A Look at Disney Halloween Music Fridays # 142: Songs Sung By Ursula
The only way to get what you want is to become a human yourself.
Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney. There has been a last minute change with this Music Fridays. It was originally going to be about Gaston until I realized I haven’t showcased any of the songs by the female villains on Music Fridays, this year and that’s when I remembered one of my favorite Disney villains and her great song. Ursula. I’m more fond of doing this one anyways because The Little Mermaid ranks higher on my list of favorite Disney movies. Now, technically Ursula only had one song in the movie but there was also the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid and we will be looking at her songs from that as well. Along with one song that was cut but a Demo of it was released. Let’s begin.
Poor Unfortunate Souls
We start with our classic song Poor Unfortunate Souls. This song right here is what convinced Pat Carroll to take the role as Howard Ashman sent her a recording of him singing as Ursula and she adopted some of the mannerisms that were present in Ashman’s version for take on this iconic song. For me, this is one of my favorite villain as Pat Carrol really sells the song and the role and you buy that Ursula is so used to making these deals that she has her lines memorized and knows what to say to get what she wants.
Now, I don’t believe this is the actual demo and if it is, it has been tinkered with. Anyways, this was the original song that Ursula was supposed to sing before it was replaced with Poor Unfortunate Souls. And to be honest, I find it hard to judge as we do not have a demo with Pat Carroll singing. However, I can picture her singing this and to me, it just sounds too similar to Poor Unfortunate Souls to truly stand out. It’s not a bad song mind you but the right decision was made to replace it.
Poor Unfortunate Souls (Alternate Version)
Now, you’ll notice that this is similar to the song that we opened with and yes that is Pat Carroll singing. So, what makes it different. There is an added verse where Ashman takes over and sings those lines that were cut and sadly, they were cut here as well. You’ll also notice that the scene where Ariel first meets Ursula is a bit different. And I gotta be honest, I actually like this version better than the one we all know because it seems more menacing and threatening.
In the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid, the show reincorporated the abandoned concept of Triton and Ursula being siblings. This song is tough to judge. It doesn’t sound like Ursula. This styling of music sounds more fitting for a villain like Cruella. The lyrics work for Ursula and the idea of her wanting the kingdom works but I can’t buy the actress playing Ursula here. I’ve always pictured Ursula as being bigger than life and knowing who commands the room. Not someone that I want to pull off stage with a cane.
I Want The Good Times Back (Reprise)
Still, not buying it. I just can’t wrap my head around the decision they made with Ursula here. Sure, she was a bit of a diva in the original but not like this. Here, it sounds like you’ve turned into a spoiled brat to be honest. Gotta say I’m not a fan of what the Broadway show has to offer for the sea witch so far.
Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) (Broadway)
Now, there were actually two reprises of this song for the Broadway show. One, that was sung before Ursula became Vanessa but that version was scrapped as was the Vanessa subplot and instead we have this one, where she is taunting her brother as he gives into her demands and takes his soul and Atlantica with it. And finally, I’ve found a song sung by Ursula from the Broadway show that I like.
Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) (Demo) (Broadway)
Now, here’s the demo version that was cut and again, I have to say that I like it. But seeing as they cut the whole Vanessa story line, I guess this version no longer made sense but this one actually sounds the closest to Ursula out of all the Broadway songs that we’ve looked at.
Go figure the one Broadway TLM Ursula song I actually like was cut from the show before it premiered. It still has hints of I Want The Good Times Back but I don’t find it as annoying as that song. It’s still not a very good song, mind you but I’d rather listen to this over “Good Times” and I am beyond annoyed with what they did to Floatsam and Jetsam’s voices but while this song still does bug me in parts, it’s… okay.
Y’know I think I actually like this one and not just compared to the songs that Ursula ended up getting in the actual show. It’s catchy and fun but again, I can see why it was cut from the show. It’s enjoyable and not as annoying. And this is the one song where I can actually look past Ursula’s voice sounding so different from what I had expected.
There you have it, my look at the songs sung by Ursula. I gotta say that I was left a little disappointed with some of these songs as they just didn’t seem to match the character that we know. I’m looking at you, “I Want The Good Times Back”. Now, that’s not to say that these were all bad songs but some of them didn’t feel like Ursula. Peace!