Alan Menken’s score for 2010’s Tangled is like a modern update to the scores of the classic Disney films of the 1990s; who better to bring new life to the classic scores than the man who originally scored/wrote songs for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
The best part about this score is that the styles vary so completely from track to track. The first instrumental track we hear is titled “Flynn Wanted”, and it manages to effectively capture the swashbuckling, adventurous feel that Eugene Fitzherbert tries to emulate as the thieving Flynn Rider. Two tracks later, “Horse With No Rider” introduces an eerie, anxious theme that serves as a backdrop to Mother Gothel’s realization that Rapunzel may have been found and the subsequent panicked flee back to the tower. And still something different is “Campfire”, in which we hear some subtle hints at the main theme for the musical number “I See the Light”, a play at the budding relationship between our two protagonists. The ending to “The Tear Heals” is filled with the emotion appropriate to the situation; it’s grand, heartfelt, and, to use a bit of a cliche, magical.
Of course, the real highlights of Tangled‘s soundtrack are the musical numbers, which the score only serves as backup to. In “When Will My Life Begin” and its two reprises, we see the main conflict within Rapunzel: her desire to do something with her life other than stay in the tower forever. While I’m not a particular fan of “Mother Knows Best”, it is an appropriate introduction to Mother Gothel, and, even more, a setup for an excellent reprise. “I’ve Got a Dream” is a hilarious, raucous sing-along that shows us that “our differences ain’t really that extreme”. The real standout song of this album, though, is “I See the Light”, a beautiful duet between Rapunzel and Eugene that reminds me of Aladdin‘s “A Whole New World” every time I hear it…but in a good way.
Overall, while the score only features a couple of standout moments (“Kingdom Dance” is my favorite), the musical numbers are what you buy the album for. With fantastic performances by Mandy Moore and Zachery Levi, the score for Tangled is a return to the classic Disney singalong animated film; it’s fun, it’s touching, and it tells a wonderful story.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
- “When Will My Life Begin” 2:32
- “When Will My Life Begin (Reprise 1)” 1:03
- “Mother Knows Best” 3:10
- “When Will My Life Begin (Reprise 2)” 2:06
- “I’ve Got a Dream” 3:11
- “Mother Knows Best (Reprise)” 1:38
- “I See the Light” 3:44
- “Healing Incantation” 0:54
- “Flynn Wanted” 2:51
- “Prologue” 2:03
- “Horse With No Rider” 1:57
- “Escape Route” 1:57
- “Campfire” 3:22
- “Kingdom Dance” 2:20
- “Waiting for the Lights” 2:48
- “Return to Mother” 2:07
- “Realization and Escape” 5:51
- “The Tear Heals” 7:38
- “Kingdom Celebration” 1:51
- “Something That I Want” (Grace Potter) 2:43
Total Length: app. 56 min.
P.S. – Read my review of the film here!