The Lion King (2019) Soundtrack – Album Review

 

Track Listing

Circle of Life/Nants’ Ingonyama -Brown Lindiwe Mkhize & Lebo M.
Life’s Not Fair – Hans Zimmer
Rafiki’s Fireflies – Hans Zimmer
I Just Can’t Wait to Be King -JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph & John Oliver
Elephant Graveyard – Hans Zimmer
Be Prepared (2019 version) – Chiwetel Ejiofor
Stampede – Hans Zimmer
Scar Takes The Throne – Hans Zimmer
Hakuna Matata -Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, JD McCrary & Donald Glover
Simba Is Alive! – Hans Zimmer
The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Billy Eichner & Seth Rogen
Can You Feel the Love Tonight -Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner & Seth Rogen
Reflections of Mufasa – Hans Zimmer
Spirit – Beyoncé
Battle for Pride Rock
Remember / King of Pride Rock / Circle of Life (Finale)
Never Too Late – Hans Zimmer
He Lives in You – Lebo M.
Mbubu – Lebo M.

 

The Lion King reboot is a really strange kettle of fish. Nowhere else is that more evident than with its soundtrack. Attempting to blend old and new sounds in with the ever-enigmatic presence of Hans Zimmer, The Lion King soundtrack feels like a tonally confused album that’s torn between old and new styles. The new Beyonce song Spirit, despite sung valiantly, feels misplaced while the reworked versions of Be Prepared and Hakuna Matata fail to strike that same bounce and feel the originals had.

If there’s one high point of the album it comes from Lebo M’s rework of Circle Of Life which starts us off. Its a high point in the film and the same can be said here too. There’s just enough difference in the compository work for it to stand on its own while managing to reach that same goosebump-inducing level the original had during its crescendo. From here, the album follows a pretty linear pattern through the beats of the film, with various reworked versions of the original songs interspersed between Han Zimmer’s moody score.

Much like the film itself, the reworked versions of old classics never hit the same bounce, heart and feel of the originals. Without the visuals to marvel at, the songs themselves really stand out as the pale imitations they are. Having said that though, Beyoncé’s version of Can You Feel The Love Tonight is really good and one of the other stand out moments of the album. Her single Spirit will no doubt reach chart-success given its original scoring while the full versions of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Mbube are throwbacks to the original African influence this has.

Han Zimmer’s score is fantastic though and as usual, his moody, emotionally charged score actually highlights the perfect blend between old and new. The great use of recognisable motifs and the way they’re placed between the vocal tracks help to tell a story musically about what’s happening.

Individually, all these elements are great but together it combines to produce a soundtrack that’s a shadow of the original film and a mish-mash of ideas that don’t quite gel. Enjoyable no doubt but not one you’re likely to return to in a hurry with the original 1998 soundtrack so readily available.

 


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