The New Disney Princess Anthem Is "Starting Now!"

Every few years, the Disney Princess brand updates its official anthem. This year's addition came out in honor of Disney's Ultimate Princess Celebration. "Starting Now" is performed by Brandy, who recently made a comeback of her 1997 role in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. It is the fourth song to represent the Disney Princess brand since it began in 2000. Brandy continues the tradition of the anthem being sung by an actress who played a princess in a Disney movie. The only outlier is 2012's "Hall of Fame," which was performed by a popular band, The Script. "Starting Now" has some similarities to the very first Disney Princess anthem, "If You Can Dream," in that both songs contain references to classic Disney Princess song lyrics. I have to admit that I prefer the soothing lullaby instrumentals of "If You Can Dream" to the generic synthesized pop vibes of "Starting Now." Give it a listen below to decide for yourself.

"Starting Now" doesn't have a lot going for it in terms of originality. Most of its verses are mash-ups of other Disney Princess songs and lyrics like "How Far I'll Go," "A Whole New World," "Reflections," and "I See the Light." The chorus is an amalgamation of inspirational colloquialisms about envisioning the girl you want to be and leaving the past behind, a common theme among Disney Princesses when they come of age and find their "happily ever afters." Overall, I don't think this song is much of an improvement over its predecessor, "Live Your Story," which conveyed a similar message with more focus on creativity and individualism. Instead, "Starting Now" places an emphasis on growing up into an empowered young woman, which also works for this type of anthem since many little girls look up to the Disney Princesses as role models.

The brand new lyric video that dropped on Vevo this morning is interspersed with clips of every animated Disney Princess movie as well as tons of live-action footage of Brandy's role as Cinderella from 1997. I get why they included this footage since Brandy is the one singing the song, but it feels a little out of place in the middle of all the animated clips, especially since Disney already has an animated Cinderella that's a lot more famous in terms of the Disney Princess line. Does this mean Brandy's version of "Cinderella" is now an official Disney Princess movie? That's hard to say considering that the Disney Princess line tends to focus on animation despite so many of these same movies being converted to live-action in recent years. There is a good probability that they included this footage to pave the way for Halle Bailey's role as Ariel in the upcoming Little Mermaid remake.

I wish I could say this is the latest song I want to hum when I'm bored or feel like singing something in the shower, but no matter how many times I listen to it, I can't seem to get into the melody. It is the most synthesized-sounding anthem so far and isn't an easy song to sing along with because it sounds more like chanting to a beat than belting out a melody. Of course, I wouldn't place the blame for this on the performer herself. Brandy has already proven that she still has enough talent to reprise the timeless melodies of Rodgers and Hammerstein over twenty years later. No, the blame for this mediocre melody rests with the problematic modern era of the Walt Disney Company for producing another bland soulless remake of a song that nobody asked to be rewritten. To this day, "If You Can Dream" is still my favorite of the Disney Princess anthems even if it is somewhat dated.

Overall, "Starting Now" is a safe generic anthem that fits fine with the themes of the Disney Princesses but doesn't add anything new or innovative to the other anthems that have represented the films thus far. I like that it is keeping with the tradition of female princess performers. The male vocals of The Script always felt out of place when it comes to music about empowering women. I'm not sure who wrote the lyrics for "Starting Now," but they are certainly no Howard Ashman. The new song is nothing more than a bland imitation of "If You Can Dream" packed with references to other wonderful songs but bearing little substance on its own merit.


Anonymous said…
I believe it is actually the fifth Disney Princess hymn song. Besides If You Can Dream, Live Your Story, Starting Now and Hall of Fame, there was also Shannon Saunders - The Glow.
Lisa Dawn said…
Good point, though I can only recall that begging used for one obscure sing-along DVD, and not so much for marketing.
Unknown said…
This synthetic beat has also been used in remixes in club songs. I can’t place it yet but it definitely has been used before.

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