Jasmine's Solos Ranked

Another Aladdin production, another Jasmine song. With the recent addition of "Speechless," Jasmine has had a different solo song in every incarnation of the story. Yes, "A Whole New World" is consistently used as the romantic duet, but it is not seen as Jasmine's signature song in the same way that "Part of Your Wold," "Someday My Prince Will Come," or "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" is associated with their respective princesses because it is just as much Aladdin's song as it is Jasmine's. While Ariel and Rapunzel have many original solos scattered throughout The Little Mermaid and Tangled series, the Aladdin series sadly did not contain any original songs. As a result, Jasmine's songs are buried within so many different productions of Aladdin that even die-hard fans might have trouble finding them all. That's why I decided to compile this list of my top three Jasmine solos along with a little background on the ones they didn't make the cut. Not eligible for this list are the songs "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, "Forget About Love" from Return of Jafar, "Out of Thin Air" from Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and "The Ride of Our Lives" from Sofia the First because Jasmine only sings roughly 50% of those songs.


# 3 - "I've Got My Eyes On You"

(Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams)



This is a song that a lot of Jasmine fans are unaware of due to the complete and utter failure of the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales series. This direct-to-DVD series was created in the same vein as the Aladdin, Little Mermaid, and Tangled series, except that instead of focusing on one movie universe, each volume was supposed to feature two random Disney Princesses and an overarching theme. However, the series bombed so hard that it never made it past the first volume even though it contained previews of songs and clips from future episodes. The song "I've Got My Eyes On You" is from the only volume that did get released that features a Princess Aurora Story and a Princess Jasmine story. Even though the animation, writing, and acting in both episodes were pretty bad, this song was the only decent thing about it. If the Aladdin series had contained songs, I could easily see "I've Got My Eyes On You" being included in an episode. Jasmine sings it to her late mother's horse Sahara to calm and tame it. Though the song has a uniquely Arabian melody, it's also reminiscent another beloved Disney Princess series song of mine, "The Edge of the Edge of the Sea" in which Ariel tames a wild sea horse named Stormy in a similar manner. Lea Salonga delivers a beautiful performance full of sincerity and passion, which is why this song makes it into my top three.

#2 - "Speechless"

(Naomi Scott - Aladdin Live-Action 2019)



"Speechless" is the latest ballad in the soundtrack of Princess Jasmine's life, and it looks like a hit. As soon as it dropped online, I got to work memorizing it and found that it was just as much fun to sing as it was to listen to. Naomi Scott delivers an empowering performance of this new Alan Menken classic that encapsulates Jasmine's struggle with Agrabah's laws in a modern way. I've heard the argument that her second performance of the song forces the climax of the film to go hold while we what's happening inside her head, but it's such a powerful rendition that I feel like it would be a disservice to princess fans to cut it. "Speechless" is every bit as catchy as it is empowering. The lyrics incorporate beautiful imagery of storms and breaking free from cages. The message works well as a modern anthem for girls, especially in the middle east, by telling them not to let anyone silence them because their voice matters.  Even though it sounds like something you might hear on the radio today, I do not feel like it did a disservice to the Jasmine of the '90s because she wanted to be seen and heard as a person and not just a prize to be won. That's why this is my second favorite Jasmine solo.

#1 - "To Be Free"

(Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular)



"To Be Free" is by far my favorite Jasmine solo, and it's a crying shame that it's never been officially performed anywhere outside of the Hyperion Theater at Disney's California Adventure. The stage show Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular was unfortunately ousted a couple of years back in favor of Frozen Live at the Hyperion, so no one has the opportunity to hear this beautiful ballad anymore. I was, however, fortunate enough to hear it performed by Deedee Magno Hall, the original Jasmine from this show at one of the Broadway Princess Parties, but that is by no means an official Disney show. "To Be Free" has an incredibly beautiful, feminine, and catchy melody that was written by Alan Menken for this wonderful retired stage show. With poetic lyrics like "Lucky bird inside a gilded cage," the song is reminiscent of other Broadway classics such as "Green Finch and Linnett Bird" that Johanna sings in Sweeney Todd. The melody is woven beautifully into the show's score throughout and has a classic and timeless feel to it that just screams Disney Princess. This song will always be #1 in my heart, and I wish Disney had done more to publicize it to Princess Jasmine fans.

Honorable Mention - "Call Me a Princess"

(Deleted Song from 1992 Film and Broadway Production)



"Call Me a Princess" is one of those songs that never quite fit the bill. It was written for a very early draft of Aladdin in which both Aladdin and Jasmine were very different people. Jasmine was a stuck-up spoiled brat who loved everything about being a princess and had no desire to leave the palace. When the Broadway production of Aladdin came out, they tried to use as many deleted songs from the original draft as possible. "Call Me a Princess" was shoehorned in as a comedic attempt for Jasmine to scare away potential suitors by making them think she would be a nightmare to have as a wife. It was performed by the lovely and adorable Courtney Reed, who I've met on several occasions, before ultimately getting scrapped in favor of the significantly inferior song "These Palace Walls." "Call Me a Princess" is a fun and peppy number that can be performed with lots of over-the-top gusto. Kerry Butler, who played Princess Gwenevere in Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders and recorded the original demo for Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway, has a cover of this song on her Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust album.


I have a huge beef with "These Palace Walls," which is why it did not make my list. Even though it's written by the same mastermind behind "To Be Free," "Speechless," and "A Whole New World," "These Palace Walls" is boring, erratic, and utterly forgettable. The tempo jumps from fast to slow at the drop of a hat, and the lyrics are so on the nose that they might as well be spoken in dialogue. Yes, we know Jasmine is being forced to marry a stranger and that she wants to fly away from the palace walls. Where are the nuanced metaphors about birds and storms and cages? These lyrics are so simplistic that a child could have conceived them. Not only that, but Jasmine doesn't even get to sing the entire song. They wrote a solo for her in the Broadway play and yet the second verse is performed by her ladies-in-waiting, and even they don't get an opportunity to shine because the way it's written forces them to sing it flat and staccato. This song was just a bad choice overall. However, nothing is quite as bad as "Peacock Princess," the second song from Disney Princess Enchanted Tales that did not make my list for obvious reasons.


So there you have it. Alan Menken had no idea what he was getting himself into the day Disney created the character of Princess Jasmine. Even though his songs from the original Aladdin get recycled every time there is a new production, Disney never seems to want to reuse any of his Jasmine solos. It's as though they call him up every five years or so asking him to write them another Jasmine song. Of course, all of this could have been resolved by simply including a solo for her in the original film. I would absolutely love to see an animated version of  "To Be Free." As much as I enjoy the modern themes of "Speechless," to me, that is the quintessential Jasmine song. Do you agree or disagree with my rankings? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

Emma Rose said…
I love this post, thanks! I'd never heard of most of these songs and unfortunately I don't think any of them are really all that great or can be called a true classic like most of the other Disney princess songs. I absolutely adore Courtney Reed by the way and you're so lucky to have met her! Attending a Broadway Princess party is one of my dreams.

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