Lin-Manuel Miranda undoubtedly had an amazing year in 2021, and his success is only continuing in 2022. The Puerto Rican songwriter and playwright, penned the soundtrack for the hit Disney film, Encanto, released in November and had all of us singing along before the credits even rolled. Now, one of the song’s from the film, just took the #1 spot on Spotify’s US chart. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” had 839,000 streams as of January 3, 2022, which also allowed the catchy track to slip into the top 20 on Spotify’s global chart. The song is performed by voice cast members Carolina Gaitán (voice of Pepa), Mauro Castillo (voice of Félix), Adassa (voice of Dolores), Rhenzy Feliz (voice of Camilo), Diane Guerrero (voice of Isabela), and Stephanie Beatriz (voice of Mirabel).
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” is a song about the various members of the Madrigal family’s experience with Abuela’s son, Bruno, who was always the black sheep of the family, and struggled to fit in so badly that he ended up going into hiding for years. The lyrics tell his story from the perspective of everyone else, which is interesting, but we’re also betting some of its popularity comes from the fact the chorus is pretty easy to sing along to, and little ones probably love it.
“Every verse and every stanza introduce a different character,” Miranda said in a press release. “They’re all riding the same musical landscape, but they ride it completely differently. Everyone sings the same chord progression with a totally different rhythm and a totally different cadence.”
“I think every family has stories you’re not allowed to talk about—we all have land mines inside our families,” he added. “The more forbidden something is, the more you want to talk about it.”
The Spotify news was followed up by word that the full Encanto soundtrack made into the top 10 albums on Billboard’s Hot 100 during the first week of January as well. The soundtrack was number seven this week, making a massive jump from number 110 the week prior. Encanto which of course, is the first full-length, animated Disney film to feature a Latina heroine, hit theaters on November 24, 2021 (the day before Thanksgiving), bringing in more than $90,000,000 as of December 30, 2021, making it the number 1 animated (including hybrid, animated/live-action) film of the entire year.
Disney released the film on its streaming service Disney+ on Christmas Eve, sans the “premiere access” status a number of the company’s major releases from the past year including, Mulan and Black Widow, were given in the past year. This allowed subscribers able to watch the film without shelling out an additional $19.99, and presumably widening the film’s audience by a huge amount.
In fact, third party aggregator, Samba TV, says that two million subscribers streamed Encanto during its first weekend on Disney+ alone, which is more than even Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—arguably the streamers biggest release of the year— had in the same timeframe.
Unsurprisingly, another song from the Encanto soundtrack, “Surface Pressure,” performed by Cuban-American actress, Jessica Darrow who voices one of the eldest Madrigal sisters, Luisa, has been blowing up on social media. The song is about the toll it takes being the “strong one” who shoulders all the burdens of the entire family which resonated with eldest siblings, children of immigrants and people who otherwise are expected to take on a larger share of family responsibilities.
The song has inspired a number of TikToks analyzing the message of the song and how it’s such an accurate reflection of the pressure of keeping it all together and being the rock of the family. It’s gotten so popular, that “Surface Pressure” ended up debuting on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs this week at No.54, putting Jess on the Billboard charts for the first time in her career.
Although Encanto very clearly speaks to the Latinx and immigrant experiences and for the most part, does so without whitewashing or erasing important facets of Latinx culture, the film’s message of love, acceptance, confidence and togetherness, is clearly touching the hearts of viewers from all backgrounds. The music itself is lyrically powerful and, like anything fro Miranda does, the music is super catchy and fun so it’s no wonder the Encanto soundtrack climbed from No. 110 to No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart for the week ending Dec. 30, 2021.
Excuse us while we go stream the soundtrack…