Rotten to the Core (song)

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"Rotten to the Core"
Song by Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson
from the album Descendants
LabelWalt Disney

"Rotten to the Core" is a song from Disney Channel's 2015 television film Descendants, whose music and lyrics were composed by Joacim Persson, Shelly Peiken and Johann Alkenas. The song was performed in its original show-tune version in the film by the main cast – Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart and Sofia Carson– in their vocal roles as Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Carlos (son of Cruella de Vil), Jay (son of Jafar) and Evie (daughter of The Evil Queen). The song peaked at number 38 in the Billboard Hot 100.[1] A second version, performed by actress and singer Sofia Carson, was released as a single on December 18, 2015.

Background and composition[edit]

A midtempo dance-pop song, "Rotten to the Core" exhibits elements of pop, dubstep and hip hop.[2] Built on a beat, multi-tracked harmonies, the song's instrumentation includes slow-bouncing synthesizer tones and keyboard.[3] The song was written by Joacim Persson, Shelly Peiken and Johann Alkenas and produced by the duo Twin.[4] Cameron's vocals span from the low note of F3 and Carson vocals span from the high notes of F5. The song introducing the four villainous offspring in the film.[5] Gary Wright of Rotoscopes noted that part of the song is spoken, whispered, reflecting an ominous tone to the voices, while only the chorus is sung.[2] Lyrically, the song talks about the feelings of the villains, who are evil and wicked, but they like to be just like this ("Who's the baddest of them all? / Welcome to my wicked world, wicked world").[6] The stanzas and chorus are sung also among the four artists, while the pre-chorus is only performed by Cameron and Carson.[2][7]

Critical reception[edit]

The song has received mixed reviews from music critics. The KidsWorld Magazine He said the "Rotten to the Core" is fun and the best song on the album.[8] Chuck Campbell of Knoxville News Sentinel was positive and commented the song is "surprisingly bold".[9] Daynah of Disney Geek He commented that the song have an addictive melody and good sound effects, with a marked keyboard.[3] Marshal Knight of Laughing Place was negative and said "Rotten to the Core" is disjointed and the worst song from a Disney Channel Original Movie, analyzing that Booboo Stewart "saying the same phrase over and over with a rasp that wasn't necessary".[10] Gary Wright of Rotoscopes said that the song is a "ridiculously cheesy song", "fails to hit the right notes" and "makes the movie so bland and forgettable".[2] Common Sense Media mentioned that the song should not be introduced for children under 6 years, because in the film scene that plays the song, Evie "draws one boy in to kiss her in a very seductive scene and wants to land a prince with money and a big castle".[11] Ryan Clavin of WDW Info said "the song is a little ‘meh’ and a bit too on the nose, as most Disney Channel songs are".[12]


Chart (2015) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[13] 66
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 38
US Kid Digital Songs (Billboard)[15] 1
US Streaming Songs (Billboard)[16] 20


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Single version[edit]

"Rotten to the Core"
Sofia Carson - Rotten to the Core.jpg
Spanish/English version artwork cover
Single by Sofia Carson
from the album Descendants
ReleasedDecember 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
FormatDigital download
LabelWalt Disney
Sofia Carson singles chronology
"Rotten to the Core"
"String Module Error: Match not found"
"Rotten to the Core"
"Love Is the Name"[18]
Descendants singles chronology
"If Only"
"Rotten to the Core"
"Ways to Be Wicked"

A second version of "Rotten to the Core", performed by American recording artist Sofia Carson, was released as single on December 18, 2015 by Walt Disney Records.[19] The decision to release the song was made to promote the computer-animated short-form series Descendants: Wicked World, which Carson's version is the opening theme.[20] The song was included in the soundtrack to the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants (2015).

Chart performance[edit]

On December 12, 2015, "Rotten to the Core" peaked at number one on the Billboard Kid Digital Songs.[21] The song did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number five on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[22]

Live performances[edit]

On August 17, 2015, Carson performed the song at D23 Expo[23] and short a cappella version during a MTV interview, on September 27.[24] On November 26, she performed "Rotten to the Core" at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.[25] The song was performed at American Spanish-language show El Gordo y la Flaca on December 9.[26] She also sang a Latin remix at Feliz!, a New Year's Eve special on Univision, on December 31.[27]

Music video[edit]

The official music video for the song directed by British directors Naren Wilks and Adam Santelli.[28] It was recorded on July[29] and premiered on Disney Channel in August 23, 2015 after Best Friends Whenever.[30] The video uses a 3D green screen cylinder, an illusionary technique that capturing a kaleidoscope-like effect onscreen.[28] The video begins with Carson dressed as a princess in an explosion of fireworks, when she picks up the mirror of the Evil Queen and recites: "Mirror, mirror in the night, show a girl a little light".[31] A trail of light transports her to a black-and-white scene, where she begins to sing while it multiplies. In another scene, Carson sings to six mirrors, where each reflects her dancing different from the others. In a third scene, she sings alone on a purple background with lights. Various effects for the video and multiply Carson.[32] In the end, she leaves the mirror and recites: "Mirror, mirror, what does our future hold? Show me what happens when our stories unfold".[33]

Track listings[edit]

  • Digital download[34]
  1. "Rotten to the Core" — 2:55


Chart (2015) Peak
US Kid Digital Songs (Billboard)[21] 7
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[35] 5

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[34] December 18, 2015 Digital download Walt Disney


  1. ^ "Hot 100: Descendants' "Rotten to the Core" Debuts in Top 40; "If Only" Starts at #99". Billboard. 2012-09-08. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Disney's 'Descendants': Rotten to the Core". Rotoscopers. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Disney Descendants Soundtrack (Daynah's Thoughts)". Disney Geek. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Descendants [Original TV Movie Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "The children of Disney villains are the heroes in the newest offering from director and choreographer Kenny Ortega". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Performed by Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce and Booboo Stewart". Disney. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  7. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Get the Scoop on the Original Songs From Disney's 'Descendants'". ET Online. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "Descendants TV Movie Review". KidsWorld. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "'Tuned In' review: Disney's 'Descendants' may foretell pop's future". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "Album Review: Disney Descendants". Laughing Place. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Energetic Disney movie's villains make likable role models". Common Sense Media. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Descendants: A Disney Channel Original Movie Review". WDW Info. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "Canadian Hot 100 – August 22, 2015". Billboard. 2015-09-08. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  14. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 – August 22, 2015". Billboard. 2015-09-08. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  15. ^ "Kid Digital Songs - August 22, 2015". Billboard. 2015-09-08. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  16. ^ "Streaming Songs - August 22, 2015". Billboard. 2015-09-08. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  17. ^ "American single certifications – Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Cameron Boyce – Rotten to the Core". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  18. ^ "Love Is the Name". iTunes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "Rotten to the Core (Single)". Spotify. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  20. ^ "Disney Launches 'Descendants' Short-Form Series". AWN. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  21. ^ a b "December 12, 2015". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "Sofia Carson debut on Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles - September 1, 2015". Headline Planet. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "Sofia Carson Talks 'Rotten To The Core' D23 Performance". Access Hollywood. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "Sofia Carson Sings 'Rotten To The Core' Acapella". MTV. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "Sofia Carson Slays 'Rotten To The Core' In Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Performance". Hollywood Life. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  26. ^ "Sofía Carson, la estrella latina que estábamos esperando". Univision. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  27. ^ "Latin Times: New Year's Eve 2015: Chiquis, Luis Coronel, Maluma And More To Perform In Univision Special 'Feliz 2016'". Corporate. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "Sofia Carson Releases Her Retro-Soul Version of "Rotten to the Core"". Celeb Secrets. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  29. ^ "Go Behind the Scenes of Sofia Carson's "Rotten to the Core" Descendants Music Video!". Fanlala. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  30. ^ "Disney's "Descendants" Star Sofia Carson Performs Retro-Soul Version of the Movie's Hit Song "Rotten to the Core" in New Music Video". Disney ABC Press. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  31. ^ "Sofia Carson Sings "Rotten to the Core" for 'Descendants: Wicked World' in New Music Video". M-Magazine. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  32. ^ "Sofia Carson Debuts Video for "Rotten to the Core"". J-14 Magazine. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  33. ^ "Sofia Carson Debuts Her Music Video for the 'Descendants' Song "Rotten to the Core"". Twist Magazine. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Rotten to the Core (Spanish / English Version)". iTunes. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  35. ^ "Sofia Carson Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard.