«The Little Mermaid» — Disney’s latest live-action remake — makes quite a few changes from the original. One of the biggest is the addition of four new songs, written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Menken wrote the music for the original 1989 movie with his longtime collaborator Howard Ashman, who died from complications of HIV/AIDS in 1991. Miranda, meanwhile, previously wrote music for Disney’s «Moana» (2016) and «Encanto» (2021). Plus, he appeared in 2018’s «Mary Poppins Returns.»
The four new songs include two for Halle Bailey’s Ariel — including a new reprise of «Part of Your World» — one for Jonah Hauer-King‘s Prince Eric, and one for Awkwafina’s Scuttle the bird and Daveed Diggs’s Sebastian the crab. In addition to the new songs, «Kiss the Girl» — the song where Sebastian tries to convince Eric to kiss Ariel — also got some new lyrics for the film.
Miranda told Empire magazine in April that he didn’t want to add in unnecessary songs. «I do not want to shoehorn [in] a song that no-one wants to sit through, because they want to get to ‘Under the Sea’ already,» he explained. «I’m that person! ‘GET ON WITH «UNDER THE SEA»!'» He added that he felt his role in the film was to make sure they didn’t «f*ck it up.»
Technically, the 2023 «The Little Mermaid» isn’t the first time Menken has written new music for the story of Ariel and Prince Eric. In 2008, the stage musical of «The Little Mermaid» premiered on Broadway with 10 new songs by Menken and Glenn Slater. Those songs aren’t included in the 2023 film, however.
Ahead, listen to the four new songs from 2023’s «The Little Mermaid.»