Instead it is someone else commenting on a father/son relationship.
It’s a big bright beautiful future
Thank you your lucky stars, you’re alive
You’ve got someone special to talk to
A friend that you can trust for life
I love the optimism here, the notion that any relationship can be fixed or mended. Sometimes families become estranged and there’s bad blood there forever, which is just really sad. But Genie is here to tell you that as long as you’re both alive, there’s always a chance things can get better.
The second line also literally relates to Aladdin and Cassim, since Aladdin did think his dad was dead for basically his whole life. Shame on Disney for killing family so often or keeping them alive and separating them.
Next, “special someone to talk to” is a really sweet line. Usually moms are the parent you’re supposed to turn to with your problems because women are more interested in sharing their feelings, but here, dads are friends and trustworthy and they’ll have your back forever. This is similar with the idea that no one will ever love you as much as your family.
You’ve been on your own with no family ties
But those solo days are done
You’ll be two of a kind
Spending quality time
Together as father and son
Again, this stanza starts with referencing the estrangement and this becomes more pronounced as the song goes on. Aladdin and Cassim have both been separated, alone, and while their reconciliation will make them two of a kind since they’ll be together, they already are. They’re both thieves (or, Aladdin was) and they’ve both been alone. They already have things in common. Once they spend some time together, they’ll be able to see how similar they are and become two peas in a pod, basically.
Building model ships
Taking fishing trips
Working hand in hand
Painting the palace and moving the sand
First ten to go, with your daddy-o
Once you break the ice
You can postulate paternal advice
Here is a list of typical “Dad Things.” Building things, fishing, the visuals also show them playing football together. But then we’re back to the estrangement (“break the ice”) and that good can come out of it if they just work through it.
It’s a fine fantobulous future
I see fruit on the family tree
You’ll be great as the grumpy old grand-pa
Bouncing babies on your knee
You can fall asleep on the comfy couch
After playing one on one
Dreaming back to back
That you walloped the Shaq
Together as father and son
There’s a bunch going on here. The Shaq reference at the end again ties back to sports and things Aladdin and his dad can do together. But I like this idea of family continuing to expand and that one day, Aladdin and Jasmine will have kids so not only is Cassim gaining his son, he’s also gaining grandkids and a daughter-in-law and father-in-law. Cassim may have missed all of this with his son, but he gets to watch his son do what he couldn’t and be supportive and have a relationship with him now. Plus he gets to meet his adorable grandkids and love them. Estranged family members miss out on those big moments in life when they let things get in the way. The genie does not want that for Aladdin and Cassim.
Maybe a bumpy ride
We’ll make it side by side
Good afternoon, I’ll be your travel guide
Move over, laddie,
Make room for Daddy
Gotta whole new shoulder to cry on
“Bumpy ride” takes us back to the fact that this isn’t gonna happen overnight. There’s probably a lot of anger, resentment, and sadness to work through. All relationships take time. They’re messy. They’re hard and painful. But the benefits, like gaining someone to build model ships with. 😉
We talked about earlier how a father here gets to be someone you can talk to and in this stanza we also see he’s a shoulder you can cry on. That’s really nice, especially to tell boys. Our society conditions boys not to cry, which is really damaging. This song includes all the masculine things like sports and fishing and also says you can talk and you can cry and that’s perfectly normal. Props to you, Disney. You did something good.
Take a chance now give it a spin
You’ve had chums for palin’ around with
But you’ve never had a friend like him
Put your checkered past behind you now
No more living on the run
Face the big bright beautiful future
Together as father and son
We’ve reached the end! So let’s just start with the callback to movie one, Friend Like Me. The song purposefully classifies family and friends differently. We like to say friends are the family you choose for yourself, or friends feel like family, but there’s also the saying blood is thicker than water. And since this is a song about how awesome a relationship with your dad is, of course, they’re going with the latter.
We end right back where we started, with the future and all the possibilities that lie ahead. The estrangement and isolation doesn’t need to be permanent. They just need to make the choice.
On My Father’s Wings
Our next song selection is from Quest for Camelot. This one is different from above since Kayley sings this just after her father has died. What you need to know is: Kayley adored her father. Her dad = who she wanted to be. So now her hero has literally died/been murdered. This is where Kayley affirms her mission to live up to the man her father was, to be like him, to remember him.
This song is very straightforward. The visuals are really what matters. Kayley goes back to the beach she used to visit her with dad. She draws the symbol of the knights, the three intertwined rings, and actually has a flashback to when they would play together.
Quest for Camelot is all about Kayley wanting to be a knight, but being told she can’t because she’s a girl. Her father was the only person that believed she could be a knight and when she loses him, she doesn’t know how to escape society’s expectations, but knows she still wants to.
And I will fly on my father’s wings
To places I have never been
There is so much I’ve never seen
And I can feel his heart beat still
And I will do great things
On my father’s wings
This world I’ll never see
My dreams that just won’t be
This horse’s stride, with one day’s ride
Will have covered more distance than me
Kayley still feels her father with her, which is a beautiful message about the people we love never leaving us.
Someday, with his spirit to guide me
And his memory beside me
I will be free
To fly on my father’s wings
To places I have never been
Kayley is trapped tending a farm, what she’s supposed to do. So she turns it into an adventure, using the pitchfork as pole vault, a jousting stick, and finally hitting the bulls eye with it. She uses a spoon and bucket cover as a sword and shield.
Kayley’s inspiration to be a knight stems from her father. If he wasn’t her father, she seriously would not be the person we see on film.
This tells us that dads matter so much to the development of a child. Even Aladdin was affected by not having a father since earlier in the film he tells Jasmine that he feels like he comes from nowhere, like he just appeared out of thin air. Even in movie one he hated being referred to as a street rat, like he was worthless. He didn’t have a father in his life to take care of him or build up his self-esteem like Kayley did.
Nobody Else But You
Do you remember this Goofy Movie tune? I did not. (Props to Mel for reminding me!)
Before the song starts, Max and Goofy are mid-fight and they are really going at it. Max resent being treated like a kid, but to Goofy, Max is his kid. Goofy’s just trying to figure out what his role is now that Max is growing up and doesn’t want him around as much. Cue the sad feels.
But then the song starts and all the happy feels! They totally make peace and love each other to bits.
There are times you drive me, shall we say, bananas
And your mind is missing, no offense, a screw
Still, whatever mess I land in
Who is always understandin’?
Nobody else but you
Oh, your moodiness is now and then, bewilderin’
And your values may be, so to speak, askew
I love how it’s Max that makes the effort to go first and it takes him a few tries to get it going. Goofy and Max both have their differences, but none of that really matters in the long run. Family and dads in particular, are there for you when you mess up. Say you impersonate a pop star to get the girl and then tell her you know that pop star and will be on stage at his concert and give her a shout out and then have to highjack your father/son bonding trip to make it happen.
Goofy, for his part, is just dealing with what all parents do: that shift that happens when kids become teenagers. Parents have a hard game to play because they need to give their kids space to learn on their own, figure out who they are, and let them make their own choices. Teenage years are that inbetween phase and it’s hard for everyone involved.
Nobody else but you
It’s just our luck
We’re stuck together
Nobody else but you
Is crazy enough to believe we’ll come through
Parents pretty much always have your back. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, sometimes my mom flat out has to tell me, “I’m always on your side.” We don’t get to pick our parents and parents do not get to pick their kid. It really is luck, pretty much, that got us here. That’s what family is. There are hard times and confusing times and sad times, but family are the people you’re always supposed to have in your corner. They’re automatically there for you.
So your jokes are all, let’s face it, pre-historic
And your music sounds like monkeys in a zoo
But when life becomes distressin’
Who’ll I be S.O.S’in?
See, your automatic. They’re who you call when shit goes to hell. No matter what your differences, big or small, material or moral, you’re stuck with them so suck it up. No, kidding. But it’s nice. Sadly, not everyone does have their automatic. But adoptive parents and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and even good friends can be that automatic, too. Because really, it was luck you got them, too.
Hard times we’ve had a few
Like we’re thrown in the drink
Like we’re tossed outta town
But when I start to sink, than I’d rather go down
With nobody else but Y-O-U!
The visuals here have them actually sinking since they get sucked in a whirlpool, which is a silly animation touch. This ending section is pretty much everything I’ve been saying. Like Aladdin and Cassim and their hard times, Goofy and Max have had something more akin to ‘normal problems’ but if all you have are ‘normal problems’ then well… they feel like big problems. But both pairs of fathers and sons were able to work it out in the end. Cause, family.
In what was probably the cheesiest meta in AM history…
No, but seriously. Okay all these songs are nice and all, but why are they all between fathers and sons? There are way more daughter/dad duos in animation. Especially in Disney with their KILL THE MOM fetish. That leaves so many princesses with fathers (Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, & Pocahontas) (Aurora, Hercules, Mulan all had moms also, but their dads arguably played a much larger role in their stories.) The Lion King was also largely about Mufasa and Simba, while Sarabi had a very minor role. If you go the Pixar route, look at The Incredibles which yes, featured a family, but the dad had the biggest storyline.
Turn to Dreamworks and The Croods is about a family, but again largely revolves around the father character. Even in the Shrek franchise we meet Fiona’s dad and Shrek 2 is largely about Shrek and Fiona’s dad finding common ground. How to Train Your Dragon finds Hiccup without a mother, though this is rectified in part two (so amazing), but the dad so far has played a much larger role in the story. Maybe this will be different in movie 3 (if we get one/are we getting one?).
From other studios, we have Despicable Me, which focuses on a foster/adoptive father. Could Gru have been a woman? In The Swan Princess, Odette’s mother dies in the very beginning and though her father dies a bit later into the film, she was still raised by him and seemingly close. Look at how many more father figures feature prominently in animated movies. Anastasia is mostly about Anya and her grandma, but in the beginning, before it all goes to shit, Anya dances with her father and then imagines dancing with him again in Once Upon a December.
While I am unhappy with the lack of mom-rep, the amount of dad-rep is overwhelming. So why few songs about dad and family? Why does romance get all the best songs?
However, for the songs we do get, they’re all positive. It’s good. All is happy in animated-dad land. Unless you’re Kayley’s dad.
Happy Father’s Day.
Who is your fave animated dad?