When I was growing up, the Disney Channel was an institution of the childhood. Even today, people look back on shows like Lizzie McGuire and That’s So Raven as the shows that made their childhood so special. Sure, people love to mock current Disney shows for the most part (I’m often curious about how many people who do that have even given the shows a chance, but that’s just me), however, even those shows have some likable qualities about them. For most Disney Channel shows, our love of them begins with their theme songs. I’m gonna be doing more Disney Channel lists down the road, but as a music enthusiast, this is the first one I wanted to focus on. Ranking the opening theme songs of these shows based on its musical catchiness, lyrical effectiveness either on it’s own merits or the show it supports, and for these old shows, how memorable they are. As usual, if you disagree with the list, make sure to hit me up with your favorite. But without further ado, it’s time to dive into a brand new Tuesday Top 10 with Disney Channel themes as the spotlight!
#10. “Aloha, E Komo Mai” by Jump 5
Lilo & Stitch: The Series
I recently found out that this song does in fact have a full version, performed by the group Jump 5. Do you remember them? If you listened to Radio Disney back in the day, you probably do…or don’t; they’re really a group you needed a huge memory space to remember. Regardless, they perform this refreshingly fun theme song to the show, which served as a spinoff for the movie. The Caribbean vibes are just all kinds of enjoyable and even if you don’t understand the words to the hook, it’s fun to sing along to. If you’re not singing along to the Jump 5, you can at least join along to the parts where Stitch comes in; yeah, Stitch is kind of a featured artist on this song, leaving an even more memorable stamp on the song.
#9. “So Far, So Great” by Demi Lovato
Sonny With A Chance
Most Disney Channel theme songs are sung by the star of the show; this is the first example of it on this list, and it certainly will not be the last. Like most Disney Channel stars, Demi Lovato was a Disney star who had music career to go along with her acting career. Though she’s pretty much retired acting now to focus full-time on music, she left her acting mark on the channel by starring in the Camp Rock movies and her own original program, Sonny With A Chance, where she starred as a teen who gets casted in her favorite comedy sketch program. The Lovato-performed theme song tells of Sonny’s tale from her little town in Wisconsin to the bright streets of L.A. Along with the lyrics describing Sonny’s journey and her feelings toward them, the music for it is just as silly as the TV show itself. It’s zaniness is Sonny With A Chance through and through, along with not being too different from the pop/rock sound Demi was known for at the time.
#8. “Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day” by Bowling For Soup
Phineas & Ferb
Yes, the dudes who sang “1985” did this song. Makes sense; sounds just like them. This sounds like it could be the theme song for one of the shows in the Suite Life franchise (neither of which are on the list; sorry), but while Zack & Cody were running roughshod every day over in Disney’s live-action universe, Phineas & Ferb were creating their own legacy (quite literally) in the animation realm during their extremely long summer vacation. The fact of the matter is that this is a rocking song with lyrics that perfectly describe what summer vacation would be like if we all had Phineas & Ferb’s time and imagination. The possibilities were basically limitless were these brothers, no matter what their snitching sister Candace had to say about it. Phineas and Ferb was an exciting show and it had an exciting opener by way of this song.
#7. “Hang in There Baby” by Bridgit Mendler
Good Luck Charlie
I did not expect to put this song on the list. This song snuck up on me with how enjoyable it is. Bridgit Mendler, the star of Good Luck Charlie, released an album a number of years ago. It was a pop record, but there were clear hip-hop influences on it too (including throwing a Fugees sample on the album’s lead single). But the theme song to Good Luck Charlie was some good old pop-rock and she manages to vocally hold her own in it. Lyrically, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out this is a song Teddy (Bridget Mendler’s character on the show) recorded to let Charlie know what to expect when she’s born. The lines in the verses sound like quotes you’d overhear by pressing your ear to someone’s bedroom door. Then the chorus hits you with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens in life, you gotta hang in there. What a generous big sis Teddy is, huh?
#6. “Take On The World” by Rowan Blanchard & Sabrina Carpenter
Girl Meets World
Both of the old Boy Meets World theme songs sounded 90’s. They sounded like pop-punk songs you would hear at the start of a television show in that decade. In the same vein, it’s Disney Channel spin-off, Girl Meets World, also contains a theme song that is very of its time. The show premiered in 2014 amid much anticipation and follows the lives of Boy Meets World characters Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) into parenthood as their daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and her friends, including the free-spirited Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) look to ‘take on the world’, as the theme song implies. Musically, the theme for the show is happy and optimistic (like Riley herself) and very much matches the tone of the show; and honestly, so do the lyrics. Carpenter (who released her debut album along with a few singles this year) and Blanchard sing about being eager to find their place in the world and how happy and complete they are going at it together. In fact, the theme song is basically the audio equivalent of the very first scene in the GMW’s history. It’s hard to hate this song; it’s so bouncy and optimistic.
#5. “Best of Both Worlds” by Miley Cyrus
In-universe, Robby Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus) is the chief songwriter of his daughter Miley Stewart’s (Miley Cyrus’) pop music career. On the show, they make that very clear by often featuring him working on a new song for her to perform. The very first song we ever hear from the young starlet, “Best of Both Worlds” is basically a confession that there’s two sides to the singer, one of which the general public doesn’t even know about. Miley even admits on one episode that he writes too many songs about her double life; but the fact of the matter is that this song (which peaked at #92 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006) is the perfect song to work as the theme. Not only is it catchy, but lyrically, it’s the entire show to a T. They decided to remix the song slightly for the both the movie and the final few seasons, but the original version is probably the one people will always associate with the show. The second version may have more emphasis on the guitar, but the original is without doubt the more memorable one.
#4. “That’s So Raven” by Raven-Symoné, Orlando Brown and Anneliese van der Pol
That’s So Raven
Like I said during the Sonny With A Chance entry, quite a number of Disney Channel shows feature the star of the show singing the theme song. And trust me, the honorable mentions contains more songs that do that as well. However, That’s So Raven paved the way for Sonny With A Chance, Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie, and Girl Meets World to do that. The three main friends of the show perform this song that downright summarizes the plot of the show (another running theme on this list, meaning Disney remembers that theme songs are supposed match the show). Raven’s part sings about being able to see into the future and how that’s expected to be some sort of fortunate gift, but it gets her in trouble more often than not. As for Brown and Van Der Pol’s parts…..well, Brown raps and I guess that’s Van Der Pol singing the ‘THAT’S SO RAVEN…’ parts at the end. Actually, if the music video is to be believed, that’s exactly what she does. Yes, you read that right, this songs actually has an official music video for it!
#3. “We’ll Figure It Out” by Angie Jaree
Lizzie McGuire is looked back on fondly for being a show about a normal girl going through normal high school problems. Lizzie may have been the most normal-yet-entertaining lead character on a show from Disney Channel, a network that has given us lead characters who ranged from “psychic” to “time traveler” to “wizard” to “world-famous celebrity”. But that means the theme song fits even more as it matches the show’s tone and most of Lizzie’s middle school teen predicaments perfectly. It’s memorable, catchy, fun to sing along to, and matches the show’s tone lyrically and musically. However, looking at how big a popstar Hilary Duff eventually became, you gotta wonder what the theme song would’ve been like had Hilary performed this song herself. Well, she did provide a few songs to the theatrically-released Lizzie McGuire movie, including the memorable “Why Not” and “What Dreams Are Made Of”. So Hilary still left her musical print on the Lizzie legacy.
#2. “Call Me, Beep Me” by Christina Milian
Is it just me or was the music in Kim Possible some of the coolest, most-underrated things about being a youngster in the early-2000s. From “Naked Mole Rap” to “Say The World”, this show had some tunes, up to and including its own theme song. The first line sounds like it’s not going to be that different from “Best of Both Worlds”. You see, she’s a basic, average girl; but at the same time, she can legitimately save the world. Oh, the two lives this girl has, huh? But the rest of the song gets the point across that she is not kidding about the hero thing and that she in fact can help you anytime you need it. This made it so high up the list because it’s memorably and well-produced, as well as finely performed by former pop star/current reality TV star Christina Milian. It has probably the most addictive chorus of any Disney Channel theme song as it’s hard to not say “Call me, beep me,” without finishing the phrase, adding the “if you wanna reach me,” and continuing on from there. This may be the coolest anthem for a spy since 007 first shot through that hole of his.
#1. “The Proud Family” by Solange & Destiny’s Child
The Proud Family
The Proud Family was one of my favorite animated show as a kid and part of the appeal was definitely the catchy theme song. It’s not only about Penny (Kyla Pratt) and her wacky relatives: it’s basically a nice summary about all of our families. The relatives that drive us crazy and the relatives we’re proud to call out own. Granted the song isn’t lyrically complicated, this is a kids TV show theme song, so they’re not trying for Grammys or anything. The message being communicated in the song as well as the vocal performance is at center stage here. Speaking of the vocals, perhaps the best fun fact about this song (and maybe this entire list) is that it is performed by Solange Knowles with guest vocals by her super-famous sister’s popular R&B group Destiny’s Child. Yes, before singing about riding the surfboard and calling the attention of all the single ladies, Beyoncé and the gang tagged along with her kid sister to record the theme song to a hilarious cartoon show. Their contribution to the Disney animation universe has not been forgotten. (Good luck finding the full version of this song, though; one does exist, but it’s disappeared from YouTube and is incredibly difficult to find.)
This is the unofficial #11 on this list: say what you want about the show, but this song is very catchy and China McClain is an exceptional vocalist in her own right.
Musically, this song is a lot of fun to dance to; lyrically, other than saying the phrase “Shake It Up” repeatedly, does it have a darn thing to do with the show?
Dove Cameron has a pretty voice, I won’t lie, and musically this is extremely cute; but…..what does “Better in Stereo” even mean? I can’t figure it out for the life of me.
Musically, I’ve always thought this was the more fun Suite Life theme song. Maybe it’s the “OH-A-OH!” vocals or maybe it’s just the guitar work, but I enjoy this song miles more than the one from the original show.
Lyrically, this song matches the show quite well; however, I just can’t hear myself listening to this one as much as the others. I don’t know if I’ll remember if after the show is done.
I left this off the list because I don’t remember this technically being the opening theme song to the show; however, it’s such an addictive pop-rap track that I wanted to throw it on here anyway.
What do you think of this edition of Tuesday Top 10? Leave a comment or tweet me up @FearlessRiOT with your opinion or even to suggest a topic for the next edition.