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Let's talk about 'We Don't Talk About Bruno'

The Colombia premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' <em>Encanto</em> in Bogotá in November. The song "We Don't Talk About Bruno" eached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Monday.
Getty Images for Disney
The Colombia premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios' Encanto in Bogotá in November. The song "We Don't Talk About Bruno" eached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Monday.

Have you watched Encanto yet? Even if the answer is no, you've probably heard of it — or, more likely, heard some of the catchy songs from it.

The animated Disney musical debuted in late December and tells the story of the magical (and dysfunctional) Madrigal family, who live in a mystical house in the mountains of Colombia. It features colorful visuals and lavish musical numbers from the powerful mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda. And it's brought us some of 2022's earliest earworms.

Specifically, "We Don't Talk About Bruno." The song comes in under just four minutes, features an ensemble cast and is getting more popular by the day.

It reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Monday, five weeks after it debuted at No. 50. It's performed by an ensemble that includes Encanto cast members Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero and Stephanie Beatriz. And it's only the second song from a Disney animated film to reach those heights, following Aladdin's "A Whole New World" in 1993.

It's also the first Hot 100 No. 1 for Walt Disney Records, whose other chart-topping songs include High School Musical's "Breaking Free" and Frozen's "Let It Go." The song picked up steam over time, with its growing popularity even surprising its creator.

"I'm surprised it's 'Bruno,'" Miranda told People last month. "I feel like this is my 'Send in the Clowns,' which was the late Stephen Sondheim's biggest hit and probably the most random of an incredible career and life making music. But I'll take it!"

Plus, according to a recent tweet from Miranda, the song's titular character almost went by a different name.

But Encanto's other musical numbers are nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the entire soundtrack just spent its third week at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Glen Weldon, co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, spoke to Weekend All Things Considered on Sunday about what could be behind Bruno's particular success.

He said it's not only "insanely catchy," but also happens to regale a very relatable phenomenon: family gossip.

"Every family has that thing that we all agree not to gossip about until you get one of your aunts alone away from the rest of the family, and then it all comes spilling out," he said. "People recognize that. I mean, the song starts with, 'We don't talk about Bruno, no, no, no,' and then immediately, very first verse, you get, 'But it was my wedding day' ... That is doing a lot of very familiar work."

Weldon also credits TikTok with the song's meteoric rise on the charts. Billboard factors the social media app into its charts, he said, and "this song has all the usual stuff that TikTok creators love," from lip-syncing to dance moves to specific characters.

It's not Weldon's favorite song from the movie, however — or the only one steadily climbing the charts. That's this one.

This story first appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.