Here’s the Scuttlebutt: Alan Menken Shares Why Songs Did (and Didn’t) Make It to ‘The Little Mermaid’ Soundtrack

Little Mermaid Soundtrack
Credit: Disney

“Part of Your World” is the shower-belting Disney song that has been part of our worlds for 34 years, and it’s arguably a bigger hit than Frozen’s “Let It Go.” Jodie Benson’s voice carried us through the last few decades as Ariel and the late Pat Carroll spoke to our poor unfortunate souls with her powerful voice behind Ursula.

With classic songs from the original film cemented into Disney culture, composers Alan Menken and Lin Manuel-Miranda had big fins to fill with the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

While director Rob Marshall didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel with the live-action remake, he knew they couldn’t copy and paste the original film’s soundtrack song for song. Whispers about the new film’s changes to the source material’s numbers have floated around for months, and Marshall shared the reasoning behind them:

​​It’s important to remember that the culture and sensitivities have changed over the last 34 years, and it’s vital that we are respectful to those changes.

little mermaid opening weekend

Related: ‘Little Mermaid’ Produce Lin-Manuel Miranda Knew His Job was to Not ‘F– it up’

Which Songs Are Removed from the New Soundtrack?

A few months ago, the news surfaced about lyrical changes to classics like “Kiss the Girl” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” to reflect the cultural sensitivities Marshall mentioned. Alan Menken, the original film’s composer, shared how they adjusted the “Kiss the Girl” lyrics to reflect consent in an interview with Vanity Fair (via CNN):

People have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel],” so a rewrite was a must.

Menken added a line that was also removed from Ursula’s premiere song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” throwing out: “It’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.” In addition to tweaks to the original Little Mermaid soundtrack staples, Menken revealed that a musical number was removed entirely.


Credit: Disney

In the new live-action Little Mermaid remake starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, her star-studded school of mermaid sisters—Lorena Andrea as Perla, Simone Ashley as Indira, Kajsa Mohammar as Karina, Nathalie Sorrell as Caspia, Karolina Conchet as Mala, and Sienna King as Tamika—won’t be sharing a song in the film.

The animated version of The Little Mermaid features “Daughters of Triton,” but Menken told

The thought process was we didn’t need it in this particular version.

Menken added:

We definitely wanted the film to start with a much more of a live-action feel of the ocean and meeting Ariel, and then we wait a little bit, make you wait until we get to ‘Part of Your World.’ And I think that was, you know, it was an amazing choice because it just builds the power and anticipation.

What Are the New Songs to Stream?

Anyone who’s seen a glimpse of a Lin-Manual Miranda production like Encanto or Moana can be sure he delivered on his classic rapping, scatting stylings for The Little Mermaid.

Alan Menken Lin Manual Miranda

Credit: Alan Menken Twitter

In a new song called “The Scuttlebutt,” ​​Awkwafina raps as Scuttle the seabird, who eagerly reports the gossip about Ursula (a.k.a. the “who-said-what-who-does-that, yeah, the Scuttlebutt!”). Daveed Diggs joins Awkwafina to deliver a song on track to get stuck in our heads for years to come. Miranda added three other pieces to the mix for the live-action remake.

Disney fans can look forward to Halle Bailey’s emotional rendition of “Part of Your World” and Melissa McCarthy’s powerful take on “Poor Unfortunate Souls” to play on repeat. While the release of The Little Mermaid soundtrack can get everyones’ ears buzzing starting now, fans still have one week until the film hits theaters on May 26.

About Kaitlin Morelli

A Disney World Guest since before she could walk, Kaitlin is a Jersey girl and former Virginia Tech Hokie. When she's not listening to the 'Moana' soundtrack on repeat with her baby daughter, she's writing, singing, and strumming the ukulele. Kaitlin is passionate about finding the best Disney Park tips n' tricks and moments when pop culture and Disney collide. She's looking forward to eventually taking her first Disney trip with her favorite fan in the making: her daughter.

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