Over the years, Disney has done a lot of things wrong; they’ve put out plenty of lackluster shows, rebooted series’ that shouldn’t have been rebooted, and put out less than exciting movies. But the one thing they absolutely did right was the Cheetah Girls. Now, the Cheetah Girls are technically a fictional girl group, albeit one of the most popular ones in Disney history at least. But anyone who grew up in the 2000’s will remember the three movies and soundtracks with extreme fondness. (One of my favorite memories growing up is still watching the “Strut” music portion from the second film and thinking that’s going to happen to me someday). They were just so cool and confident that we all wanted to be like them, and if you said you didn’t, you were definitely lying.
So the other day, I was feeling kind of bummed out and really needed a pick me up. I was tired of listening to the same few songs for the past few days and needed something different, even if it wasn’t new. That’s when old Disney came to mind and I remembered how much I enjoyed “Cinderella” from the Cheetah Girls, which was released as the groups first single and featured in their first movie. This song originally was recorded by girl group i5 but was recorded by them again a few years later. And what an impact it would have. The song continued to be recognized years later, even if it was just by Disney at their music awards and holds thousands of views on YouTube and over two million listens on Spotify.
This version of the song is based around a hip hop feel with pop/dance aspects to it and definitely feels like something from 2003. It’s a blast from the past in the best way where it’s nostalgia inducing but is still listenable to this day. The melodies are fantastic, with the chorus being one of their most memorable choruses. It’s very even with immaculate production and nicely layered vocals, but all of this is just a plus. The absolute most outstanding aspect of this song is the lyrical portion.
The Cheetah Girls stood out among the rest of the Disney performers because they had an essence of feminism about them that was empowering for any girl at any age. This song portrays that where it takes the idea that you don’t need a price to come rescue you, despite what the fairytales say. It demonstrates that strength comes from yourself, not anybody else. The bridge portion is my favorite, where it says “I can slay my own dragons … / My night in shining armor is me”, reminding us all that you have the power within you to fix your problems. I know that may sound corny at times but this time, it’s well worth the listen.
These are things we all need to hear sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean every single day if you’re like me). But I like the way this song feels very genuine, and not just something that was recorded for a movie. Even though the Cheetah Girls were just characters, they did a lot more for music, and for people, than real artists ever did. “Cinderella” is a prime example and I highly encourage you to take a listen if you haven’t recently, because it definitely will spark some enthusiasm in you that you might not have even realized was missing.