Phil Collins

Brother Bear

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Review

Disney retired what was once Sir Elton John from the office of animated film/adult contemporary hitmaking and replaced him with the yet-to-be-knighted Phil Collins. A squire he may be but, unlike fellow composer Randy Newman, Collins is in no danger of writing intelligent and engaging songs that go largely ignored by the masses, making his Brother Bear score a likely Oscar contender. That's not to say that middle-of-the-road pop confections like "On My Way" and future American Idol standards such as "Look Through My Eyes" are devoid of craftsmanship -- they positively radiate Hollywood gloss -- it's simply indicative of pop culture's voracious appetite for audio fast food. Here Disney continues to utilize the same musical formula that fueled The Lion King by dipping pop songs into worldbeat dressing. Collins, a talented and accomplished musician, does his best to rise above the restrictions of the cartoon genre by inserting some good old-fashioned Genesis-like prog rock into the mix. The exhilarating "Transformation," which features the heavenly voices of the Bulgarian Women's Choir, channels the superb work done by Hans Zimmer on the aforementioned Lion King soundtrack, and like "The Circle of Life" before it, its serpentine melody features prominently throughout the piece, firmly establishing a sense of place. Tina Turner utilizes the cool mystique that made Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome's "We Don't Need Another Hero" such a gem, in the lush, midtempo hymn "Great Spirits." ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi