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"Something There"
Song by Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson featuring Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury and David Ogden Stiers
from the album Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released October 29, 1991
Length 2:18
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Howard Ashman
  • Alan Menken

"Something There" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for Walt Disney Pictures 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). Sung by the majority of the film's main cast, the song was recorded by American actors Paige O'Hara as Belle and Robby Benson as the Beast via voice over, featuring actors Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury and David Ogden Stiers as Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth, respectively. The only song performed by the Beast, "Something There" is heard midway through Beauty and the Beast during a scene in which Belle and the Beast finally begin to acknowledge their feelings for each other.

A last-minute addition to the film, the simple love song was quickly written by Ashman and Menken to replace the more elaborate and ambitious "Human Again" after the latter was cut from Beauty and the Beast. O'Hara based her own vocal performance on that of American singer and actress Barbra Streisand, who Ashman advised the actress to impersonate, while O'Hara herself convinced the songwriters to have Benson record the song. Critical reception towards "Something There" has been positive, with film and music critics alike praising Ashman's abilities as both a songwriter and a storyteller.

Background

"Something There" was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken. According to Menken, "Something There" was written as "a very quick replacement for ... 'Human Again'," the latter of which was ultimately cut from Beauty and the Beast because it was considered "too ambitious" for the film. Eleven minutes in length, producer Don Hahn explained that the song was cut because "We just couldn't figure out how to make it work and not take away from the central story of Belle." Upon learning that "Human Again" was removed from Beauty and the Beast, Ashman and Menken were forced to return "to the drawing board to write something more contained and simple," the ultimate result of which was the love song "Something There," which has been described as "shorter and more direct" than "Human Again". The creative team had originally believed that the Beast saving Belle from the wolves was enough to justify the dance sequence near the end of the film, though later realised they had in fact not yet earned this moment; this quiet song where Beast gives Belle his library was pitched and written by Howard Ashman and "as soon as that was written, we knew the movie was going to work".

In his biography I'm Not Dead... Yet!, actor Robby Benson, voice of the Beast, revealed that it was co-star Paige O'Hara's idea to have Benson's character duet with O'Hara's Belle in "Something There". According to Benson, the actress "explained to Ashman and Menken that [Benson] had made records and sang in Broadway musicals." O'Hara briefly struggled to record one of the song's lines – "a bit alarming" – to which an ailing Ashman, who was forced to communicate with O'Hara and the studio via telephone from his hospital bed in New York due to his illness, simply responded "Streisand." By this, Ashman meant that he wanted O'Hara to impersonate singer and actress Barbra Streisand, and by doing so O'Hara finally recorded the song successfully. "Something There" was recorded by O'Hara and Benson accompanied by a live orchestra.

Composition

Written in the key of D major at a quick allegretto tempo of 108 beats per minute in common time, the "playful" "Something There" is a Broadway musical-inspired duet in which Belle and the Beast finally conclude that "there's something there that wasn't there before." The song spans a duration of two minutes and eighteen seconds, making it the third shortest song on the soundtrack behind the reprises of "Belle" and "Gaston", respectively. Describing "Something There" as "a fluffy song," Filmtracks.com observed that the song "shares many instrumental devices with 'Belle';" one of Belle's verses in "Something There" serves as "a reprise of the secondary phrase from ['Belle']". Combined, O'Hara and Benson's vocal ranges span two octaves, from the low note of G3to the high note of E5. The song, described as "a poignant character number" performed "Against a background of the easy rhythms of soft, lilting violins," "allowed [O'Hara and Benson] to blend their voices." In addition, Women's Studies in Communication observed that the "tentative bursts of notes symbolize the uncertainties of this new way of relating".

In the song's first verse, "Belle articulates how her attraction to [the Beast] stems from his shut-off demeanor," singing, "There's something sweet/And almost kind/But he was mean/And he was coarse and unrefined/But now he's dear/And so unsure/I wonder why I didn't see it there before." The Beast's verse reads, "when we touched she didn't shudder at my paw." According to Laurence E. MacDonald, author of the book The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History, Benson "shocked many filmgoers with his richly resonant baritone." Finally, Belle sings the song's bridge, which reads, "New and a bit alarming/Who'd have ever thought that this could be?/True, that he's no Prince Charming/But there's something in him that I simply didn't see." According to the Los Angeles Times, by the end of "Something There", "the audience understands what Belle and Beast feel and how disconcerting those emotions seem."

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