It was one of Disney’s most popular films of the 1990’s and now that a live action version is to be released in March it seems only fair that a new version of the classic title song is included in the soundtrack – but is it as good as the original?
There is certainly a more contemporary vibe about this version in comparison to the Angela Lansbury original that does sound superficial and not quite right in terms of the arrangement. It genuinely feels as though it is straining to want to sound like the original but at the same time put a more modern twist on it and getting stuck somewhere in between – particularly noticeable in the opening notes.
When layered by the vocals of Ariana Grande and John Legend, it tends to sound more pop and High School Musical like (particularly when it comes to Grande’s vocals which at times sound as though she is over exaggerating the notes).
Yet somehow there is a lovely soulfulness that comes through as well, with the help of John Legend’s warm and rich vocals that really capture the power of the lyrics. Ariana Grande while equal to Legend throughout sounds as though she is attempting (whether consciously or not) to sound like Celine Dion (who has also covered the song ).
There is plenty of emotion and heart to be found – particularly when the vocals come into play but it would have been great if the original arrangement had been kept rather than trying to modernise it for a ‘cooler’ crowd which doesn’t quite pay off.
Beauty and the Beast will hit cinema screens in March.