Song of the Day #5,209: ‘Dig a Little Deeper’ – Jennifer Lewis and The Pinnacle Gospel Choir

Randy Newman has written a lot of songs for a lot of Disney movies. He’s received eight Academy Award nominations for his Disney songs alone, winning twice (for ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ from Monsters Inc. and ‘We Belong Together’ from Toy Story 3).

All of that work is excellent, but for my money the best Randy Newman soundtrack for a Disney film belongs to 2009’s The Princess and the Frog. That’s because the content is a perfect match for Newman’s New Orleans jazz-influenced style.

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Song of the Day #5,084: ‘Rider in the Rain’ – Randy Newman

‘Rider in the Rain’ is a lovely little country and western ditty by Randy Newman, included on his 1977 album Little Criminals. If you think this song sounds like a long lost Eagles track, that’s because Don Henley, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther provide backing vocals.

Interviewed about Little Criminals at the time, Newman had this to say about today’s SOTD: “There’s also one about me as a cowboy called ‘Rider in the Rain’. I think it’s ridiculous. The Eagles are on there. That’s what’s good about it.”

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Song of the Day #4,808: ‘Rednecks’ – Randy Newman

The best 1974 album I’ve written about so far, Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys was his fourth studio album and the follow-up to 1972’s brilliant Sail Away.

Good Old Boys started as a concept album about the Deep South, following a character named Johnny Cutler. Newman eventually broadened the focus to the South in general, though bits of Johnny’s story show up throughout the tracklist.

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Song of the Day #4,476: ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ – Randy Newman

Continuing my countdown of every Pixar movie…

#12. Finding Dory (2016)
(up two spots from previous ranking)

Pixar’s best non-Toy Story sequel, Finding Dory worked even better the second time around.

Dory was played for comic relief, with a hint of melancholy, in the first film, but this one digs into the trauma her condition would understandably cause. The movie plays similar heartstrings as its predecessor, with Dory’s parents’ commitment to finding her mirroring Marlin’s determination to find Nemo.

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Song of the Day #4,471: ‘The Time of Your Life’ – Randy Newman

Continuing my countdown of every Pixar movie…

#18. A Bug’s Life (1998)
(up two spots from previous ranking)

When you talk about Pixar’s amazing early run, it’s easy to forget that their second film was actually pretty ordinary. A Bug’s Life certainly didn’t live up to Toy Story and was a let-down three years after that groundbreaking release.

It’s a sweet movie that feels like Pixar Lite. It’s not as laugh out loud funny or hold-your-breath exciting as its brethren, and it doesn’t have the thematic weight of the studio’s best films, but it does each of those things a little bit.

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