When it was first announced that Disney would be doing a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the first question many had was: will it still be a musical? The answer was a resounding yes, as the Mouse House enlisted Dreamgirls filmmaker Bill Condon to direct, with Alan Menken returning to compose the music and write a couple of new songs. And now, with the film’s release only a month away, Disney is offering a preview of some of the updated music.
John Legend and Ariana Grande are tackling the pop version of the iconic song “Beauty and the Beast”, which is now available for your listening pleasure. I’ll be honest—this is pretty underwhelming. Legend’s voice is terrific and Grande is fine, but the song is way overproduced, and it sounds like it lacks any organic orchestration at all. Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson sang the pop version of “Beauty and the Beast” for the original film, but that style was very much in the mold of the adult contemporary music that was sweeping the nation at that time. It’s hard to adapt this ballad into something fit for Top 40 radio in 2017, but this attempt is a big miss.
Angela Lansbury, of course, performed “Beauty and the Beast’ in the context of the 1991 film, and I’m curious to see how Condon approaches this big scene. Will we hear the Legend/Grande version? Is Emma Thompson giving it a go? Or is it a new arrangement with Lansbury coming back? We’ll find out in due time.
Dion is actually making a return to Beauty and the Beast, as she performs the all-new original song “How Does A Moment Last Forever”, which was written by Menken and Tim Rice (The Lion King). Additionally, Josh Groban performs the original song “Evermore”, also written by Menken and Rice, which is performed by Dan Stevens in the film.
Listen to the new version of “Beauty and the Beast” below. The film opens in theaters on March 17th.