Did Lin-Manuel Miranda Go Too Far This Time?

lin-manuel miranda
Credit: Disney

Lin-Manuel Miranda has, it seems, become the only songwriter available to Disney.

In the last few years, Miranda has been the tune-de-force behind Disney’s Moana (2016), Encanto (2021), and now the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid (2023).

He gained two Academy Award Best Song nominations for “How Far I’ll Go” and “Dos Oruguitas” from Moana and Encanto, respectively, and is famed for his innovative founding-father biographical musical theater show Hamilton, but after all this success, has Miranda now gone too far?

Lin Manuel Miranda Encanto

Credit: Disney

We all can’t stop talking about Bruno, singing that infamous Encanto song that broke multiple records and marked Lin-Manuel’s first number-one song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles charts.

The songwriter (with Puerto Rico heritage) starred as Jack in the sequel Mary Poppins Returns (2018) alongside Emily Blunt, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe, and wrote “You’re Welcome” for Moana, sung by Dwayne Johnson.

In 2020, his Broadway musical Hamilton was introduced to a new audience when Disney+ released a cinematic recording of a performance by the original cast. Hamilton itself received a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations and won 11, while the recorded Disney special gained 2 Emmy Awards wins and 10 other nominations.

So we know Lin-Manuel Miranda is talented. With all these awards and nominations under his belt, you’d think Miranda could do no wrong when it comes to his Disney collaborations. After all, everything he touches turns to gold, right?

Alan Menken Lin Manual Miranda

Credit: Alan Menken Twitter

Related: Adored ‘Little Mermaid’ Actor Announces Pregnancy!

Well, maybe not this time. In this Disney film soundtrack, it appears Miranda went too far (or too…Miranda). 

Directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay written by David Magee and starring Halle Bailey as Ariel alongside Jonah Hauer-King (Prince Eric), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), Awkwafina (Scuttle), Jacob Tremblay (Flounder), Noma Dumezweni (Queen Selina), Art Malik (Grimsby), Javier Bardem (King Triton) and Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), The Little Mermaid is out now on Disney’s streaming service.

Composer Alan Menken returned to work on The Little Mermaid‘s score, writing four new songs alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda.

And one of these songs may be the worst Miranda song yet.

Sebastian The Little Mermaid scuttle

Credit: Disney

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

“The Scuttlebutt” is a new song performed by Awkwafina as the voice of Scuttle and Daveed Diggs as the voice of Sebastian, and is immediately comparable to Miranda’s work on Hamilton. The song finds Awkwafina’s Scuttle and Diggs’ Sebastian the crab informing Halle Bailey’s Ariel about some information regarding Prince Eric. But of course, all in rap. Any chance for Daveed Diggs to rap quickly, right?

Diggs raps at 6.3 words per second during the quickest verse of Hamilton‘s Act 1 performance of “Guns and Ships,” but that’s Hamilton – Miranda did not have to introduce that kind of fast rap into Ariel’s story. It just doesn’t fit.

Scuttlebutt is actually a slang term that means rumor or gossip, coming from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water. It’s a clever use of the word in relation to the characters in the live-action movie, but that’s about where the cleverness ends.

Remember the beauty, emotion, and narrative storytelling of the late Howard Ashman’s lyrics and Alan Menken’s original score for the 1989 Disney movie? Well, “The Scuttlebutt” completely misses the mark and pales in the light of its predecessors.

Little Mermaid Disney Plus

Credit: Disney

Usually, Miranda’s music suits the tone and message of a story, but with “The Scuttlebutt,” it just feels like a chance for Miranda to show off his rap-writing abilities. It’s awkward, unnecessary for the movement of the plot, and does not match the warmth of the other songs on the soundtrack.

“The Scuttlebutt” has been slammed by critics, with even Awkwafina herself admitting she was skeptical of the song’s inclusion. As much as she found it “so cool” and an “honor” to perform a song written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, she did wonder “Are you sure even want to do this?”

Interestingly, Manuel Miranda had told Empire in an interview:

I said ‘Happy to write new lyrics if they need them. And if they don’t, I won’t. 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. I’m that person! Get on with ‘Under the Sea.’

Ironically, “The Scuttlebutt” feels like a song shoehorned into the mermaid movie.

little mermaid porn star

Credit: Disney

Related: Could ‘Encanto’ Make It to Broadway? Lin Manuel Miranda Weighs In

And though it was insanely popular and soared up the charts, was Miranda’s earworm tune “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” really better than other Disney songs that have made the charts, or had the song exploded because of social media?

“The song — credited to Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz, and the Encanto cast — has so many millions of streams that it is the most popular Disney song EVER.

Surprisingly, the song became so popular that it surpassed Frozen’s (2013) “Let It Go,” made famous by Idina Menzel in her role as Elsa. The only other songs from animated Disney classics to reach top-5 on the charts include “A Whole New World” from Aladdin (1992), Elton John’s romantic ballad “Can You Feel the Love Tonight from The Lion King (1994), and Vanessa Williams’ “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas (1995).

encanto movie

Credit: Disney

Related: Bruno’s Hit Song Is Not Disney’s Best, and Here’s Why

Again, the song is fast, chockablock with narrative, and made up of a kaleidoscope of stories and characters who all have their own melodies to sing about Bruno. We’re not saying Lin-Manuel isn’t a talented songwriter, we’re just saying that a new song isn’t that great when all we hear is Miranda and not the characters or the story.

Lin-Manuel Miranda will be seen next in Disney+’s upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as the Greek god Hermes.

If Lin-Manuel Miranda collaborates with the Walt Disney Company again, are we to see more fast-paced rap songs just so he can show off his “lyrical genius”? Or has the critically-panned “Scuttlebutt” become the “butt” of Miranda’s career?

What do you think?

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at

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