The Little Mermaid: Every Song In 2023 Remake, Ranked Worst to Best

By Gillian Blum Updated:
The Little Mermaid, Disney Live-Action Remake

Disney's new live-action The Little Mermaid hits theaters on May 26, and along with it come several excellent musical performances — both of classic songs from the animated movie by Alan Menkin and Howard Ashman, and new additions by Lin Manuel Miranda.

The movie featured killer performances from everyone — Halle Bailey (Ariel), Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), truly everyone. Beyond this, the sound and orchestrations wowed in both the musical and non-musical scenes, strengthening the entire experience.

The Little Mermaid Songs Ranked

Disney's newest live-action adaptation, The Little Mermaid, sees a familiar, though notably different, line-up of songs from its animated counterpart. The film features three new songs, one new reprise, one song from the original with some minor lyrical changes, and all but two ("Daughters of Triton" and "Les Poissons") of the other tracks from the animated version.

Let's break them all down from worst — or, in this case, least great — to best.

10.) Wild Uncharted Waters

Look, sometimes autotune can just be too much, and in "Wild Uncharted Waters" that was most certainly the case. Honestly, the new song could have been brilliant — it was clear that Jonah Hauer-King was capable of carrying the tune, Lin Manuel Miranda's new lyrics were unsurprisingly profound, and Halle Bailey's backup vocals with the iconic "siren song" were, of course, astonishing.

However, the autotune truly ruined this number that had all the ingredients to create something beautiful. Maybe the autotune was so obvious and distracting because it was surrounded by performances by the likes of Bailey and Daveed Diggs.

Ultimately, if the backup vocals are far more enticing to the ear than the digitally altered lead vocals, that's not a fantastic sign.

9.) Part of Your World (Reprise II)

The second reprise of "Part of Your World" — new to this remake — is only this low on the ranking because it is short and more-or-less unremarkable. After two iterations of "Part of Your World" from Bailey that shone like the sun, the third version just sort of fell through the cracks.

There was nothing wrong with it, just that plenty of performances were far more memorable. Hence, the ninth place ranking.

8.) Fathoms Below

Viewers familiar with the original The Little Mermaid may have been surprised when the movie did not open with "Fathoms Below." Rather, what was originally the working song as Eric and his ship's crew traveled the sea became a celebration song at the party Ariel witnesses before the shipwreck.

About half the original song was cut for the new version, though fun choreography was added to what remained of the catchy tune. Short and sweet, the most notable element of this song was more what it lost than what it gained in the remake.

7.) For the First Time

Right off the bat, it is important to note that "For the First Time" is written and performed excellently, and is truly only this low because everything else on the list was simply more enjoyable, less because of the song itself.

A new addition to the live-action movie, "For the First Time" explores Ariel's feelings right after the deal with Ursula gives her legs, as she explores the surface world "for the first time."

Interestingly, a very similar song that hit many of the same beats as this new track did already exist in the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid, with a song titled "Beyond My Wildest Dreams." The new song is stronger lyrically, but I couldn't help noticing their similarities.

6.) The Scuttlebutt

Another new song, "The Scuttlebutt" is pure Lin Manuel Miranda, and works really nicely. A dip into Miranda's rap roots, the song allows Awkwafina (Scuttle) and Daveed Diggs (Sebastian) to truly shine, delivering witty Miranda lyrics at an impressively fast pace.

Given that Diggs is known for originating the role with the fastest rap on Broadway to date, it was nice to see his chops on the big screen in The Little Mermaid. Quick, funny, and entertaining at that, the song is a nice energy boost at a fairly dialogue-heavy portion of the movie.

5.) Kiss the Girl

Possibly the result of some personal bias due to the individual nostalgia this particular song induces, "Kiss the Girl" really impressed with how it captured the magic from the animated version of the movie.

Many iconic sequences, particularly with fish lining the oars as Eric rows their boat, or nature turning into various instruments and sounds, were recreated brilliantly in live action — especially impressive given their unrealistic nature.

The lyric changes were extremely subtle, with only one section actually altered, emphasizing that just because Ariel couldn't speak didn't mean she was incapable of giving consent. The whole song just worked.

4.) Poor Unfortunate Souls

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" standing at fourth place on this list is truly a testament to Melissa McCarthy's performance, the jaw-dropping orchestrations, and the stunning visuals. 

The incredible vocal performance, top-notch humor, and brilliant storytelling in the villain's iconic song in live-action far outweighed any residual fear of Ursula that may sit dormant in long-time Disney fans.

3.) Part of Your World (Reprise)

The rock moment —yes, that one — of the first reprise for "Part of Your World" was what sold this song's ranking at third place. And it arguably is the moment that will sell the audience on Bailey's performance too, but that would be a discredit to a later entry on this list.

While short, the reprise is pure Ariel, and Bailey embodies it. Singing her heart out, Bailey truly rises above and wows with her top-tier range and acting performance. 

Halle Bailey is Ariel.

2.) Part of Your World

To reiterate: Halle Bailey is Ariel. If nothing else, her performance in the iconic "Part of Your World" is proof of that. Bailey takes the classic "I want" song and melds together elements from the original animated version and her own unique style, in a brilliant showcase of her talent and storytelling abilities.

Bailey captures Ariel's spirit in its entirety — her curiosity, her sense of adventure, her love of her collection, her frustration with her current place, all of it. Not only that, but the set and orchestrations are precisely what many Disney fans picture and hear when they think of this song.

When everything came together in the performance of this iconic track, it was seamless and gorgeous.

1.) Under the Sea

There is no other way to say this than it is so easy to love everything about the live-action "Under the Sea." This is one of those songs heard hundreds of times since 1989, but none have compared to this version of the track.

Everything worked. The instrumentals in the background, the new backup vocals added in for Bailey, Diggs' lead performance, the color, the lighting, the choreography, the visuals, everything worked.

The Direct's Little Mermaid review stated that one "could watch this version's 'Under the Sea' all day, it was the highlight of the whole thing," and this ranking demonstrates exactly that.

How Does the Adaptation Compare to the Original?

It is hard to beat the original version of something as beloved as The Little Mermaid, especially with the loss of the animated medium in the new adaptation.

However, The Little Mermaid can truly stand on its own. All the changes from the original worked, and only furthered and enhanced the well-known story. Bailey's performance certainly upped the quality of the whole thing, too.

But, ultimately, the songs, and the singers performing them, carried the movie.

It can best be summed up by one person in the screening room's reaction to "Part of Your World," wherein they said, "Are we allowed to clap?"

The Little Mermaid is now in theaters.

- In This Article: The Little Mermaid
Release Date
May 26, 2023
Halle Bailey
- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.