Welcome to pump-up week! This week is Animation Addicts Podcast episode will be on The Lion King! All week long, the Rotoscopers’ team will be celebrating this iconic Disney film through opinion articles about the film to get everyone prepared for the new episode.
I know, I know. Everyone loves Frozen’s music. The soundtrack has been praised to no end, and Let it Go has become every Disney fan’s personal anthem.
Except for me.
I know that I’ll get a lot of hate for this, but I found the music very…underwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong, the music wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. I just found it generic. I was so excited when the movie began to play; “Frozen Heart” was such a unique and beautiful song. And then everything else just kind of blurred together.
The Lion King has been claimed by critics to be the best Disney movie for over a decade. I love this movie greatly, and could recite the entire film back to you from an early age.
I especially loved the music.
From the opening scene of The Lion King, you know that you are getting a unique movie. The music is not what you would expect in any other Disney movie. We do not open with a princess singing her woes; we do not hear a narrative with tinkling, quiet music in the background. Instead, we open up with something that is large and loud and amazing. We open with a bang that suggest that this is no ordinary movie that you will be dealing with. The will be a movie beyond expectations.
To preface my further thoughts on the music, I would just like to inform the reader that I am a percussionist. I like loud music. I like interesting music, filled with complex rhythms, music that stands out from the rest and makes you feel alive. Pretty songs are good and all, but they often lack that extra excitement that I so enjoy as a percussionist.
This is exciting music. This is the kind of music that lifts my soul and gets me wholeheartedly interested in the story from the get-go. It begins the movie with a kick that no one can forget, helped by the fact that it is sung in Zulu, and that there are some pretty awesome percussion instrumentals going on in the background.
And then we do get that more stereotypical song, upbeat, more show-tuney. However, the African theme is still carried throughout “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”, keeping the soundtrack’s individuality strong and rearing to go. Besides that, the colors are just so bright, and Simba is just so cute, who could dare not to taps their toes to this song?
I won’t deny it. “Be Prepared” is my all-time favorite villain song (and let’s face it, all villain songs are awesome even though they are so diabolical, so this is a tough category to win in.) Scar is sleek. He is brutal. He is smart. He was actually king for several years, and was so close to actually winning. This is a fun song. It is a creepy song. Yet again, we have a fresh number that is distinguishable from the others in the soundtrack.
And then comes the song with perhaps the most memorable lyrics. Cute and clever, the Swahili phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’ has incorporated itself into everyday life, because of the upbeat nature of the song, along with the meaning that it holds for many of us. For years, we have all tried to maintain a ‘no worries’ attitude in our darkest moments, and I know that I for one always turn to this song when I am in need of a laugh.
Finally, we have “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Personally, this is probably my least favorite song on the soundtrack, but I still prefer it to other Disney-romance songs. Sung by a third person looking into the scene (with Timon and Pumbaa providing a little bit of comic relief) you understand that these two have truly missed each other growing up, and this is no two-minute Disney love story (I’m looking at you Anna!) This is something rooted in childhood, a love that has developed overtime.
So you can keep your “Let it Go”. You can keep your “Beauty and the Beast”, your “Kiss the Girl”, and your “When You Wish Upon a Star”. Because no Disney song quite gets to me like the powerfully emotional creativity of “The Circle of Life”.
What do you think of the music in ‘The Lion King’? How does it compare to other Disney music for you?
Alissa is a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, studying Media Arts & Technology. Her hometown is in the Middle-of-Nowhere, NY, where winter is approximately 6 months of the year. She is extremely nerdy, and loves all things animated, literary, or Harry Potter related. Her older sister spawned her love of animation by dragging her downstairs at 2 a.m. every morning and making her watch various films until their parents took them back to bed. Some of her all-time favorite films include Mulan, The LEGO Movie, Up, Tangled, and The Lion King. She also collects old Peanuts comic strips, and spends her free time reading, writing for the Rotoscopers, and working a variety of jobs. You can follow Alissa on Instagram and Twitter: @ThisAlissa. See her work here.