PTFeature_EncantoWeDontTalkAboutBruno
Disney

‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ Tops ‘Let It Go’

"We Don't Talk About Bruno" has become the biggest musical hit from a Disney animated film since 1995! Here's why it won't win an Oscar.
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Raise your hand if you’re ready to talk about Bruno!

I can’t be the only one who’s had Encanto’s catchiest tune stuck in my head for weeks. And you know what? I’m not even mad about it.

Okay, Let’s Talk About Bruno

For anyone living under a rock (which you’d have to be if you haven’t heard the song or seen Encanto at this point), “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is all about the Madrigal family’s estranged uncle Bruno. He’s been given the gift of seeing the future, something that everyone else apparently had trouble understanding. They think he only makes predictions of misfortune. Ostracized for nothing more than being the messenger, he has disappeared and the remaining family members “don’t talk about Bruno.”

We Don't Talk About Bruno from Encanto
Disney

He may not really have a seven-foot frame with rats along his back – okay, his rat buddies are real – but it’s time to talk about Bruno. The catchy song from Disney’s latest animated feature has managed to topple an impressive record from Frozen.

Move over, Elsa!

Released by Walt Disney Studios at the end of 2021, Encanto is the 60th film produced by the studio. It features the Madrigal family, whose members have been given magical gifts which they use to serve their community in Colombia. They have abilities like super strength, shapeshifting, the power to heal, and more. However, protagonist Mirabel is treated differently for mysteriously never being granted a magical gift like everyone else. When Mirabel discovers the family magic is in danger, she sets out to fix it.

The soundtrack for Encanto is as amazing as the film itself. It features original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda has won plenty of accolades, including Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. You may know him for writing the music and songs for Moana, or perhaps for writing the script, music, and lyrics for Broadway’s Hamilton. With talent like that, it’s no wonder that Encanto‘s soundtrack has charmed audiences.

Among the songs in Encanto, though, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has definitely come out on top.

Why Encanto‘s Surprise Hit Song Won’t Win an Oscar

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was a surprise hit–it looks like Disney didn’t even see it coming. The track about the magical black sheep relative was never promoted as a single. In fact, it wasn’t even submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. “Dos Oruguitas,” performed by Colombian singer-songwriter Sebastián Yatra and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was submitted instead.

Talk about a mistake. “Dos Oruguitas” is lovely, and reveals the truth about Abuela Madrigal’s tragic past. However lovely it is, though, the song just doesn’t seem to have the magnetism that “Bruno” does.

Unfortunately, this is one of those things that proves hindsight is 20/20. The Academy’s deadline for song submissions is November 1. By then, Encanto hadn’t even come out yet and hadn’t screened for critics. Disney had to make a decision without any reviews or responses. It can be hard for studios to predict how audiences will react. They were likely banking on “Dos Oruguitas” hitting audiences in the feels, making it a safer bet.

So, why didn’t they just submit all of the songs from Encanto? Academy rules dictate that no more than two songs from any one film can be nominated for Original Song.

“Bruno” Is Climbing the Charts

Regardless of the Oscar nod, the charts are showing just how enchanted everyone is with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” The track has even surpassed “Let It Go,” performed by Idina Menzel.

That Oscar-winning hit peaked at no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 2014. “Let It Go” became an undeniable force and it was literally everywhere. At the time, it was the first Disney hit to break into the top five since Vanessa Williams’ 1995 cover of “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas.

That was the last time Disney cracked the top five, until now. According to the latest Billboard charts, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is now sitting at no. 1! It didn’t just get there, either. “Bruno” is at the top of the Hot 100 for the second week in a row!

That means that Encanto’s “Bruno” has not only cracked the top five, but it has also surpassed Frozen’s earworm as the highest-charted Disney animated hit in more than 20 years. And what’s even more impressive? It one-ups the only other song from a Disney animated film to make it to no. 1: “A Whole New World,” which spent one week at the top. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is now the first song from a Disney animated film to top the Hot 100 for multiple weeks.

Audience-Driven Success

Again, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was never promoted as a single or submitted for award consideration. That means that the song’s success has been organic.

Bruno from Encanto
Disney

“The organic nature of the audience landing on ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ really is the marketplace picking the single and that’s quite unusual, especially for an animated film,” said Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author for Slate. He also hosts the outlet’s history podcast, Hit Parade.

“You’ve got this very bespoke situation where this left-field. Almost patter song with multiple artists gets the big rise on the charts,” Molanphy continued. “But you have to throw several things into the blender to explain how this happened.”

How the Success of “Bruno” Is So Different

It is kind of unusual when you look at other major hit songs from Disney. Let’s review the only other songs from animated Disney films to hit the top five on the Hot 100.

  • “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. It hit no. 1 in 1993.
  • “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, performed by Elton John. It hit no. 4 in 1994.
  • “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, performed by Vanessa Williams. It hit no. 4 in 1995.
  • “Let It Go” from Frozen, performed by Idina Menzel. It hit no. 5 in 2014.

Just glancing at this list, there are a few similarities that these songs share, that “Bruno” does not.

Related: Rating the Top 10 Billboard Hits of the 90s

First and foremost, these are standalone songs. They are ballads that make sense to listeners, even outside the context of the movies. Sure, seeing Aladdin puts “A Whole New World” into a better context, but you can listen to that song without even knowing who Aladdin and Jasmine are.

Performed midway through the film, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is not a standalone track. It’s less a chart-topping ballad and more about continuing the plot. The song won’t make much sense to a listener who has never seen Encanto, as multiple members of the Madrigal family reveal why they feared him and his prophecies. Without seeing the movie, you’d likely be asking “Who’s Bruno?” and “Why is he killing pet fish?”

“Bruno” Didn’t Get That Radio Makeover

There’s another similarity that most of those chart-topping songs from Disney’s animated films have in common: three of them were given makeovers for the radio. Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” is the only one (before “Bruno”) that reached the top five on Billboard’s Top 100 without any change.

The other three songs are single versions that were performed by other recording artists and are not the same within the movies themselves. For instance, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle perform the version of “A Whole New World” that hit no. 1, but the duet was originally recorded by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga for the movie. Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” charted, but it is performed by Kristie Edwards, Joseph Williams, Sally Dworsky, Nathan Lane, and Ernie Sabella in The Lion King.

See related: 25 Biggest Hit Songs From Disney Animated Films

Other Encanto Chart Successes

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” isn’t the only hit from Encanto, either. Despite not being marketed as a single or being submitted for awards, Luisa’s “Surface Pressure” is seeing considerable success, too. Featuring older sister Luisa, the song sheds light on the mounting pressure the character is feeling as she carries so much weight on her shoulders. She’s the strong one, after all.

This one is definitely resonating with Encanto fans. To be honest, it’s easy to see why. “Surface Pressure,” which is perhaps more of a standalone track than “Bruno,” touches on a common feeling that extends well beyond the animated film. Sure, it develops the character, but her dream of living without the huge weight of responsibility is more than just a little relatable for many people.

Performed by Jessica Darrow, “Surface” is currently at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 100. It will be interesting to see if the song reaches higher on the charts as the weeks go on. Will Luisa be strong enough to overpower “Bruno”?

The Encanto soundtrack as a whole is seeing plenty of success as well. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week, and the soundtrack for Encanto is no. 1 again for the fourth week. Streaming activity drove a majority of that – and as a parent whose three kids won’t stop listening to it, that definitely tracks.