Music By: Alan Menken
Lyrics By: Glenn Slater
Produced by: Walt Disney Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Walt Disney has taken on quite a few princess fairytales. There was Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog and more. It was only a matter of time before the folks at Disney would tackle the tale of Rapunzel…with a twist. Hitting the theaters in the U.S. on November 24, 2010, Tangled features Zachary Levi as the voice of Flynn Rider, the kingdom’s most wanted bandit who decides to take refuge in a mysterious tower. There he is taken hostage by a beautiful, feisty maiden with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. Her name is Rapunzel and she has been locked away in this tower for years. Longing to escape her imprisonment, she strikes a deal with Flynn and the two take off on an unimaginable adventure, much to the chagrin of her captor.
Disney movies are known for their groundbreaking and often award-winning soundtracks and Tangled is no exception. The Tangled Soundtrack features both musical score and original songs created by Alan Menken with lyrics written by Glenn Slater. Alan Menken’s name may sound familiar to you. That’s because he has won four Oscars for Best Score for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas; four Oscars for Best Song for Under the Sea, Beauty and the Beast, A Whole New World and Colors of the Wind, ten Grammy Awards including Song of the Year for A Whole New World; seven Golden Globe Awards, and numerous nominations. Suffice it to say that Alan Menken has a terrific working relationship with the powers that be at Disney.
Glenn Slater also has a great track record with Disney, earning 2008 Tony and Grammy Award nominations for his work on The Little Mermaid. Other recent projects include Disney’s animated western entitled Home on the Range, the West End musical Sister Act, newyorkers, Love Never Dies and more.
I hadn’t really looked at the credits for this album before I popped it into the CD player. I was too excited at receiving a new Disney Princess soundtrack - they’ve all been THAT good. I was immediately struck by the flow of the music and the lyrics, finding it familiar and yet totally unique. Of course, when I later discovered that the music was created by Alan Menken and that the lyrics were from Glenn Slater, it all clicked. I’m a big fan, having loved all of the Disney soundtracks Menken has worked on and truly enjoying the lyrics produced by Slater for The Little Mermaid.
The songs are performed by the members of the cast. Mandy Moore is a great performer and sounds truly believable in her role as Rapunzel as she sings about her imprisonment and her yearning for a life outside the walls of her tower in When Will My Life Begin? Donna Murphy’s voice is powerful and intimidating as Mother Gothel in Mother Knows Best. She has the voice and the inflection of the perfect wicked “witch.” Zachary Levi, otherwise known to television fans as the lead character on Chuck, has a surprisingly good voice which he employs as Flynn alongside Mandy Moore’s Rapunzel in the song I See the Light. I’ve Got a Dream, a song performed by Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi and the band of thugs they run into during their adventures abroad, is an incredibly fun song which teaches you to go after your dreams however unlikely they may seem to others.
The musical score by Menken is perfect as always. Menken employs a full orchestra for this tale. Much of the musical score involves action and adventure scenes which are expressed through fast paced and exciting music. The Kingdom Dance is my favorite composition. It’s light and airy and full of fun - picture the dancing scene in the movie Titanic.
The end-credit song, most often the “it” song for any Disney Princess film is written and performed by Grace Potter. Something I Want is a love song about a young woman who doesn’t realize that everything she could ever have wanted was in the young man standing right in front of her. It’s a beautiful song with a great deal of meaning that anyone can relate to.
Disney has another musical hit in the Tangled Soundtrack and, judging from what I heard on the album, another hit in the film itself. Fans of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Enchanted are going to love this album and will find themselves smiling as they sing along with Mandy Moore and the rest of the cast. The Tangled Soundtrack is truly something special and the perfect addition to any Disney animated film soundtrack collection.