“Beauty and the Beast” by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson

Of all the Pop single versions of Disney Oscar Bait ballads to come out of the Nineties, this was probably the most severely botched…even Michael Bolton’s much-maligned version of “Go the Distance” did better by its original source than this. Don’t get me wrong, Celine Dion is a wonderful singer, but let’s remember that this song was originally a gentle, quiet piece written for Angela Lansbury’s musical-theater character voice. Blowing it up into a wildly overblown power ballad and getting oversingers like Dion and Peabo Bryson to wail out the vocals robs it of everything that made it so refreshingly different from every other animated movie theme of the era, and this version is far less interesting than the original, as well as being borderline unlistenable due to the vocal histrionics. On top of that, the singers’ delivery completely ignores the song’s excellent lyrics…seriously, there’s so little attention paid to the actual content of the words that you would be forgiven for thinking that they didn’t actually understand the English language and were simply singing phonetically. If you really need to hear a version of this song by a more legit vocalist than Lansbury, check out Beth Fowler’s lovely rendition on the Original Broadway Cast Album…there’s certainly no reason for anyone to seek this embarrassment out today, and even if it still invariably shows up on all of Celine Dion’s greatest hits albums, it does not present her in a flattering light at all.

Verdict: Bad.

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