Minnie Mouse has released a lofi hip hop album - and it’s an absolute bop. Yes, you read that correctly.
Walt Disney Records has launched a new album of classic Disney songs reimagined in a chill-out beats style, in a bid to appeal to the legions of lofi music fans that use the genre to study, work, and relax.
Lofi Minnie: Focus is heavily influenced by the ever-popular Lofi Girl YouTube channel, which livestreams a playlist of chilled out hip hop beats accompanied by a video of an animated girl studying in her cozy-looking room.
You can get a similar thing from the Disney Music Vevo channel on YouTube, with Minnie relaxing in her room to the reimagined hits (fans of 1995’s A Goofy Movie will immediately notice the large Powerline poster hanging on the wall). The album is also available to play on all the major music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and Tidal.
Using a selection of Minnie Mouse’s favorite songs (that’s everything from The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata to The Little Mermaid’s Under the Sea), the reworked songs sound as nostalgic and familiar as we’d hope - and it works wonderfully for the genre.
Lofi is a genre of music with hip hop, house, and jazz influences, and it’s designed to match the human heart rate with tempos of 70-90 beats per minute - it has a similar vibe to elevator music, with relaxing beats, simple melodies, and nostalgic pops and cracks to evoke the warm sound of a record player or cassette tape. Popularity exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching Internet meme status as people sought out music to help them unwind and concentrate from their bedrooms.
That nostalgic feel is one of the cornerstones of lofi music, and there’s a veritable rabbit hole of microgenres to get lost in (usually ending in the -wave suffix). Delve into a lofi playlist, and you’ll soon find yourself dipping into vaporwave, which takes influence from 80s and 90s lounge music, consumer capitalism, and glitchy early web design. Dig a little deeper, and you might discover Simpsonwave, a YouTube phenomenon that takes almost hallucinatory soundbites from early Simpsons episodes and lays them over chopped and screwed beats.
Disney, therefore, is the perfect candidate for a lofi makeover, and while the music doesn’t veer too far into the darker, trippier side of the genre, tracks like Hercules’ Go The Distance are transformed by swapping out the Broadway-style vocal for soft keys, synths, and tinny electronic drums.
What about Bruno?
While the tracklisting spans the last 30 years of Disney movies, we were surprised to find that We Don’t Talk About Bruno from Encanto was missing. It’s the first Disney song to reach number one in the charts since Aladdin’s A Whole New World, and the tune has become something of a viral sensation following the film’s release in late 2021.
Perhaps the album makers felt the snappy salsa beats wouldn’t translate well enough into the lofi genre, but it does seem like a missed opportunity.
We’d also like to have seen some songs from Disney’s Golden Age reworked into lofi beats. Sure, lofi music generally takes inspiration from the music of the 80s, 90s, and early noughties, but can you imagine a warbling Snow White vocal laid over some distorted beats and shimmering synths?
If that sounds up your street, you should definitely check out Australian musician Pogo’s YouTube channel. His electronic remixes take stems from Alice In Wonderland, Up, The Little Mermaid, and more. They’re a dream to listen to - and they prove that music makers have been taking inspiration from the Disney catalog long before Minnie jumped on the trend.
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Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.