Brow Beat

The Best Song in Moana Is This David Bowie–Inspired Ode to Materialism Sung by a Flamboyant Purple Crab

He may appear in just one scene, but Tamatoa, the glam-rock crustacean voiced by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement, is quite possibly Moana’s most appealing character. Now you can watch the full clip of his musical number, “Shiny,” a deliciously devious ode to materialism inspired by David Bowie, sung as the giant, villainous crab toys with the movie’s heroes, Moana and Maui, and refuses to give up his haul. (He’s a bit of a hoarder, you see.) Some of writer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s best wordplay is at work in the song, and with just as dash of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in the mix, the clip also highlights character’s parallels to The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, another purple-tinged, gender-bending Disney villain.

Disney had previously released a demo for “Shiny,” sung by Miranda, with plenty of synths and some lyrics that didn’t make the final cut. (“Call me selfish/ call me shellfish”? Not your best, Lin.) In the end, the final cut of the song is as much Clement’s as Miranda’s, and it’s his vocal talents that make it really, er, shine. Good thing he had plenty of practice—Flight of the Conchords did a Bowie-inspired episode back in 2007, and it remains excellent.