Best of the Lion King

Artist: Various Artists

Produced by: Walt Disney Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            I enjoyed The Lion King, but it never was my favorite film.  And yet, I have always enjoyed the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of the film.  Iíve even been known to sing Hakuna Matata with my co-workers when things get too stressful at work.  So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Best of the Lion King compilation album, I jumped at the chance.

            Released in celebration of the 3D theatrical debut of the animated classic, Best of the Lion King features twelve tracks of music from the original movie soundtrack, The Lion King 1Ĺ, The Lion King II: Simbaís Pride, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, and The Lion King Original Broadway Cast Recording.  The songs are performed by the various cast members of the movies, the original Broadway musical cast and Grammy Award-winning South African performer and composer Lebo M.

            From start to finish, the Best of the Lion King is a whole lot of fun.  Things start off with the classic Elton John / Tim Rice song, Circle of Life, performed by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M.  We move on to the fun track, I Just Canít Wait to Be King, in which Simba looks forward to being a ruler of the animal kingdom like his father.  Following that is another fan favorite from the original film, Can You Feel the Love Tonight.  The fourth track, Warthog Rhapsody, is an original song found on the Rhythm of the Pride Lands album featuring Timon and Pumba (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella).  The song discusses the wisdom of the warthog.

            Track Five is a beautiful South African song found on the Rhythm of the Pride Lands album called Lea Halalela.  Performed by Khululiwe Sithole, the song is very soothing in nature and reminiscent of music one would hear on a Cirque du Soliel soundtrack.  This is followed up by the classic Hakuna Matata song - one of my favorites - and the Digga Tunnah Dance from the Lion King 1Ĺ.  The next two songs, Upendi and One of Us, are from The Lion King II: Simbaís Pride

            The album finishes off with three songs from The Lion King Original Broadway Cast Recording, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Be Prepared and They Live in You.  I thought the version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight was way too short, but I enjoyed the evil planning of Scar and the hyena pack in Be Prepared and the beauty of They Live in You.

            I enjoyed the Best of the Lion King album so much, I have listened to it six times since first getting my hands on it a week ago.  The songs contained on the album alternate between beautifully captivating music and meaningful lyrics and fun, catchy tunes.  Even after turning the music off, I found myself still singing the songs.  The Best of the Lion King album is a terrific album for Disney fans young and old and a terrific addition to the Lion King franchise.


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