Review Summary: The best Disney movie soundtrack
Remember when you were 5 years old and the only things in the world that mattered were your family, your best friend and your box of crayons? When all the girls had cooties, wetting your pants wasn’t necessarily taboo and depression came in 5 minute increments called “time out”? That magical period of my life was when Tarzan was released in theaters and, for the first time I can remember, I listened to music. At my urging, my parents purchased the Tarzan soundtrack and were forced to listen to it more than anybody should have to. It means a different thing to everyone in my family and although it isn’t perfect, the nostalgia it provokes makes it feel like it is.
One of the problems with a movie soundtrack is that some of the power of the songs lies in the visuals that it supplements; a perfect example of this being “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan. While it works very well in the context of the movie, not even Donny Osmond can make it sound good on CD. Tarzan’s soundtrack does not suffer from such problems. Oscar winning track ’You’ll Be In My Heart’ elicits a response each time one hears it, whether while viewing Tarzan or not. It’s a very strong vocal performance from Collins, with tender lyrics that make it stand out not just as the song that beat South Park for the Oscar but as a very powerful song with the right amount of schmaltz so that it’s neither overbearing or excessively cheesy. A lesser musician would struggle to walk this line but Collins, who began his career in 1967, is a savvy veteran with great talent. Collins also displays his talent on the silly fun ’Trashing the Camp’. Teamed with the talent less Rosie O’Donnell and myriad jungle animals, Collins somehow crafts a soundscape of typewriters, pots, pans and various other human items coupled with O’Donnell’s chants to great success. This track actually is better when taken outside of the context of the film because of its ambitiousness.
On the whole, this soundtrack sounds more like a concept album then a soundtrack. While experimentation has not always been kind to Collins (see: Abacab), he takes the framework given to him and makes it his own. It sounds like he’s enjoying what he’s doing and that the music is for himself, not for a movie. The variation in sounds of the tracks as well of the inclusion of 4 Mark Mancina scored pieces, including highlight ’The Gorillas’ make this a very enjoyable listen. However, it would have worked better to include the Mancina parts as interludes between the Collins segments, to avoid the repetition. Collins incorporates the use of chanted background vocals to great success, it sounds as if he is leading a tribe of people, a vibe that works well given the feel of the songs. All in all, this is a very good listen, whether or nor it already means something to you.
Recommended Tracks: You’ll Be In My Heart, Two Worlds