This list was originally going to be a top ten underrated Disney songs list, which are basically songs that I like but wished were sung better. So when I found better sung versions of these songs, I decided to switch it into a top ten best Disney covers list and search for other covers to complete the set. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that this list includes some of Disney’s lesser-known songs. This is intentional. The entire purpose of this list is to introduce some new songs/renditions for those who love listening to Disney music, not necessarily the BEST covers ever. Now, time for some more disclaimers:
Number Five: Out There (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Views on YouTube: close to 100,000
So I can’t find the source where I heard this, but I swear Menken said his favorite (or proudest) soundtrack is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not The Little Mermaid. Not Beauty and the Beast. The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And while I will respectfully disagree with the man’s own perception of his work, I think I understand why he’s proud of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s just so different than what Disney usually asks him to do. Sure, you still have the “I want” song that the protagonist sings in the form of Quasimodo’s Out There, but God Help the Outcast? Angelic. Hellfire? Chilling. The big introductory Bells of Notre Dame? Epic. Menken is just so comfortably versatile in this one, nailing each scene emotionally, whether that be with a staple Disney number or with a full blown choir, making The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s soundtrack one of the most underrated of the Disney canon.
Then by no coincidence, I’ve selected Out There to make my list, as I love the song but hate the singer. I said in my review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “just because Quasimodo is physically deformed does not mean he needs to have a sub-par voice.” I mean, I think it would have made a lot of sense to have Quasimodo have a voice of a prince and a body of a monster in order to reaffirm the movie’s message of beauty being on the inside. But no. The movie completely throws out its chance to wow its audience with a stellar performance from its protagonist in order to make Quasimodo even more flawed physically.
What bothers me about Tom Hulce’s performance as Quasimodo? Too much vibrato! I mean, is he singing this song on a wooden roller coaster? Vibrato is something that can be very artistic, but not if the singer has very little control of it. His vibrato is much too quick, and never varies in frequency. Annoying as hell.
Anthony Leradi remedies this problem, with his vibrant tenor voice and wonderfully dramatic performance. What impresses me about his cover is that he takes on both Frollo’s bass part and Quasimodo’s tenor part, imbuing the Frollo part with sufficient evilness and Quasimodo’s part with brightness. I am rather conservation about saying that a cover surpasses the original, but this cover does more for me than Tom Hulce’s. Great job Anthony.