Part of Your World

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"Part of Your World"
Song by Jodi Benson from the album The Little Mermaid: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Released December 13, 1989
Recorded August 16, 1989
Genre Musical theatre
Length 3:16
Label Walt Disney
Writer Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
Producer Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
The Little Mermaid: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack track listing
"Daughters of Triton"
(4)
"Part of Your World"
(5)
"Under the Sea"
(6)

"Part of Your World" is a song written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman from the 1989 Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid. Originally recorded by American actress and singer Jodi Benson in her film role as Ariel, "Part of Your World" is a Broadway-style ballad in which the film's heroine, a mermaid, expresses her desire to become human.

"Part of Your World" was written at the behest of Ashman, who felt that it was necessary for Ariel to have a song in which she shares with the audience her hopes and dreams, similar to a traditional Broadway musical. The song has been mostly positively received by critics, who praised Ashman and Menken's songwriting abilities as well as Benson's vocal performance. Despite being the film's theme song and critically lauded, "Part of Your World" did not receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, while The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl" did.

Background[edit]

The song depicts Ariel's fascination with, and desire to be a part of, the human world.

Believing that, in a musical, it is necessary for the heroine (Ariel) to at some point sing about her goals and what she hopes to achieve in life, Ashman wrote the lyrics for "Part of Your World", which he referred to as the film's "I Want" song.[1][2] After reviewing Ashman's lyrics, co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker suggested some rewrites, as Ashman had included terms that would be unfamiliar to someone who gets their "information [about the human world] from a seagull."[2] Ashman complied, replacing some of his previous lyrics with more off-beat terminology.[2]

While recording "Part of Your World", Jodi Benson requested that the studio's lights be dimmed to give her the feeling of being underwater.[3] Ashman stood at Benson's side, giving her suggestions to benefit her performance.[1]

During production of The Little Mermaid, "Part of Your World" was nearly cut from the film when it seemingly tested poorly with an audience of school children, who became rowdy during the scene.[4] This caused Jeffrey Katzenberg to feel that the song slowed down the film and needed to be cut,[3] an idea that was resisted by Ashman, Musker, Clements, and Keane.[3] Both Musker and Clements cited the similar situation of the popular song "Over the Rainbow" nearly being cut from MGM's The Wizard of Oz when appealing to Katzenberg.[4] Ashman and Keane pushed for the song to remain until the film was in a more finalized state.[3][4] During a second test screening, the scene, now colorized and further developed, tested well with a separate child audience, and the musical number was kept.[4]

According to Menken, "Part of Your World" was one of the songs applauded at a public screening of The Little Mermaid.[5]

Composition[edit]

Written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman,[6][7] "Part of Your World" is a down-tempo ballad written in the style of a Broadway musical number. Described by lyricist Howard Ashman as an "I Want" song, "Part of Your World" describes in detail Ariel's desire to become part of the human world. Written in the key of F major[7] in signature common time[7] at a "moderately bright" pace,[7] Benson's soprano[8] vocal range spans exactly one octave,[7] from the musical notes of C4 to C5.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

"Part of Your World" has received predominantly positive reviews from critics. Janet Maslin of The New York Times called "Part of Your World" a "musical bull's-eye".[9] Maslin also described the song as a desired musical number for any Broadway musical.[9] Scott Holleran of Box Office Mojo called the song a "triumphant tune", while praising Benson's vocal performance, which he described as breath-taking.[10] Sputnikmusic wrote similarly of Benson's performance, describing it as both "breath-taking" and "brilliant".[11] Filmtracks described "Part of Your World" as a "gorgeous ballad", accrediting it with "setting the table" for subsequent songs performed by Disney heroines, such as Beauty and the Beast's "Belle".[12] Filmtracks also praised Benson's vocal performance, describing it as "tender enough to be believable in the role while also accurately resonating at the necessary high ranges."[12]

Live and stage versions[edit]

Sierra Boggess as Ariel in the stage musical

"Part of Your World" is featured in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on January 10, 2008[13] and closed on August 30, 2009.[13] The song was first performed by actress Jodi Benson, Sierra Boggess, who originated the stage role of Ariel.[14][15] Boggess was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for her performance.[14][15]

Cover versions[edit]

Other Disney renditions of the song include one by Olivia Newton-John, Faith Hill, Chely Wright (for the 2000 sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea), Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Darren Criss, Esmee Denters and Carly Rae Jepsen. Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus and Skye Sweetnam each recorded their version of the song for the Disneymania series. Simpson's version was also included in the Special Edition of The Little Mermaid soundtrack. The Broadway musical version of the song is sung by Sierra Boggess which appears on the Original Broadway Cast album. The pirate-themed rock band Captain Bogg and Salty also recorded a hard rock version of the song in 2006, facetiously claiming it to be a "mermaid lullaby" which was used to lure helpless sailors to their deaths.

DVD[edit]

  • A Japanese language version of the song was recorded by Mayumi Suzuki.
  • The Thai version featured in the Little Mermaid cartoon was covered by Tata Young
  • American country music singer Faith Hill covered the song for the 1996 compilation album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney, the song was then featured again for the album Country Sings Disney in 2008.
  • Michelle Nicastro sang this song for her album Toonful, which was released in 1993.
  • In 2005, the song appeared in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II, which featured The Little Mermaid as one of the many Disney movies in the game. Other songs from the movie were featured.
  • LOVEBEAT Disney, a 2007 album consisting of covers of Disney songs by Japanese electro artists and DJs, contained a version of the song by Q;indivi as its first track.
  • In 2008, Blind Ferret Entertainment recorded a version of the song for the fan-based animation feature Looking for Group, with alternative lyrics.
  • "Part of Your World" is instrumentally heard in the Disney movie Enchanted.
  • "Part of Your World" is often covered by Darren Criss during his live performances.
  • Lady Gaga sang pieces of the song sometimes during Princess Die on the Born This Way Ball to lighten the mood the song brought on with it.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen covered the song and released a music video for the Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD release in 2013.The Music Video for Part of your world first premiered on Disney Channel and later it was uploaded to DisneyChannelPak YouTube account.

Concerts[edit]

Musicals[edit]

Lives[edit]

Broadways[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Treasures Untold: The Making of Disney's The Little Mermaid (DVD). Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c Ron Clements, John Musker, Alan Menken (2006). The Little Mermaid: Audio Commentary (DVD). Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hahn, Don (2009). Waking Sleeping Beauty (Documentary film). Burbank, California: Stone Circle Pictures/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. 
  4. ^ a b c d Clayton-Wright, Harry (September 2, 2013). Harry Clayton-Wright interviews the directors of The Little Mermaid (Web video content) (Digital video). YouTube.com. Retrieved September 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ Gilchrist, Todd (October 3, 2006). "Interview: Alan Menken". IGN. IGN Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Alan Menken". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Part of Your World Jodi Benson Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes. Musicnotes, Inc. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Brigante, Ricky (June 16, 2011). "2011 Disney Legends Awards Honorees at D23 Expo to include Regis Philbin, Jim Henson, Disney Princess voices". Inside the Magic. Distant Creations Group, LLC. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (November 15, 1989). "Review/Film; Andersen's 'Mermaid,' by Way of Disney". The New York Times. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ Holleran, Scott. "Where the People Are—Perfect". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Disney Soundtracks The Little Mermaid". Sputnikmusic. Sputnikmusic.com. February 9, 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken)". Filmtracks. Filmtracks Publications. August 29, 1997. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "The Little Mermaid". Playbill Vault. Playbill, Inc. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Sierra Boggess". Musical Theatre News. Musical Theatre News. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Sierra Boggess". Playbill Vault. Playbill, Inc. Retrieved 28 October 2012.