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22 May 2019, 16:36 | Updated: 4 July 2019, 11:41
The new ‘Aladdin’ soundtrack has just been released on YouTube, leading to inevitable comparisons with the original…
Creating a new Aladdin soundtrack to rival Robin Williams’ original was always going to be a tough ride.
But with a load of updated (and slightly more 2019-friendly) songs by Disney stalwart Alan Menken alongside Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (from La La Land soundtrack fame), it shouldn’t be impossible.
Have a listen to a few of the revamped recordings below…
Musically, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine is a total knockout. Her power ballad ‘Speechless’, a new song written by Pasek and Paul in collaboration with Alan Menken, is the definite highpoint of the soundtrack.
Scott herself called the ballad “a punch in the face”, saying it’s all about Jasmine standing up for herself and what she believes in. Although a little heavy on the old AutoTune (she didn’t need it, Disney!), it’s a proper 2019 Disney princess ballad and we love it.
As the Genie, Will Smith is more ‘Fresh Prince’ than loveable blue bestie – but that’s a good thing, right? Williams would surely be pleased Smith has put his own spin on ‘Friend Like Me’ and ‘Prince Ali’, rather than putting out carbon copies.
It’s a welcome surprise to hear the orchestration in the new soundtrack. Where the original recording of ‘Arabian Nights’ used largely western symphonic sounds (violins and flutes), Menken’s new version uses ouds, traditional percussion instruments and new lyrics to paint a more vibrant picture of Agrabah, Disney’s fictional country.
“It’s a much bigger, much more ambitious number than it was [in the original film]”, Menken said of the reworking. “The job really was to be following along with the camera as it soars through Agrabah, setting up this world for the audience.”
Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, and Scott’s revamped recording of ‘A Whole New World’ is soaring and sweet, and a far cry from Zayn and Zhavia’s recent problematic attempt.
(Also: we’re with you, YouTube guy.)
Of course, it’s different from the 1992 soundtrack. And some die-hard Disney fans might not totally ‘get’ it.
But for new generations, Smith, Massoud and Scott have managed to breathe fresh life into Alan Menken’s timeless soundtrack: and for that, we only have one reaction: