While I had no one of the age to enjoy the Tarzan movie when it first came out, I still was able to hear and enjoy a few tracks from the soundtrack. This go-around brings the Broadway musical version of Tarzan to my door. There are some special features on this CD, but the vast majority of the content on this CD is purely audio. It is thus the weight on the shoulders of Disney Records to create a soundtrack that calls forth the energy and wonder of both the original animated feature and (more directly), the musical from whence these songs came. While the disc starts off slowly, the ending minute or two of “Two Worlds” builds up a intensity that will bring listeners soaring into the jungles. The lead female role in this recording is strong but still shows humanity; a key problem of a number of the singers currently out on the market is that they can belt out impressive registers but seem to be little more than automatons, devoid of substantive content.
The arrangements on “Tarzan” are smart in the sense that they have a current musical type of vibe while still using very vibrant arrangements and interplay between the different instruments. The arrangements are intelligent. Each member of the crew is spot-on; the dual vocals during “Who Better Than Me” do not clash with each other and actually highlight each other a number of times. Unlike a number of different musicals, there are not filler tracks. Each song on “Tarzan” have spiraling arrangements that sweep listeners off their feet; nineteen tracks (at about an hour) allow listeners to take a substantial trip. “I Need To Know” is a difficult track because the youth is singing alone. The instrumentation is almost silent on the track, and yet this small voice is able to continue the narrative.
One should expect a certain quality of compositions from Disney, and also from Phil Collins, but it also takes an intelligent cast to go and craft something completely compelling. This cast does just that and makes the story of Tarzan come alive, even if the listener has never seen the movie or watched the musical. The inclusion of the Collins-performed version of “Everything That I Am” is the perfect topping on what is already a stacked cake; the Broadway version of “Tarzan” is another hit for Disney. Pick it up.
Top Tracks: You’ll Be In My Heart, Son of Man
OST: Tarzan The Broadway Musical / 2006 Disney / 18 Tracks / http://www.tarzanonbroadway.com / http://www.disneyrecords.com / Reviewed 14 August 2006