In the modern world, we are nowhere without music. Songs have long been a solid part of our lives. Through songs, performers express their inner world and feelings, confess their love, create a whole universe through a song. Songs in the modern world are not only a tool for demonstrating talent, but also for self-expression.
Many performers operate with such a technique as allegory, laying a hidden meaning in the song, so that only by thinking and digging deeper, one can understand the true purpose of the song. In addition, if the song sounds within the framework of a film or cartoon, it often expresses the character of a particular character or contains hidden hints and hints related to the plot of the picture or characters. The song “Surface pressure”, dedicated to strength and responsibility, has also become such.
The 2021 song “Surface pressure” from the famous Disney cartoon “Encanto” translates as “External pressure” (or surface pressure). It is sung by the cartoon character Louise Madrigal, who has the gift of superhuman strength. The song was written and produced by American musician Lin-Manuel Miranda and performed by American actress Jessica Darrow. Miranda dedicated the song to his sister Luz Miranda-Crespo, who always stoically carried such a burden of responsibility that was beyond Lin’s strength, and he always sincerely admired his sister.
The song about struggle and strength shot – she immediately began to occupy the first lines in the charts around the world and brought fame to her performer. Thanks to this song, the cartoon “Encanto” became, in fact, the first Disney film, two songs of which took a firm place in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart (Louise’s song took 8th place in it, and another song from the cartoon, “Not mention Bruno” (“We Don’t Talk About Bruno”). Critics really liked its content, Darrow’s performance style, and the staging, uncharacteristic of Disney songs. The song was inspired by reggaeton, a style of music typical of Latin America.
The plot of the cartoon tells about the magical Madrigal family: thanks to a magic candle, all members of the family have supernatural powers, which they use for the benefit of the family and to help the inhabitants of the neighboring village. All the songs in the cartoon are somehow connected with the abilities of the Madrigal family. The song “Surface pressure” is performed by Louise for a reason. The girl is the strongest person in the family due to the innate magical gift of the Madrigal family, and the hardest work falls on her mighty shoulders.
Louise is accustomed to difficulties and burdens – she can easily lift a huge stone or a live donkey with one hand. Louise is a reliable older sister and support of the family, she is always ready to help and support. And she understands that for the sake of her family she must be perfect – strong, courageous and decisive. She stoically bears the burden of her family, but she is gnawed by anxiety about his fate. The girl sings about how important it is to be strong, confident and calm – and she is just like that, nothing can shake her confidence or break her. In the song, Louise also confesses her experiences and weaknesses to her loved one – her beloved younger sister Mirabelle, whom Louise unconditionally trusts. The strongwoman of the Madrigal family intuitively feels that something bad is coming, and worries that she will not have the strength to protect her family.
After all, who will take her place if she suddenly fails? Who, if not she, will help her family? She is used to pressure from outside – the burden of worries and responsibilities has never frightened her before, but now this pressure is getting stronger. And the mighty Louise is scared – what if she can’t take it this time? The girl appreciates her abilities very much and is afraid of becoming useless if they are lost: she believes that only her abilities make her who she is, and only for this the people around, including her family, appreciate her. It is symbolic that when the magic of the magic candle of the Madrigal family begins to dry up, it is Louise who suffers from this first – the girl loses her supernatural power and falls into despair.
Together with her younger sister Mirabelle, Louise is trying to hide what happened from the family, but is it possible to hide the loss of abilities for a long time by a person who has kept the whole family for a long time? It is thanks to the incident with Louise that the Madrigal family finally realizes that something is wrong with their family’s magic candle and with family magic. Louise, for the first time, understands what it is like to be an ordinary person. The loss of abilities breaks her – without them she is helpless and weak, without them she loses self-confidence and ceases to feel like herself. The song “Surface Pressure” is not only about Louise and her power.
It concerns all people who are accustomed to taking on great responsibility and bearing the burden for others. Being strong and not giving up is important, but you can’t take on too much. It is very important that there is someone nearby with whom you can share your burden – most often it is a family that knows all your weaknesses and accepts you for who you are. After all, a person may not always be strong – if external pressure is stronger than him, he may break. Louise loses her powers because her grandmother is the head of the Madrigal family and the townspeople put too much pressure on her. Trying to help everyone and serve her beloved granny, Louise gradually loses herself. This is one of the reasons why the magic of the Madrigal family is weakening – the bonds within the family itself begin to weaken.
The song is also remembered for its bright and colorful visuals – this is necessary to show both Louise’s external strength and her internal vulnerability. In all scenes, the brave and powerful Louise shows the wonders of her strength, which she knows perfectly, fights monsters and lifts weights, but inside she is not so confident and brave – she is afraid for her family and is afraid of losing her strength, worrying that without strength she will not your family will need.
In addition, there are several references to the song in the cartoon in the visuals (the so-called “Easter eggs” or simply “Easter eggs”). For example, the scene where Louise confronts a huge three-headed dog refers to another Disney cartoon – Hercules, in which the hero is just fighting with the hellish three-headed dog – Cerberus. Another reference is the scene on board the ship where donkeys play musical instruments – a reference to the brave musicians from the famous ship “Titanic” who continued to play, no matter what, to support and calm the frightened passengers of the sinking ship. The sinking ship called Madrigal hints at the threat looming over the family, and the donkeys playing despite the flood – Louise, who is ready to stand up for her family, no matter what, even if it threatens herself.