Pixar’s latest might have you dabbing your eyes, but it’s also likely you’ll catch yourself humming more than a few new tunes as you dance out of the theater in November.
Coco is not exactly Pixar’s first musical — certainly not in the traditional break-into-song sense of the word — but it is the studio’s most music-driven film yet, telling the story of a young boy with a serious penchant for guitar who traces his passion for performing back to his ancestors, by way of an accidental trip to the Land of the Dead whereupon he learns just why his family has banned music for generations.
Along the journey, there’s no lack of diegetic songs, especially by the film’s fanciful main characters: 12-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), his skeletal sidekick Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), and Miguel’s late musical idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). While Gonzalez and Bratt have both already performed one of their songs at Disney’s biennial fan expo this summer, you can thank the guise of animation for even allowing Bernal to grace us with a vibrato: “I couldn’t do that otherwise!” laughs the actor. “But singing through the character lets us non-professional singers be able to actually do it in front of people.”
Ahead of Coco’s November 22 release, EW has a first listen to three of the songs that you’ll see — well, hear — fully rendered in Disney/Pixar glory in the film (and on the soundtrack, available Nov. 10).
The first: “Remember Me,” which you’ll quickly come to know as the signature song of Bratt’s character Ernesto de la Cruz and perhaps the film itself. Why is it so catchy? The bolero ranchero-style song (an homage to the Mexican Corrido style folk ballad of the ‘20s and ‘30s) is written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the Oscar-winning team behind Frozen.
Second: “Un Poco Loco,” a delightful tune that Miguel and Hector find themselves performing on the fly at a talent show in the Land of the Dead. Written by Germaine Franco (Dope, Shovel Buddies) with lyrics by Coco’s co-director/screenwriter Adrian Molina, the son jarocho-style song pulls in indigenous, African, and Spanish musical elements (and seems to be a prime example of director Lee Unkrich and the filmmakers’ serious dedication to its key cultural advisors and research trips).
Finally, take a listen to “The World Es Mi Familia,” a Huapango-inspired song (once again written by Franco and Molina) which Miguel sings in a bid to capture the attention of Ernesto de la Cruz. Spoiler: He gets it.
Coco hits theaters Nov. 22.