Release Date: October 30, 2015
Label: Verve and Walt Disney
Producer: David Foster
NE-YO Friend Like Me (Aladdin)
This was the first track of the album that was released and there is even a music video that goes with it. NE-YO makes this track more suave and jazzy than the original so it’s fun to sing and dance along to, but it really isn’t that much more different than the original. This version has a bit more energy than the original, probably because it had a faster beat than the original. Overall, the song is different enough from the original that I can still appreciate it, but not distinctive enough that it’s my favorite track.
Jessie J Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid)
I want to start off by saying that that I LOVE everything about The Little Mermaid. When I was younger I would constantly sing along with Jodi Benson as Ariel sang Part of Your World. I thought the song was perfect and as such, I’m not sure that there will ever be a cover that I will think is even comparable. Unfortunately Jessie J’s cover of this song isn’t anything special. I’ve listened to other Jessie J songs and I must say that I like her voice, but I guess there really isn’t anything that can beat the original for me. I felt like there weren’t many creative differences in the cover and the few that were there weren’t all that good. When Jodi Benson sang the song I could feel the longing that Ariel felt to go on land, but when Jessie J sang the song it just sounded like a regular song. Jessie J didn’t necessarily do a bad job with this song, I just think that it lacks the Disney magic like the original song has. After listening to the song a few times to write this review, I probably won’t ever listen to it again.
Jason Derulo Can You Feel the Love Tonight / Nants Ingonyama (The Lion King)
I go to say, I didn’t have much for this song because it’s hard to imagine Jason Derulo, who sang songs like Talk Dirty to Me and Trumpets, would be able to handle a song like Can you Feel the Love Tonight. Amazingly enough he didn’t do too badly of a job; he adds a nice updated pop feeling to the song, but still manages to keep it relatively similar to the original. However, despite the praise I have for this song I still prefer the original and will likely not re-listen to this track often.
Gwen Stefani The Rainbow Connection (The Muppet Movie)
I’ve never seen anything Muppet related before and as such I’m not really a big fan so I was weary of trying out this song. I’ve never heard this song before this soundtrack so I’m really judging this song not by comparing it to the original, but whether I like it or not. This song was catchy and fun to listen to and it’s just a happy song, so that’s a bonus. Overall, I would say it’s not one of my favorites, but it’s still a great song to listen to.
Ariana Grande Zero To Hero (Hercules)
Ariana Grande has become very big since her departure from Nickelodeon and honestly it’s not hard to see why. She’s got quite the voice on her. The original Zero to Hero from Hercules is a very soulful song and is not an easy song to sing. The back vocals were great as were Ariana’s. Even though I did like this song and in fact this was the song that made me aware that this album was in development, there really wasn’t much of an original spin to it. Even so, I thought the song was good and I’ve been sporadically going back to it. This probably was my second favorite track on this album.
Jhené Aiko In a World of My Own/Very Good Advice (Alice in Wonderland)
This was definitely my favorite track. Honestly, I don’t remember the song from Alice in Wonderland and that may be why I think that this cover sounds very original. Afterward, I did look up the original songs and I did like both In a World of My Own and Very Good Advice, nevertheless I still found the cover by Jhené Aiko to be wonderful. Jhené Aiko manages to put her own style to the music but still make it sound like a Disney song. In addition to that, the combination of the two songs into one was done very well; the transition was incredibly smooth. Also this song is incredibly fun to sing, so it gets bonus points!
Fall Out Boy I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) (The Jungle Book)
Another winner! It’s impossible not to want to dance to this song (at least for me). The instrumentals are definitely the forefront of this song and they absolutely blew me away. Fall Out Boy certainly held no punches when they were re-working this song and the result is great. I Wan’na Be Like You was never one of my favorite Disney tracks, but this cover put it on the map for me!
Tori Kelly Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)
This song just kind of fell flat for me; I felt that it lacked the conviction that the original had. This song sounds extremely similar to the original, except slower and softer (at least in the beginning). Before listening to this song I had never heard of Tori Kelly before and now that I’ve listened to her I must say that she has a wonderfully beautiful voice, but I felt that this song wasn’t really a good fit. What I really liked about the original is the fact that the instrumentals were minimalistic, but the voice was subtly strong so that the message of the song was crisp and clear. In Tori Kelly’s case, I sort of felt like the instrumentals were minimalistic but so was the singing so I didn’t feel the kind of energy from the song that I felt was in the original.
Kacey Musgraves A Spoonful of Sugar (Mary Poppins)
Like the rest of the world I know this song from Mary Poppins, but unlike the rest of the world I haven’t actually seen the movie (I know…I need to get on that). In this new version of the song, Kacey Musgraves certainly puts her own spin on the tune and while I can appreciate the creativity it was sort of a miss for me. Apparently, the story is that Julie Andrews thought that the original song that was written for her character didn’t have enough “snap” so the writers went back to the drawing board and came up with A Spoonful of Sugar, which evidently Julie Andrews approved of. I must agree with Julie Andrews, A Spoonful of Sugar has a lot of “snap” and I felt that with Kacey Musgraves version some of the “snap” was lost in translation. Not a bad song though, just not for me.
Charles Perry Ev rybody Wants To Be a Cat (The Aristocats)
I remember this song from way back when I was a little girl and I got to say that even now I still find this song to be incredible catchy and fun to sing and dance to. The original song definitely has more personality, but I think the video had a lot to do with it (how can you resist the cute cats playing instruments? And the ending cracks me up every time!). I think Charles Perry gives a great new jazzy rendition of the song that is fun to listen to, almost (but not quite) as fun as the original.
Jessie Ware A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella)
Jessie Ware does incredible vocals to this song and it is simply gorgeous. Even so, this cover is basically the original with a new singer; that is to say it is not unique at all. There doesn’t seem to be any new or groundbreaking twist that was added, yet with a song like A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes there isn’t really much improvement needed. I probably would’ve disliked it if there was a super pop feel to it, so even though this song isn’t unique I still think it is very good addition to this album.
Lucy Hale & Rascal Flatts Let It Go (Frozen)
I don’t think that there will ever be anyone who can sing this song at the level of Idina Menzel. I didn’t really like Demi Lovato’s version, the millions of covers on YouTube didn’t interested me particularly, and the country twang that Lucy Hale and Rascal Flatts added just isn’t doing it for me. This is definitely not a track I will be going back to. For me, the only version of Let it Go that is acceptable is the original film adaption.
Various Artists – It’s a Small World
I saved this song for last because honestly I was dreading it just a little bit. To be honest I associate this song with things that annoy me which is unfortunate. I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it and didn’t find it annoying. I love how this track brought all the artists together for a final send off, and I loved even more how they all seemed to harmonize with one another. This most certainly was not my favorite track on the album, but I found it likable and a great all-star bonus.
Brenna Whitaker – It’s Not Easy Being Green (From The Muppet Show)
When listening to this song I always get the image of a women singing in a saloon, which I thought was kind of weird. I’ve never heard this song prior to this album, so I decided to see the original scene that this song came from to see what kind of environment Kermit originally sang this in. Boy was I surprised to see that Kermit sang this song while walking to a forest. Regardless, I found this song to be wonderfully done and I loved the music accompanying Brenna Whitaker’s beautiful voice.
Yuna – A Whole New World (From Aladdin)
I will be absolutely honest with this one. I sort have gotten sick of this song because I’ve just heard is so many times. The original version was one of the first Disney songs that made it onto my Ipod and after listening to it a million times I’ve finally gotten tired of it. So now every time A Whole New World comes on I just skip it. Unfortunately, this new re-imagination of the song didn’t renew my interest in it. However, in the one time that I did listen to it I will say that the artist took a new original take on it and if I wasn’t completely sick of the song I probably would be able to enjoy it more.
Overall I think that the lesser known songs in the CD were the better renditions. The more mainstream songs, such as Let it Go, didn’t really strike my fancy. My favorite tracks were the ones that were able to reignite the love I had for the originals. Although, overall this album was a lot better than I expected it to be and I would highly recommend getting it. If you love Disney you probably will love this album too!