ALADDIN - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2019)
If you, like this reviewer, has been a fan of the original Aladdin soundtrack since its release in 1992, you may be skeptical about this updated version. The animated classic is a winner in so many ways, you wonder whether the live action movie will do any injustice to it.
We are happy to report that this is one album you’d want to own if you are a bona fide Disney fan.
The soundtrack features five songs from the animated film, a new tune (cheers to Princess Jasmine), as well as several reprises. Kicking off the lineup is a revised version of “Arabian Nights” performed by Will Smith. The context is quite different from the original. Here, he is a human with his family sailing on a boat and singing about the streets of Agrabah. Mena Massoud then takes over as Aladdin as he runs and pants with “One Jump Ahead”.
Naomi Scott’s female protagonist is put in the spotlight with “Speechless”, the new song that celebrates girl power. Written by Pasek & Paul, the songwriting duo behind the music for La La Land, this fiercely feministic song reminds us of “This Is Us” from The Greatest Showman. Of course, the duet “A Whole New World” is as magical as ever (ZAYN and Zhavia Ward perform the end credits version).
The highlights of the soundtrack are Smith’s rendition of the tunes performed by the late Will Smith in the animated film. “Friend Like Me” is highly infectious, thanks to the Smith’s Fresh Prince influence. You’d tap your toes to the energetic number (there is also an end credits version featuring DJ Khaled). “Prince Ali” is a huge number infusing Middle Eastern flavours and Bollywood elements. It is a sequence we want to watch over and over again.
It is also a good thing that Disney brought back Alan Menken, who composed the score and co-wrote songs for the animated film, for this live action movie. There are 25 score tracks that remind fans of the original music, with new elements incorporated.
This is a delightful soundtrack that deserves a place beside the 1992 album.
Recommended Track: (5) Friend Like Me
Review by John Li