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Disney may be past its Golden Age, but that doesn’t mean iconic re-releases like The Lion King can’t still crush at the box office. Last weekend, The Lion King won the weekend box office, giving old audiences the chance to see the film anew and earning it brand new viewers. Expectations for this weekend are equally high, and The Lion King should reign as king of the box office- or of the savannah - once more.
Like birthdays, good grades, and big game wins, king of the box office is as good of a reason as any to celebrate. With that in mind, this Weekend Download Recommendations is all about some good covers of some Disney classics. It’s extremely difficult to get a license to re-do a trademarked Disney song. Those who have made the effort deserve credit for trying, but luckily, for every subpar Selena Gomez rendition of “Cruella De Vil”, there’s a Replacements version to prove there is always a little more room left in our hearts, and our iTunes, for more Disney magic.
Bette Midler “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes”
If you don’t know what this song is, it’s probably because you a) are never around singing competitions where this Cinderella mainstay is often covered or b) reasonably, are a bigger fan of “Bippity Boppity Boo.” Midler’s rendition is typical Midler, with breathless bloviating at the beginning of the track, but it’s still good enough as it moves into its vocal rendition it beat out Julie Andrews and Cher for this number one spot. Check it out, unless watching Midler’s story arc on Seinfeld is your other option.
Christina Aguilera “Reflection”
Mulan boasts a cricket, a crazy dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy, and a whole bunch of cherry blossoms. Featuring songs like “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” the movie spends more time reflecting masculine viewpoints than that of its female protagonist. “Reflection” changes that. It’s a moment of femininity in a world of hard fought battles and stubborn traditions. “Reflection” may not be the most innovative of Disney songs, but it is more than appropriate. Plus, Aguilera’s version of “Reflection” was the song that moved her from a Disney name to a more apparent spot on the pop culture radar. If you listen closely, it’s no wonder.
The Seldom Scene “Chim Chim Cher-ee”
The only bluegrass and the only non-music cover on this list, The Seldom Scene’s version of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” is just the track to break up a mixtape. Still, as placeholders go, it’s pretty sweet. You can only have so much of the same before you need to break it up with something equal parts bizarre and intriguing. Seldom Scene fills that niche and honors Disney in the process.
Louis Armstrong “When You Wish Upon A Star”
If you can get through the unnerving, high-pitched introduction to the song, you’ll find something pretty incredible. The crooning singer doesn’t bring anything to the table with “When You Wish Upon A Star” that he hasn’t brought before; however, that’s less a slander and more an endorsement of the rest of his catalog. Of course, if you are really a Pinocchio fan, the Cliff Edwards version might be closer to your heart, but for the rest of us, it’s no surprise “When You Wish Upon A Star” was one of Armstrong’s most beloved hits.
The Lion King (Original Broadway Recording)
What better way to give tribute to Elton John and the animated Lion King then by taking a listen to the singer’s tracks with a new cast twist. If you haven’t seen Disney’s epic stage production, the music will only give you a hint at what you’ll get in the open theater. Differing from the animated film are three brand new songs, but the real highlights are the songs we know and love, sung to the same tune, but with a whole lot of extra oomph.
Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films
From a Tom Waits cover of Snow White’s “High Ho” to the incredible, indestructible 101 Dalmatians Replacements cover, Stay Awake hands down is the weirdest Disney cover compilation in existence. It’s the equivalent of the Rockabye baby albums for parents of little Disney fans. It totally rocks, and like a shy hyena, it is incredibly hard to come by. If you can’t get your hands on a copy, there is always Youtube. Speaking of…
LL Cool J “Whose Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf”
LL Cool J may be the only person in modern-day culture to rhyme “gay” with “hay.” He may not be able to sing both parts of “A Whole New World” but he is a ridiculous wordsmith. That being said, he couldn’t even describe what’s going on in this video.
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