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Savages

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Savages
Originally performed by
Composer Alan Menken
Lyrics Stephen Schwartz
Performer(s) Pocahontas
Governor Ratcliffe
Chief Powhatan
Kekata
Feature films Pocahontas
Short films
Television programs Fantasmic!
Attractions
Video games
Albums Pocahontas (Original Soundtrack)
Preceded by "Colors of the Wind"
Followed by "If I Never Knew You"
Video
Pocahontas "Savages" 1080p HD03:24

Pocahontas "Savages" 1080p HD

"Savages" is a group song featured in Disney's Pocahontas.

Background

It addresses themes of othering, xenophobia, and genocide. It is meant to paint both sides in a realistic light of the paranoia and hatred they would feel towards the other side if they had killed one of their group. When decontextualized beyond the characters and situation of the story, the song has been negatively received by critics, who deem it to be racist and horrid, arguing that it encourages the listener to dehumanize Native Americans. Plus, it is sung by two sides: Governor Ratcliffe, English settlers and Chief Powhatan and the Native Americans. There are two parts of this song, with Pocahontas joining in in the second part. But at the end of the first part, the shadowy smoke clouds representing the Powhatans and the English settlers are collided and struck by a lightning bolt.

Synposis

The song sees the British colonizers and the Native American sing about how the other group are savages, and how they will go to war to wipe out the foreign race. The "Powhatans and the colonists break into the same song as they prepare for the upcoming battle".

Composition

Pocahontas sings counterpoint melodies during the song which are variations on "Colors of the Wind" and "Steady as a Beating Heart". She sings of peace and love to juxtapose their words. This is a "war call that brings back fond memories of the ensemble layers of "The Mob Song" in Beauty and the Beast and the ominous tone of "Hellfire" in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Themes

The song condemns the mixing of races, which some critiques have pointed out is a social construct. The British side is critical of those who do not believe in a Christian God. That side also claims "Native Americans are not civilized, normal, and educated people". The Native Americans also demonize the Whites, describing them as "demon and paleface", and wondering if they bleed. It is "heavily emphasized that the difference between the two peoples are the real cause of the war".

Critical response and reception

The Washington Post wrote "The most heavy-handed of the seven songs composed by Academy-Award winning composer, Alan Menken with lyrics by lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, "Savages" lacks the vivacity and wit that Menken's late partner, Howard Ashman, brought to previous Disney musicals". Hidefdigest said "From "Just Around the Riverbend" to "Savages," 'Pocahontas' has one of the Disney's most unforgettable soundtracks". It however praised the audio and visual quality: "Each of the memorable songs is belted at lofty volumes that seem to surround the listener. The best example of this is the "Savages" musical number. The sub-woofer pounds out the drum beats while both camps sing about their hate for each other. Their voices echo throughout the soundfield. The low-end sonics are deep and rumbling. It's probably the best sounding sequence of the whole film." Americana E-Journal said "This song “Savages” does not lack political incorrectness; moreover, it is nothing but the shocking anger and grievance felt against the other" and notes the song serves as a substitute to actually depicting the bloody war.

The "Pocahontas Paradox: A Cautionary Tale for Educators" describes the song as "especially unsettling" and "brutal", arguing "While the song presumably meant to unearth and thus neutralize from a perspective 350 years after the fact a pervasive racism of the earlier era, the song nonetheless embodies a complexity of attitudes and beliefs that remain, at their core, offensive to American Indian people and needless to say detrimental to Indian children". Gurl deemed it "gross" and unnecessary, adding "They could have portrayed the issues between settlers and Native Americans without throwing in a catchy song that perpetuates the idea that Native American people aren't human". PBWorks said the song is "extremely offensive", and commented that the lyrics "cultural sensitivity and are incredibly detrimental to Natives Americans". University of Texas anthropologist Pauline Turner Strong wrote "for many Native Americans "savage" is the "S" word, as potent and degrading as the word "rigger." I cannot imagine the latter epithet repeated so often, and set to music in a G-rated film and its soundtrack. It is even more shocking to write it in a review. Is "savage" more acceptable because it is used reciprocally? But then does this not downplay the role the colonial ideology of savagism played in the extermination and dispossession of indigenous people".


Lyrics

Part 1

Ratcliffe:
What can you expect from filthy little heathens?
Here's what you get when races are diverse! (Soundtrack version: "Their whole disgusting race is like a curse!")

Their skin's a hellish red.
They're only good when dead!
They're vermin, as I said, and worse!

English Settlers:
They're savages!
Savages!

Ratcliffe:
Barely even human.

English Settlers:
Savages! Savages!

Ratcliffe:
Drive them from our shore!
They're not like you and me, which means they must be evil.
We must sound the drums of war!

English Settlers:
They're savages!
Savages!
Dirty shrieking devils! (Soundtrack version: "Dirty redskin devils!")

Ratcliffe and English Settlers:
Now we sound the drums of war!

Powhatan:
This is what we feared.
The paleface is a demon.
The only thing they feel at all is greed.

Kekata:
Beneath that milky hide, there's emptiness inside.

Native American Indians:
I wonder if they even bleed.
They're savages!
Savages!

Powhatan and Native American Indians:
Barely even human.

Native American Indians:
Savages! Savages!

Powhatan:
Killers at the core.

Kekata:
They're different from us,
which means they can't be trusted.

Powhatan:
We must sound the drums of war.

Native American Indians:
They're savages!
Savages!
First we deal with this one.
Then we sound the drums of war.

English Settlers:
Savages! Savages!

Ben:
Let's go get a few, men! (Soundtrack version: "Let's go kill a few, men!")

Native American Indians:
Savages! Savages!

Ratcliffe:
Now it's up to you, men!

All:
Savages! Savages!
Barely even human!
Now we sound the drums of war!

Part 2

(In soundtrack)
Pocahontas:
Is there nothing I can do?
Will this really be the end?
Is it only death that waits
Just around the riverbend?

Ratcliffe:
This will be the day.
(Let's go, men!)

Powhatan:
This will be the morning.
(Bring out the prisoner!)

Native American Indians:
We will see them dying in the dust.

Pocahontas:
I don't know what I can do.
Still, I know I've got to try.

Ratcliffe and English Settlers:
Now we make them pay.

Pocahontas:
Eagle, help my feet to fly.

Native American Indians:
Now without a warning.

Pocahontas:
Mountain, help my heart be great.

Native American Indians:
Now we leave 'em blood and bone and rust.

Pocahontas:
Spirits of the Earth and Sky...

English Settlers and Native American Indians:
It's them or us.

Pocahontas:
Please don't let it be too late...

English Settlers and Native American Indians:
They're just a bunch of filthy, stinking...

Native American:
Savages!

English Settlers:
Savages!

Native American Indians:
Demons!

English Settlers:
Devils!

Ratcliffe:
Kill them!

Native American Indians:
Savages!

English Settlers:
Savages!

Ratcliffe and English Settlers:
What are we waiting for?

Ratcliffe, English Settlers, and Native American Indians:
Destroy their evil race until there's not a trace left.

Pocahontas:
How loud are the drums of the war?

Radcliffe, English Settlers, and Native American Indians:
We will sound the drums of war! Savages! Savages!

Radcliffe, English Settlers, and Native American Indians:
Now we sound the drums of war! Savages! Savages!

English Settlers and Native American Indians:
Now we see what comes of trying to be chums.

English Settlers Native American Indians:
Now we sound the drums of...

Pocahontas:
Is this the death of all I love carried in the drumming of...

English Settlers and Native American Indians
War!

Gallery

Trivia

  • This is the third song to have a voice actor doing two characters at the same time. (In this case, it's Jim Cummings voicing Chief Powhatan and Kekata.) The first two are "Be Prepared" and "Mine, Mine, Mine". This is also the second time Jim Cummings has voiced two characters in a song.
  • This song is an allegory to racism: English settlers call the Natives "savages" while knowing little to nothing about them and being the true aggressors, Natives call English settlers "savages" for the same reasons.
  • This is the second song that has racist views of Native Americans, the first one being What Made the Red Man Red?, although it is done intentionally to highlight the prejudice held by Governor Ratcliffe.
  • Savages is very similar to "The Mob Song" in Beauty and the Beast. The main villain exploits his men's fear of the unknown to get them on a pretended heroic fight, when actually they only want to satisfy themselves and their vices (Governor Ratcliffe's greed and Gaston's jealousy).
  • The film cuts out Pocahontas' first verse in the second part, instead beginning with Ratcliffe announcing "This will be the day."
  • In the film, Ratcliffe say the verse: "Here's what you get when races are diverse!" However, in the soundtrack, he says "Their whole disgusting race is like a curse."
    • Similarly, in the film, the settlers and Ratcliffe say "Dirty, shrieking devils." The soundtrack uses "Dirty redskin devils", possibly to be more racially sensitive.
  • This song has some similarities with the score of "Paris Burning" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Savages. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


Pocahontas-51bee6915e465
Media: Pocahontas | Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World | Pocahontas (Original Soundtrack) | Pocahontas (video game) | House of Mouse | The Making of Pocahontas

Books: Classic Storybook | Disney's Wonderful World of Reading | Golden Sight 'n' Sound Book | Little Golden Book | Marvel Comics

Characters: Pocahontas | John Smith | Governor Ratcliffe | Thomas | Meeko | Flit | Percy | Wiggins | Grandmother Willow | Chief Powhatan | Nakoma | Kocoum | Kekata | Ben and Lon | John Rolfe | King James | Queen Anne | Mrs. Jenkins | Uttamatomakkin | Namontack | Redfeather

Songs: The Virginia Company | Steady as the Beating Drum | Just Around The Riverbend | Listen With Your Heart | Mine, Mine, Mine | Colors of the Wind | Savages | If I Never Knew You | Where Do I Go From Here | What a Day in London | Wait 'Till He Sees You | Things Are Not What They Appear | Between Two Worlds

Disney Parks: Pocahontas and her Forest Friends

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