Review: Ariana Grande & John Legend – ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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Lacklustre

Although displaying the skills of two of the most vocally competent artists today, this rendition does nothing new for the classic 90s duet.

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When releasing any new Disney film, one question always comes to the mind of any avid fan of the company: Who will be singing the credits song?

Over the years, Disney have managed to rope in many big names to cover their songs as a more commercial package, and when the film is as high-profile as the new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, it is no surprise that they managed to get Ariana Grande and John Legend on board. However, it is a surprise that when working with such talented vocalists, the end product is so thoroughly mediocre.

Working with Menken’s Oscar winning material, and covering the duet version that was a hit for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson in the 90s, you’d think that this pair would breath new life into a song that everyone already knows. This isn’t really the case though. Don’t get me wrong, both Grande and Legend sing their parts beautifully, but that can only count for so much when the music they are singing over is essentially a Disney karaoke backing track.

It simply tries to be too much like the Dion/Bryson version: which, in reality, it just isn’t. It is no longer the 90s; having a clearly not real snare hit every few seconds just doesn’t work anymore. The thing that makes Disney covers special, such as Christina Aguilera’s ‘Reflection’ or more recently Alessia Cara’s ‘How Far I’ll Go’, is the fact that they cater more to a contemporary audience than the original film soundtrack does. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ copies what has already been done before, instead of trying to update what is an iconic duet for a 2017 audience.

The problem with this new rendition of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ isn’t that it’s bad, it’s that it’s nothing new. And when you’re working with a song that has been covered by thousands of duos in the last 25 years, you have to be able to give it something new. It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme and frankly, there is nothing fresh about it.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is out now via Disney Music, and Beauty and the Beast, rated PG and distributed by Disney, is in cinemas now.

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Film and English student. Lover of YA novels, Netflixing, fluffy blankets, all things Musical Theatre and modern Shakespeare adaptations. Life goals include writing a novel and being best friends with Emma Stone. Deputy Editor 2017/18 - or so they tell me.

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