My Little Pony.
One of the greatest and most attractive franchises ever thought up. It can churn out merch at sound speed, take out competitors in a flash, and best of all, it's pastel colored and knows how to handle their musical numbers.
Speaking of musical numbers! The My Little Pony universe might also be classified as "Hot Horse Song Heaven" because there is such a mess of very beautiful and epic songs that it will make you love the franchise even more.
And since Valentine's day is right around the corner, I've been inspired to make a top ten list of the most beautiful My Little Pony songs. So grab yourself a snack and a glass of water, and try not to reach through the screen, because HERE WE GOOOO!!!
(This list only includes G4 for simplicity sake)
If this intro bit is complete nonsense to you then please stop reading this list and go watch this video
10. You'll Play Your Part
As Twilight questions her purpose as a princess, the other three alicorns in Equestria sing to her to reassure her that she will have a destiny and she just needs to be patient. This song sort of drags a bit in the beginning with Twilight’s lamenting, which is why it could only hit spot number ten, but when it decides to go off, it goes OFF.
Britt McKilip (Cadence) returns to sing after not having done so since the Canterlot Royal Wedding, which is a real treat as she has a wonderful high soprano voice, AND we get Kazumi Evans to sing as Luna? This is technically her first time singing as Luna, but she had previously sung as Rarity prior to this, and she has a beautiful velvety alto voice that really compliments the high notes that McKillip is hitting. Nicole Oliver (Celstia) and Rebecca Soichet (Twilight) have very nice middle soprano voices as well, but I really have to give it to Evans and McKilip for their harmonizing. Cadence sounds angelic on her own and Luna sounds enchanting on her own. Put them together and you have some breathtaking harmonies, the dulcet tones of the heavens above.
I never realized I wanted these two to sing together until we got this song, dammit!
9. Stop the Bats!
We continue the list with another song from Season 4! Applejack and Fluttershy debate the best way to deal with a bat infestation…. In song form!
A lot of people didn’t like this song or found it to be too corny, which was a surprise to me. Aren’t all Halloween songs a little bit corny? Oh well.
The vocal performances here were amazing as usual, but the real standout is Daniel Ingram’s composition of this song and the stark contrast between Applejack’s verses and Fluttershy’s verses. Pay attention to the instruments that play behind each one of their verses and how they differ from each other. When Applejack sings, the low strings will loudly bellow out notes, but when Fluttershy sings, you can hear the gentle trill of a woodwind. This song establishes two different tones that are at odds with one another. And this isn't just done in the song, the visuals are also playing a key role here. Take note of the color palettes in Applejack’s verses compared to Fluttershy’s.
Another genius part about this song is that Applejack’s verses are written in B flat minor, which is usually thought of as a mysterious and sinister key. While Fluttershy’s verses are written in E flat minor, which is generally thought to be more delicate and melancholy. The emotions associated with each key are highly subjective and debated amongst musicians and psychologists every single day, but there are at least some general patterns that are agreed upon.
8. Pinkie's Present
In the pony recreation of “A Christmas Tale" from season 6, we get a song for each of the spirits of Hearth’s Warming past, present, and future. And very single time people talk about this episode, they talk about Luna’s future, which makes me mad, because Pinkie’s Present is objectively so much better. I am a major Kazumi Evans stan, I always will be. She did an amazing job voicing Luna’s singing in “You’ll Play Your Part". And then for Luna’s Future they just changed her singing VA for some reason? I’m forever mad about that, but whatever, I’m getting way off topic....
The reason that Pinkie Pie has been my favorite main character for 10+ years is because when she’s written at her best, she just absolutely radiates joy. She’s the cutest and sweetest thing and she makes me nostalgic for a simpler time of my life. This is Pinkie Pie at her best right here, (even though it’s not technically Pinkie Pie, it’s the spirit of hearth’s warming present… whatever lol) and nobody ever talks about this song. Why?? Why do people like the Luna song better than this??
I always add listen to this at least a few times every holiday season. The song is just so full of unexpected turns and twists, every lyric is something fresh. At no point do I feel like the song loses its stride and falters. The whole thing is just sung with so much joy by Shannon Chan-Kent. It’s essentially a Christmas version of the Smile Song without feeling too similar. If you don’t remember this song, or you skipped over this episode, I’m begging you to go up and listen to it rn.
7. Glass of Water
John De Lancie? Singing? As Discord? We were spoiled.
The context of this song was that Discord had fallen ill and butted into Twilight’s special day with Cadence in order to force them to care for him. While sick, he makes ludicrous requests for things he needs, being the God of Chaos and all that.
Yes, I know that he likely recorded this at a much slower tempo and they sped it up. I would be surprised if they didn’t, and that doesn’t make it any less impressive imo.
And speaking of tempo, the song has a total of SIX tempo changes!! I couldn’t find anywhere online that actually listed what these tempos were, but I used a tempo counter that approximated the song at about 102 bpm to start, with a grand finale at about 188 bpm. Celestia almighty.
And the lyrics are just genius. Because Discord is the lord of chaos, he could request literally ]anything while sick, and that opens up the lyrics to a lot more rhymezone.com results than most songs can get away with. You can hardly tell what he’s saying, it goes so fast, and then every time you re-listen, you hear a new lyric you didn’t catch the first time. Every measure of the song is filled with chaos, and that’s exactly what I expect from Discord.
Daniel Ingram is just showing off here. As he should.
6. The Friend You Need
When I first watched the 2017 MLP Movie, and this song came on, I knew that Capper was not to be trusted. But why? He doesn’t do or say anything offensive that may tip off the ponies to his true intentions. All of the lyrics of his song “The Friend You Need" on their own are perfectly innocent. But there is a contrast between what he is singing and the way he is singing it.
“The Friend You Need" is officially in the key of D minor, which is “serious and pious" according to the infographic I posted just a little bit above. Well, “serious and pious" is certainly a contrast to the lyrics about being friendly and chummy, but, can this song really be described that way? Hardly. It’s sneaky, slippery, mysterious and alluring, sinister and mischievous, NOT "serious and pious". Why doesn’t it sound like a D minor song should?
Well, it’s hardly a D minor song. The sheet music is littered with accidentals, which represent a note that is meant to be played outside of the indicated key signature. So while the song is officially in the key of D minor, it’s constantly stepping in and out of its own key, sneaking around and pretending to be things that it isn’t. Just like Capper is.
5. Under Our Spell
When the first Equestria Girls movie came out, I was less than impressed, especially by the villain Sunset Shimmer. But setting the bar that low just made the Dazzlings and Rainbow Rocks stand out even more!
The Dazzlings are literal reptilian siren beasts trapped inside human bodies in a human high school, so I had high expectations for their singing, ESPECIALLY considering the leader of the sirens is voiced and sung for by Kazumi Evans. And wow, did they deliver. Evan’s sultry alto voice for Adagio isn’t quite the same as the one she used for Luna, but it’s perfect for sounding a little bit more sinister. And I also have to give it to Shylo Sharity and Madeline Merlo for their beautifully haunting background “ahh"’s.
I know that as a vocalist, it can be disheartening to be pushed into an “ahh-ahhh-ahh" role of a song, rather than getting to sing actual lyrics, but these lines usually add a lot to a song, especially when you have more than one note in the background lines, just listen to any acapella mix! The “ahh"’s in Under Our spell are specifically sung to resemble to alluring call of a siren, or at least what we imagine one would sound like, which makes their addition to the song not just a musical choice but also a storytelling one.
Sonata and Aria never overshadow Adagio, she will always be the main singer, but their voices in the background are just as essential to make this song work as well as it does, so kudos to them both. If only this song was longer
4. A Kirin Tale
A lot of people say that MLP lost it's groove after about season 6-7, and I would agree with that. However, I could never in good conciousness tell someone to stop watching past that point, because season 8 and 9 both have some rare gems that make them worthwhile. This song and the episode it comes from are both examples of this and, Sound of Silence was probably the best episode to come out of season 8.
First of all, the song catches you off guard. Autumn Blaze indicates, in a very somber tone that she would rather not talk about her past. For a second, you have a very serious moment, where you're like, oh shit, what could have happened to the Kirin that was so bad they won't even talk about it. And then she goes "I'd rather SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING" like the absolute madlass she is.
Normally, I don't like lore-dumps, and MLP is notoriously bad at them, but this song manages to tell the entire backstory of a species and provide character insight on Autumn Blaze herself without losing my interest. THIS is how lore dumps should be done! I don't want any more scenes of characters going into a library and finding an "ancient book" that "holds the legend" anymore. That is so boring and so tired. I want characters with no social skills but high amounts of random knowledge to sing silly songs about their life, their past, their interests, with lore drops elegantly woven in! Where were these writers during the 6 pillars arc???
The song doesn't do anything crazy musically, (aside from some spoken dialogue i guess). There are no key changes, the motifs are not drastically different from each other, but it's honestly better that way I think. It's just Autumn Blaze telling her story, and I think the song would be a bit all over the place if she slowed way down and changed to a minor key to sing about the sad parts of her life. She keeps her energy throughout which establishes her character consistently rather than sacrificing it to have le epic sad moments in the song.
The use of visuals throughout this song are also excellent!
3. Smile Song
As I said much earlier, when Pinkie Pie is written at her best, she really shines. In the episode "Friend in Deed", Pinkie Pie is arguably.... well, not written at her best is the general consesus. The whole plot of the episode is her wearing down a poor old man until he accepts her as a friend. And even though Pinkie Pie is my favorite, when she isn't written well, she really falls flat and can be just plain annoying.
HOWEVER, even with all of that said, this episode opens with probably the best Pinkie Pie moment in existence. It starts off very cute and simple, the song, that is. As far as instruments, I can only hear a tambourine and some acoustic strumming so far. But every verse that goes by, something is added. And this is done as she greets more and more ponies, spreading another smile after each lyric. So as the music gradually crescendos, so is Pinkie Pie's influence on the townsponies. It's a clever way to show us just how important Pinkie Pie is to everypony here, they all join in with her to sing about the joy she gives them.
By the end of the song, we have a full chorus and band playing, which makes the climax of the song feel all the more grand. There is a short key change for the final verse to really hype up the final note, which is a beautiful harmony with i don't even know how many notes.
Finally, having this epic musical swell about joy and happiness and love for life end immediately with Cranky Doodle Donkey's sour mug is hilarious and really sets up the conflict of the episode well, even if it ultimately doesn't deliver (in my opinion). This song has genuinely improved my outlook on life, the first time I heard it I was just a wee lass who was experiencing the first symptoms of what would become a clusterfuck of mental illness and I think it helped me stay positive even when things started to get really scary.
Just don't look up the HD version of this one
Before I get to the two finalists, I wanna shout out some songs that were considered for this list that didn't make the top 10. They're all great, otherwise they wouldn't be here, but there could only be 10 ;) These are in no particular order
The Spectacle (Flashing lights warning)
EDM exists in Equestria?! I love her background dancers and also the use of the autotune spell. Real shame that by the end of the episode, Coloratura became a generic white girl singer songwriter with a piano and a tendency to tremolo on every god damn note.
Apple to The Core
I never knew that I wanted to be a member of the Apple family until I heard this. Cute song that establishes the bond that the Apple family shares really well. Only wish that Big Mac would have sang a verse!
At the Gala
A classic. Old but gold. Would have ranked it much higher if everyone got a cool and unique verse like Dash did.
I've got to find a way
Twilight isn't usually one to give up, so it's especially saddening to see her just curl up and cry because she doesn't know what to do to fix this.
I know, this song was manipulative, it HAD to be sad because DHX had to convince us that this goofy ass body swap was just as big of a problem as Queen Chrysalis invading Canterlot or the Crystal Empire being forced into slavery for a tyrant. But it does a damn good job at that, even if I hate this from a writing standpoint, the song technically DOES significantly raise the emotional stakes so... success.
(The embed is an extended version, I imagine it had to be cut down significantly because Magical Mystery Cure was already a crammed clusterfuck of an episode)
I wasn't originally going to include this one for reasons but... it felt wrong not to.
2. This Day Aria
Yeah, yeah, I know. This Day Aria? How original, right? Whatever. There's good god damn reasons this song was so popular. It damn near changed my life as an 11 year old watching for the first time so you're gonna sit your ass down and listen to me preach to the choir, because in this case, the choir is right. And the choir has Britt McKilip as a soloist.
“A Canterlot Wedding" was the two-part finale of season 2. Right after part 2 begins, we get the revelation that the real Cadence was imprisoned by a shapeshifter. This is sort of a quiet, tender moment, as it needs to be for the reuniting of Twilight with the real Princess Cadence. However, reeling back in tone for a little bit for the sake of this moment comes at a cost, they need to get the momentum flowing again before jumping back into the action of the episode.
And I literally can’t think of any other way that would have been more emotionally compelling than watching Princess Cadence duet with a shapeshifting queen disguised as herself in a heartfelt ballad about desires for power and love.
First of all, I already said this in my review for “You’ll Play Your Part", but Britt McKilip has the perfect voice for Cadence. She sings a high soprano range with a recognizable clarity and brightness in her voice. And this was the first time we heard her sing. Her voice is like a magical glass bell… if that makes any sense.
For her lines as Chrysalis, McKilip, the genius she is, projects through her nasal range a little bit (but not to the point where it degrades the quality of her singing). This subtle change in her voice differentiates her from the real Cadence, (even though Chrysalis’s VA has not taken over ye) Britt McKilip’s Chrysalis sounds like a bratty diva who wants to relish in the life of a princess without having to be diplomatic. You can hear this projection really well when she says “Everypony will gather round, say i look lovely in my gown" Compare this to her lines as real Cadence, soon after. She projects more through her throat and chest, which makes the sound more whole and genuine.
This song differs from “Stop the Bats", which is another song with two opposing sides singing about the same thing, because unlike that song, [b]Cadence and Chrysalis are singing in the same key[/b]. Well, mostly. Chrysalis is singing in D flat minor, while Cadence sings in D flat major. Having these two sing in the major and minor version of the same key makes for some really interesting contrasts, you only need to change a few notes to flip back and forth, and they can share a few common chords.
I could gush about Britt McKilip’s performance here for hours. If I was her, I would just use a QR code that links directly to this song as my resume. I don’t know what voice talent agency wouldn’t want this. But let’s not forget the instrumentals at play here either.
I’m positive I heard some sort of chiming instrument during the real Cadence’s verses, not sure what type (vibraphone? Xylophone? idek) and I just want to say that this was a genius choice considering all the crystal imagery present in this song, the fact that they’re trapped in a crystal cave… wait, is this all just foreshadowing Cadence’s future role as the Crystal princess? Sweet Celestia-
After both versions of Cadence get their first verse in, the song wastes no time in ramping up the stakes. I hear building layers of strings being used to add suspense, this builds up to the first big swell of the song (“No I do not love the groom!"). When I listened to this for the first time, this was the moment where I thought, oh shit, she is a real threat
The second major swell of the song is the real Cadence’s, it mirrors Chrysalis’s but in the major key, which makes it sound much more like a yearning for a true love rather than for power. This swell leads right into an instrumental section with some grand sounding brass fanfares that- wait, holy shit.
Did they just use the brass section to transition to the royal wedding with the fanfare being played as princess Cadence walks in? This tiny detail blows me away. It’s something they didn’t have to do this, but they did, and that type of thing elevates the quality of these songs so much more.
Watching this two parter as a 12 year old girl was a core memory of my life. I remember trying to learn a simplified version of this song on the piano after it came out, because i just loved it that much.
Oh! And while a lot of people seem to give this song the praise it deserves, I never see anyone talk about the reprise. This is a perfect example of using a reprise to add something meaningful to the story without just repeating the song. And while Britt McKilip set the bar astonishingly high, Kathleen Barr was also able to deliver for this reprise.
If you watched any of G3, you would know that her primary roles in MLP were usually minor characters like Sweetberry who’s defining characteristic was…. That she liked berries. She also had other similar roles, she was in at least four Barbie movies from the early 2000’s. Now, suddenly Hasbro is casting her as Queen of the changelings? This is way outside of her normal range and i imagine she was a bit surprised when she saw the character for the first time. But good god she KILLED it.
And finally… the moment you’ve all been waiting for….
1. Welcome to the Show
This song is the climax of the second Equestria Girls movie “Rainbow Rocks". The Dazzlings have worked their way up to the top of the Battle of the Bands and now their last enemy to defeat is the Rainbooms.It starts out with a chilling melody from the Dazzlings, again, reminiscent of a siren’s call. There are clever hints about their struggle for power in the lyrics. It’s yet another banger of a villain song, played in the dark key of B minor
And then the Rainbooms come in. (1:48) It’s honestly kind of awkward, their verse. It feels out of place and much weaker than the Dazzling’s part. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think this was a conscious decision. This part of the song is in D major, which first of all, clashes with B minor, and second of all, is described as a “quarrelsome" key. Keep that in mind for just a second.
I have another reason that this weak part of the song actually serves the overall narrative, and that’s because the Rainbooms aren’t at their full power yet. Sure, they transform into their “pony’d up" forms, but remember that these forms are powered by [b]Equestrian Magic[/b] and in Equestria, friendship is magic, and there’s a big friendship problem here.
The Rainbooms have not accepted Sunset as a friend yet. Sure, they tolerate her and let her hang around, but it’s clear that they think less of her than the other members of the group. Remember how D major is described as a quarrelsome key? The characters never outright fight with Sunset Shimmer in the movie, but it’s clear they don’t value her and that there are tense feelings both ways. The biggest glaring example of this was that Sunset was never invited to join the band.
In this awkward middle stage of the song, Sunset is just standing in the back like a wet orphaned cat, pretending to be moral support and just hoping that no one notices her. Case in point.
Anyways, moving on. Obviously, the Dazzlings are easily able to overpower this pathetic display of resistance. (2:40). We get an awesome guitar riff as they transform into their siren forms. And then we get a sequence where they literally use their voices to fight. Twilight’s “ooh wa-oh-wa-oh!!!" is honestly kind of funny to me, but the sirens, again, shut it right down.
I actually really like this sequence, because we have seen the sirens only using their music magic to sneakily hypnotize other students, but this is just a straight up voice blast. There are some great harmonies and chords used in these attacks. (sorry couldn't find a better quality gif :P )
For a moment after this, it appears that The Rainbooms have been defeated. They lost in battle, and had an objectively much worse part of the song. When all hope is lost, Sunset picks up the microphone.(3:58) This is a big deal for her, because prior to this point, the characters have been keeping her on a tight leash. This is her chance to prove herself.
She starts off her own verse of the song, this time, in E major. This key feels a little more complete than D major, and it mixes much naturally against the B minor of the Dazzlings.
The Rainbooms join in too, which is a narrative symbol that they approve of this action she took on her own volition, and want to encourage/amplify it. Sunset may have been a really lackluster villain, but as a redeemed character, she has a really compelling arc and this song is a key moment in that arc. When she gets her own pony form, and finishes off the Dazzlings, she has been accepted as a member of the group. She’s not just a moral support character anymore, she has earned her place in the cast. The Rainboom’s rebuttal against the Dazzlings didn’t sound complete until she joined in, and that’s what makes this song a masterpiece.