In The Key Of Disney Version
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In The Key Of Disney (Amazon Exclusive Version)
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|Audio CD, October 24, 2011||
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The album that marries the vision of two men who shaped the image of modern California - Brian Wilson & Walt Disney. In this release, Brian re-imagines classics from the span of the Disney Music catalogue, from "Heigh-Ho" and "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3.
"Brian Wilson is not just a survivor, he's a champion and an American treasure." -- PopDose
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The much anticipated second album in the Brian Wilson-Disney collaboration was set to be Wilson's cover versions of classic Disney soundtrack songs. Just as the brilliant first album, "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin", proves that the legendary pop/rock composer/producer can further his formidable solo career working with the music of the only other popular American composer of the 20th century in his class, so "In The Key Of Disney" proves that he can adapt his Beach Boys-style arrangements to other styles of movie music as well. The music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys is no stranger to film soundtracks, and here he offers a collection which, although short, features many highlights.
Top of the list has to be the album's closer, "When You Wish Upon A Star", from 1942's Pinocchio. By all accounts it was this tune (probably the Little Anthony & The Imperials cover) that inspired Brian's first songwriting effort - "Surfer Girl" - and his vocal arrangement is reminiscent of the work he did with Dick Reynolds (of Four Freshmen fame) on the classic Beach Boys' Christmas Album. Likewise, "Baby Mine" from Dumbo is precious. Wilson's whimsical touches from his SMiLE days and at the height of his previous band's popularity are evident on the reggae medley of "Heigh-Ho/Whistle While You Work" from Snow White. A real surprise is his cover of Elton John's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" from The Lion King. Surprising because it's one of the few covers of an Elton song that is far better than the original.
The song selection is limited to music featured in Disney's animated films, and neglects some strong tunes included in Disney's live-action musicals - with the exception of "Stay Awake" from the semi-animated Mary Poppins. I would like to have heard a few more songs, because they are all so good: "Til There Was You" was in the recent Disney re-make of "The Music Man", and other musicals like "Song Of The South" and "Summer Magic" have some very nice music too.
"Colours Of The Wind", "We Belong Together", "The Bare Necessities", "You've Got A Friend", "Kiss The Girl", "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", and Amazon.com exclusive bonus track "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" round out the song selection.
In a 1976 Rolling Stone interview, Wilson stated that he'd been through a bout of writer's block, believing that his withdrawal from public life made his ability to write relevant lyrics very difficult. This was in the midst of his "mentally ill pop genius/recluse" era. The good news is that if Wilson ever does "dry up" in his ability to compose, he'll always be the best producer/arranger ever to come out of the pop scene of the 1960s. Here, with the second consecutive, remarkable album of others' music, Brian Wilson need not ever fear being irrelevant.
Since 1988, Brian Wilson has released a string of eight studio albums (excluding the throwaway "Gettin' In Over My Head"), a bio-pic soundtrack, and two live albums all of the highest quality. My hope is that, like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Elton John, Bran Wilson explores the classical genre -- by composing a Mass for contemporary and choral performance. And I'd love to collaborate with him on it. As he approaches the 50-year anniversary/reunion of the Beach Boys, and his 70th birthday next year, Brian Wilson can rest assured that his creativity and historical significance in popular music is securely set - no matter whose music he chooses to record.
Rating 3.5 stars
ALL of them are excellent. Even the song "Stay Awake", one of the very few that I didn't like much on Mary Poppins soundtrack, sounds nice on Wilson's arrenjements.