The number one song on the charts is a bit of a mystery. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the unlikely hit from Disney’s sleeper animated musical Encanto. Set in a mountainous village in Colombia, the film was a middling commercial success when it was released in Nov 2021. But in recent months it has become a pop culture phenomenon for a confluence of reasons: an expansive discourse on Colombian representation in media, fan videos on TikTok, and of course it's ear-wormy hits.
The musical is yet another notch in the belt for Lin Manuel Miranda (the auteur behind Hamilton and In The Heights) who wrote the now chart-topping song book. While Disney certainly commands vast commercial success, its musicals rarely see such crossover attention. The last #1 Disney musical number was “A Whole New World” from the animated Aladdin back in 1993. Where that song was literally uplifting, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is quite the opposite.
Bruno is the uncle of the Madrigal family, whose skill for seeing the future portends gloom and sends him into exile. In his namesake song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” an ensemble cast trade verses about his ghostly presence (Bruno haunts the family home, living inside its walls). It is an odd ball song, with dark and bizarre lyrics. Sure it starts with a story about rain on a wedding day (which is not ironic), but then it takes a hard left into tales of dead fish, middle aged weight gain, and creeping rats. So then what makes it a hit? A distinctive concoction of salsa piano rhythms, familiar Lin Manuel Miranda-isms, and contemporary pop connections to Camila Cabello, Britney Spears, J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Cardi B.
Listen to Switched On Pop to solve the mystery of what makes “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” a hit.
Lin Manuel Miranda - We Don’t Talk About Bruno, In The Heights, Helpless, Satisfied, My Shot, Wait For It, Say No To This
Cardi B, J Balvin, I Like It
Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee - Despacito
Camila Cabello, Young Thug - Havana
Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
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