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How ‘Encanto’ and its vibrant soundtrack became a phenomenon

In "Encanto," Mirabel is voiced by Stephanie Beatriz and Bruno by John Leguizamo. The Disney film's soundtrack has landed four songs in Billboard's Hot 100, including “We Don’t Talk About Bruno."Disney/Associated Press

It’s almost midnight. The kids are finally in bed after a long day of virtual learning — and little to no indication of when things might finally go back to normal or anything like it. The dishes, so many dishes, have been cleaned and put away. You’ve finally quieted your mind enough to go to sleep (before you have to do it all over again) and suddenly, there it is creeping into your head again:

We don't talk about Bruno.

No, no, no.

We don't talk about Bruno.

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” for the uninitiated, is a song from the lively soundtrack to Disney’s “Encanto.” The animated film, about a Colombian family with magical gifts and an enchanted fortress that has protected them for generations, arrived in theaters in November to warm reviews. But the movie and its soundtrack, featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a score by Germaine Franco, have gotten more popular since “Encanto” landed on Disney+ last month. Last week, the soundtrack soared to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, becoming the first Disney soundtrack to do so since “Frozen 2″ in 2019. The showstopping earworm “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” landed at No. 5 on the Hot 100.

In total, four songs from the film are on the Hot 100, nestled between smashes from Adele, Lil Nas X, Taylor Swift, and the Weeknd. Its success, boosted by the film’s streaming debut and scores of “Encanto”-themed TikTok videos, has earned comparisons to “Frozen” — another musical Disney juggernaut that gets a cheeky shout-out from none other than the mysterious Bruno in a different number.

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Here's what you need to know about the soundtrack lighting up the charts.

It has Lin-Manuel Miranda’s signature touch.

“Encanto” has a narrative soundtrack, with songs that move the story forward — and as any fan will tell you, the story is a layered one. The film follows Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” fame) as she investigates the tenuous state of her family’s miracle: the enchanting events that bestowed her widowed grandmother with a magical casita in which to raise her three children and generations to come.

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The film’s opening song, “The Family Madrigal,” is a buoyant introduction to the Madrigals and their magical gifts. By the end of the song, which entered the Hot 100 at No. 62 last week, Mirabel has revealed everyone’s gift but her own — and that’s where the real story begins.

If you didn’t know the “Hamilton” creator was responsible for “Encanto’s” original songs, you would almost certainly know by the time you heard “Surface Pressure.” In the bouncy track, the brawny Luisa (Jessica Darrow) belts out her anxiety and resolve around the (literal) heavy lifting she takes on to help her family. It contains one of the most Miranda-esque lines ever: “Under the surface, I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus,” Luisa sings before asking, “Was Hercules ever like ‘Yo, I don’t wanna fight Cerberus?’ ”

That mythological tidbit feels like it was written by a man who (*checks notes*) read an 800-plus page book while he was supposed to be on vacation and then wrote a Broadway smash based on it.

The songs pull from traditional and contemporary influences.

“Encanto’s” soundtrack and score celebrate Colombia’s rich and diverse musical traditions while featuring some of its brightest stars. “Colombia Me Encanto,” performed by singer-songwriter Carlos Vives, is a love letter to the South American country. Other Colombian musicians, including pop stars Maluma and Sebastián Yatra, also appear on the soundtrack.

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Yatra sings one of the film’s most heart-rending songs, “Dos Oruguitas,” a violin-filled track about two caterpillars that must go their separate ways, despite their immense love for each other, to grow and find their own futures as butterflies. Miranda told Billboard that the Oscar-shortlisted song, envisioned as a Colombian folk song, is his first completely written in Spanish without translating from English (though Yatra also performs a mostly English version called “Two Oruguitas”).

Some “Encanto” fans have lobbied for “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” an ensemble medley inspired by multiple genres, to get an Oscar nod, but the studio submitted only its symbolic, violin-filled tear-jerker. The song revolves around Mirabel’s prophetic uncle Bruno (voiced by John Leguizamo), who became estranged from his family after sharing unsettling visions.

TikTok can’t get enough.

“Encanto” has found its own corner of TikTok, where fans have used the platform to float character theories, dance enthusiastically to musical numbers, therapize the Madrigals (and those who relate to them), and point out blink-and-you-missed-it details — like the fact that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is such a bop that even the unfairly maligned Bruno can’t help but nod his head to it. All said, the “Encanto” hashtag has been viewed more than 8.9 billion times on the social media platform.

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Abuela would be proud.