By Madyson McGill
Please stay and be my guest as I proudly present my review of the live action Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. This album is packed full of classic songs reanimated and a few new songs of its own. As it all comes together, it creates a rather unique and Broadway-esque soundtrack.
Alan Menken continues as a Disney music mastermind and uses his musical genius on the revamped live action Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. I mean, who else but the original composer for the animated Beauty and the Beast could top that soundtrack with a new one?
This soundtrack features redone classics as well as new songs that listeners didn’t hear in the original. One of these new songs is “Aria” sung by Audra McDonald, which has a classic yet goofy, French-like vibe with a hint of opera. McDonald does a marvelous job adding a bit of gusto before listeners dive into the dreary “Main Title: Prologue Pt. 2.”
Menken also adds “Days in The Sun,” a beautiful ballad performed by gorgeous singing furniture. It opens with the innocent and sweet voice of Chip, voiced by Nathan Mack, singing about hope and chorusing into a group of beautifully paired voices from the cast, hoping for a broken curse. There’s also the soft uncertainty of Belle, voiced by Emma Watson, which sets up the transition perfectly into the next track “Something There.”
Before I dive into some of the classics, there are two more new tracks: “Evermore” sung by the Beast, which took me by surprise, and “How Does A Moment Last Forever” performed more than once throughout the film and soundtrack by different cast members, and, of course, at the end when Celine Dion claims her singing role on the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.
“Evermore” took me by surprise. It opens with the traditional, eerie Beast theme before turning into the Beast’s very first solo. Now, while it is an attempt at a beautiful song, with the Beast more than likely confessing his undying devotion to Belle, it’s not one of my favorites, even when redone by Josh Groban. I actually prefer Dan Stevens’ version. Belle would probably be disappointed in me, but I judged a book by its cover, the cover being Dan Stevens and the book being his voice, which surprised me with how deep it is. However, as the Beast, it suits him. But back to the song, I found it more creepy than I did touching.
I would much rather listen to the surplus of versions of “How Does A Moment Last Forever,” the version at the top of my list being Celine Dion’s rendition. This album wouldn’t be complete without her. However, I wished she would’ve sung “Beauty and the Beast” again. Her version is still my favorite.
But one of the “Beauty and the Beast” tracks on this soundtrack comes in second. I absolutely praise Emma Thompson’s rendition of the classic as Mrs. Potts. Her voice is whimsical, building in all the right places with the composition. She helps bring to life the classic ballroom scene, which I gladly sipped a cup of tea while watching. Okay, it wasn’t so much a teacup, but rather a Starbucks cup, but it was still perfect.
However, it was not as perfect as witnessing Obi-Wan Kenobi become a French-accented talking candlestick. Ewan McGregor revamps his vocal chops as Lumiere, the flirtatious Frenchman, putting his singing and serving skills to the test with “Be Our Guest.” I was nervous at first because I honestly didn’t know if he could pull off singing in a French accent, but don’t worry, he does! I may not prefer it to the original version, but it still made me dance a little jig in my seat while dreaming of being served by singing silverware.
McGregor wasn’t the only one I was nervous about. I was also nervous about Emma Watson. I didn’t know she could sing. Since Belle is my favorite princess and has my favorite singing repertoire, I had high standards for her portrayal. I wasn’t thrilled when I heard the first snippet of “Belle” that was released; I thought Watson sounded too autotuned and that she cut the notes too short. This view changed, though, when I heard the full song. While she still sounds a bit overdone, Watson can add singing to her many talents. She makes Belle her own, even more than expected.
She really caught me off guard with her duet for “Something There,” which has always been one of my favorite songs. Both her and Stevens perform it perfectly, adding the unsureness of the situation and the change of feeling while still maintaining a balance that doesn’t overpower the other. I guess you could say that, when it came to this song, they proved to me that there was something in them that I simply didn’t see.
However, no one steals the show quite like Josh Gad as LeFou. On the track “Gaston,” he adds a quirkiness and goofiness that wasn’t quite there in the original version. It is lighthearted and boastful, perfect for our favorite person to hate. Luke Evans also goes above and beyond as Gaston. The arrogant and melodic tone of his voice is perfect for performing Gaston’s vapid persona. This track is easily one of my favorites.
All in all, the album itself is a fresh take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. I would recommend it for all of those Broadway lovers and Disney lovers out there. It is safe to say that there is definitely something here that wasn’t there before.