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Disney tops itself again with music from Lion King

The Lion King

Motion Picture Soundtrack.

Music by Elton John.

Lyrics by Tim Rice.

Score Composed by Hans Zimmer.

Walt Disney Music Company.

By Patrick Mahoney
Staff Reporter

In the fine tradition of The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and Aladdin, The Walt Disney Company has created a musical masterpiece in The Lion King whose soundtrack is already available in stores. The movie is due out in theaters Friday.

Both the music and the lyrics of The Lion King serve to tell the story of Simba -- a newly born lion cub who is destined to be king. It starts out with the presentation of the young Simba to the rest of the world. This lively and energetic "Circle of Life" immediately captures your attention and draws you in. This is lyricist Tim Rice's most powerful piece, as it perfectly creates the image of a young lion cub meeting a vast and unbelievable world for the first time.

Immediately the music flows into an almost playful piece in which the young Simba (performed in the song by Jason Weaver) claims "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and is teased by his friends (the voices of Rowan Atkinson and Laura Williams).

The tone now becomes much more somber as Rice introduces the antagonist of the film, the evil Scar (the voice of Jeremy Irons), who plans to do away with Simba and to make himself king. But even during the dark piece, Rice adds hilarious comments by Scar's minions (the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings).

The soundtrack proceeds on with other songs, each with great melodies and lyrics. Following this are four powerful instrumental pieces which give the album a more serious tone.

Three of the songs on The Lion King are repeated at the end (this time performed by Elton John), but now the lyrics have been altered slightly and the tempo is slower and more determined. Whereas the first few songs are energetic and lively, these last three are more introspective. The new sound seems to represent a more mature and thoughtful Simba who has begun to understand what lies before him. John's music and his strong and powerful vocals elegantly support this image.

Reminiscent of Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast, many of the melodies sound ever-so-slightly familiar the first time you hear them, but soon they begin to grow a life of there own. Overall, the soundtrack is exceptional and leaves you wanting to go see the movie. Tim Rice did an outstanding job in making this set of memorable original melodies with a slight "Safari" theme.