Given their ongoing trend of adapting their canonical animated films into CGI and/or live-action — a trend that came into fashion starting with Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 — Disney has asked Alan Menken to develop original songs for the 2017 remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as the 2019 version of “Aladdin.” In both cases, the songs from the original animated films were merely ported over into the retelling, along with a few new songs to sweeten the pot and, perhaps cynically, search for Oscar consideration. The pattern will repeat with the 2023 version of “The Little Mermaid.”

Speaking to Empire, Rob Marshall described Menken’s “For the First Time” and its context:

“It’s about [Ariel’s] experiences the moment she hits land. […] We needed to create a number that could almost work as a montage, so we could take her through that experience — coming onto the land, what it’s like to put on shoes, have legs. […] Anybody who has a different experience, it’s wondrous and scary at the same time.”

Disney’s animated “Little Mermaid” film was based on the Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, which itself was first published in 1837. In John Musker and Ron Clements’ version of the story, the titular mermaid traded her ability to speak in order to be magically transformed into a human, as she had fallen in love with a young human prince. At the point Ariel walks onto the shore for the first time, she has no voice to sing. This invites speculation as to whether or not “For the First Time” will be presented as an internal monologue, very much the way Menken’s “Speechless” was in the remake of “Aladdin.”