‘Lofi Minnie: Focus’ is Disney’s faint nod to an internet music trend | Culture & Leisure

On March 18, 2022, Disney made history again. Not with another pointless sequel or box office record, but with a lo-fi album. Ten tracks from Disney’s greatest hits are bundled into a short 24-minute “study session.”

They’ve remastered and re-released each of these songs countless times, so now Disney has decided not to remix them. Although fast, each track really stands out (as they were designed to). A good balance is shared between classic songs and more modern ones.

Six hits from the 90s: “Hakuna Matata”, “Go the Distance”, “A Whole New World”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “Under the Sea”” are combined with three from the late 2010s: “How Far I’ll Go”, “Into the Unknown”, and “Un Poco Loco”. “Almost There” from 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog” eerily and uniquely connects the two eras.

The original versions of these songs are extremely popular and well known, mainly for their emotional lyrics and the powerful voices of those who carry them. As movie songs, they also carry the burden of driving plot and character development.

Whether Disney likes it or not, the listener is constantly reminded of this during every track. There’s a lot going on with every original song – that’s what makes them so awesome both musically and lyrically; that missing here. These songs and their accompanying lyrics are just too well-known to be separated from each other, leaving the whole album feeling bad.

With only the shaved melodies remaining, these bright, bubbly tracks sound hollow and empty, a feeling that permeates the intent behind the album. In short, Disney has gotten a little overconfident here.

The classic songs are too upbeat and hopeful, with way too much imagery, emotion, pixie dust, and everything else that makes a grown-up Disney vibe, to function as either remixes or study music. . This album actually works the opposite of etude music, constantly intervening to remind you of the best originals while not letting you forget how lacking the lyrics are.

The new releases aren’t bad songs at all. They work well on their own. The songs I was less familiar with worked much like regular lo-fi, with no remixes (like Disney intended for the whole album). It’s unfortunate that enjoying one of lo-fi’s greatest moments as a genre is conditional. You have to be unfamiliar with the current Disney pantheon to listen to this album, at least as intended — in this case, for the study music.

Disney did it to fit the genre, no doubt a nod to the popular ‘lofi hip hop radio – beats for chilling out/studying’ 24/7 with its star ‘Lofi Girl “. The warning was rightly raised that they were trying to steal or protect a beloved, notably free, internet sensation. It doesn’t sound or sound like it, because Disney hired separate independent lo-fi artists to produce each track.

Working with the industry itself rather than emulating it is a surprising move, especially for one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. However, because of this role, the whole spirit and fundamental nature of lo-fi as low-fidelity music is inaccessible to Disney. The production value is just too high. Violins and string orchestras don’t quite fit into lo-fi, but Disney pushes it anyway.

Although sound in concept, the album fails in reality. Even the best track, Kupla’s break-beat approach to “Under the Sea,” is out of place and seems withdrawn. “Lofi Minnie: Focus” is far too reminiscent of Disney production over the past few years; it’s just another final attempt to squeeze a little more out of their past greatest hits.

Michael Beirne is a staff writer. Follow him on Twitter: @mtbeirne.