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The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
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This is the soundtrack and score to the movie The Lion King. It came out in 1994, and I'm reviewing it in 2024. The score was composed by Hans Zimmer, and the songs were written by Tim Rice and Elton John. The liner notes contain song lyrics.

1. "Circle of Life": Gotta love the opening Zulu singing, without even understanding it. The English part of the song is pretty good, too. In fact, this might be the most perfect opening to any movie, ever.

2. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King": Now this is just a whole lotta fun (and better than Elton John's cover, later on the album). Love both Simba and Zazu's parts.

3. "Be Prepared": This is probably my favorite villain song ever. It's absolutely delicious.

4. "Hakuna Matata": And now another song that's just pure fun.

5. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight": The characters' parts of the song are very different from Elton John's version, but both versions are beautiful. (Well, maybe not Timon's parts... but that's good in its own way.) The whole thing is just an interesting take on falling in love, from the perspectives of the ones doing the falling and the ones looking on from the outside. (Though I sympathize with Timon and Pumbaa's feelings, I don't think they're being the best friends to Simba.)

6. "This Land": This is the first of four instrumental tracks. It's rather sweeping and majestic, but also sad in parts.

7. "...To Die For": This one's immediately scary, for the first couple minutes or so. Then it gets more quiet and somber.

8. "Under the Stars": This one's soft and pretty. And there's a bit of choral singing and chanting, which is nice, even if I don't understand it. The latter part of the track is fairly lively.

9. "King of Pride Rock": This is the longest track, at 5:59. The mood kind of meanders a lot, so it can represent pretty much the whole movie, the ups and downs. It concludes with a reprise of a bit of "Circle of Life".

10. "Circle of Life", by Elton John: This is the first of three covers by John. It doesn't have the Zulu lyrics that the opening song starts with, but it's pretty good. I do think I prefer the opening song more than this version, but this is solid, too.

11. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", by Elton John: It's not bad, but it's totally unnecessary, and not nearly as much fun as the movie version.

12. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight (End Title)", by Elton John: As much as I love the movie version of this song, I love John's version even more (which is a rarity for me, with movie song covers). "It's enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best", that line always gets to me. The song often makes me a bit teary-eyed, in the best possible way.

All the songs on the soundtrack are iconic, memorable, and sing-along-able. I also want to note that at one point in the movie, Timon sings a bit of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which isn't on the soundtrack. But I did buy the 1961 version by the Tokens on cassette single, and years later on mp3. It makes a nice complement to the soundtrack.

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