Picks and Pans Review: The Lion King Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

updated 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Various Artists

Disney soundtracks are more than lullabies for nig rats. Those tunes rack up big bucks, Grammys and critical raves. With this soundtrack, Walt Disney Records was particularly optimistic, releasing their largest initial shipment ever (2 million copies the first day). But then why shouldn't they have high hopes? Not only is Disney backing it up with its heaviest marketing campaign to date, but it also has one of its most commercial collections of songs (two of which do not appear in the film) to promote.

It's not as if ground is being broken here; this is tried-and-true Disney, including the bad-guy song (Jeremy Irons, the ultra-evil lion Scar, doing "Be Prepared"), the multicultural romps and the sappy duet ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight," already a Top 20 single and sure to be song of the year). But composer Ellon John and Aladdin lyricist Tim Rice make the most of the time-tested formula, and John's classic pop-rock reputation will make this album appeal as much to parents as to their children. So what if the rollicking "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is really nothing more than The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" with African drums? In the end, this album managed to pass the ultimate test: My 5-year-old had this sucker down cold after two listens. (Walt Disney)

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