Song of the Day #4,963: ‘What Else Can I Do?’ – Diane Guerrero

This week’s final Encanto selection is ‘What Else Can I Do?,’ the awakening song of eldest sister Isabela Madrigal (Diane Guerrero). Isabela is the perfect, pretty princess, and this track finds her breaking through the facade and embracing her pricklier side.

Lin-Manuel Miranda brings a neat pop-rock vibe to this track (channeling the “90s rock en español movement,” he says) and the film’s animators do a great job bringing the song to vivid life.

Watching and listening to this week’s songs has me appreciating Encanto more. I really liked the movie when I watched it last year, but a narrative decision in the final moments fell flat and colored my overall assessment. I owe it another viewing.

I also owe a blog post to one more of the film’s songs, but that will come in a couple of weeks when I start rolling out my recap of the 2021 year in film. Stay tuned!

[Verse 1: Isabela]
I just made something unexpected
Something sharp, something new
It’s not symmetrical or perfect
But it’s beautiful, and it’s mine
What else can I do?

[Verse 2: Mirabel & Isabela]
Bring it in, bring it in
(Good talk) Bring it in, bring it in (What else can I do? )
(Let’s walk) Bring it in, bring it in
(Free hugs) Bring it in, bring it in

[Verse 3: Isabela]
I grow rows and rows of roses
Flor de mayo, by the mile
I make perfect, practiced poses
So much hides behind my smile
What could I do if I just grew what I was feeling in the moment?
(Do you know where you’re going? Woah!)
What could I do if I just knew it didn’t need to be perfect?
It just needed to be? And they’d let me be?

[Chorus: Isabela & Mirabel]
A hurricane of jacarandas
Strangling figs (Big)
Hanging vines (This is fine)
Palma de cera fills the air as I climb
And I push through
What else can I do?
[Verse 4: Isabela]
Can I deliver us a river of sundew?
Careful, it’s carnivorous, a little just won’t do
I wanna feel the shiver of something new
I’m so sick of pretty, I want something true, don’t you?

[Verse 5: Mirabel & Isabela, Both]
You just seem like your life’s been a dream (Woah)
Since the moment you opened your eyes
How far do these roots go down?
All I know are the blossoms you grow (Woah)
But it’s awesome to see how you rise
How far can I rise? Through the roof, to the skies, let’s go!

[Chorus: Isabela & Mirabel]
A hurricane of jacarandas (Whoo!)
Strangling figs (Go!)
Hanging vines (Grow!)
Palma de cera fills the air as I climb
And I push through
What else, what else?

[Bridge: Isabela & Mirabel, Mirabel, Isabela]
What can you do when you are deeply, madly, truly in the moment?
Seize the moment, keep goin’
What can you do when you know who you wanna be is imperfect?
But I’ll still be okay (Hey, everybody clear the way, whoo!)

[Chorus: Isabela & Mirabel]
I’m coming through with tabebuia (She’s coming through with that booyah!)
Making waves (Making waves)
Changing minds (You’ve changed mine)
The way is clearer ’cause you’re here, and well
I owe this all to you
What else can I do? (Show ’em what you can do)
What else can I do? (There’s nothing you can’t do)
What else can I do?

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,963: ‘What Else Can I Do?’ – Diane Guerrero

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I agree with you about the ending but I still really liked this movie a lot overall.

  2. Amy says:

    I saw a great post the other day about the intriguing, but ultimately reductive, outcry from fans saying Disney created merch for the conventionally beautiful Isabela but not for Luisa. The post, from a feminist FB group I follow, first pointed out that the outcry was based on conjecture and rumors, not facts about the actual marketing decisions or product lines, but, more importantly, bemoaned that the fans were continuing to reduce Isabela to nothing more than her beauty, despite having heard today’s song letting them know just how hurtful and limiting that can be. The point of the post was to discourage woman from pitting themselves against each other; it shouldn’t be merchandise for Isabela OR Luisa, and there is no need to celebrate one character by demeaning the other.

    I loved this moment in the film for all those reasons.

  3. Peg says:

    I have been quiet this week because I haven’t seen the movie. I will definitely try to see it at some point

  4. Peg says:

    I have been quiet this week because I haven’t seen the movie. I will try to remedy that soon😊

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