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Album Cover Art
1992 Album
1994 Music Behind the Magic Regular
Album 2 Cover Art
1994 Music Behind the Magic Limited
Album 3 Cover Art
2001 Re-Issue
Album 4 Cover Art
2004 Special Edition
Album 5 Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Michael Starobin

Lyrics by:
Howard Ashman
Tim Rice
Labels Icon
Walt Disney Records
(November 10th, 1992)

Walt Disney Records
(Music Behind the Magic)
(November 22nd, 1994)

Walt Disney Records
(March 27th, 2001)

Walt Disney Records
(Special Edition)
(September 28th, 2004)
Availability Icon
The 1992, 2001, and 2004 albums are regular commercial products that have remained readily available on the market. The 1994 set, "The Music Behind the Magic," came in two variations that contained the same music. The regular edition was available on CD and cassette and retains a value of $50. The CD-only special edition with enhanced packaging was limited to 2,500 copies and sold for over $600 in the 2010's.
The song "A Whole New World" and the score both won Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammy Awards. The song "Friend Like Me" was nominated for all three of those awards as well. The song "Prince Ali" was also nominated for a Golden Globe. The score was nominated for a BAFTA Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... on the original 1992 CD pressing if you seek to hear Aladdin as it was meant to be, an entertaining and humorous collection of songs with strong melodic adaptations in the accompanying underscore.

Avoid it... on the 2004 "Special Edition" album if you expect to find previously missing score material or a satisfying and comprehensive presentation of the songs with the lyrics of the original theatrical release.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 9/24/96, REVISED 5/31/21
Aladdin: (Alan Menken) If you thought the controversy involving the phallic artwork for the poster of The Little Mermaid was juicy, then the subsequent battle between Walt Disney Studios and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee over Aladdin was full blown entertainment all by itself. Disney had been working on adapting the Arabian folktale of "One Thousand and One Nights" for several years, a timeless story of identity issues and lessons about the value of wealth and attempting to be someone you aren't, and by the time they were done with the acclaimed and popular animated musical, it was slammed as being racist and containing a subliminal message urging teenagers to take off their clothes. The stereotypical portrayal of a primitive Muslim culture, as well as the Tom Cruise lookalike as the primary character (opposite a big, angry Arab with a huge nose personifying the villain), became a central issue. To make matters worse, Disney broke an agreement the studio made with lead voice actor Robin Williams involving the reduced salary he accepted for the project in return for only minimal use of his name and character in promotional materials. The studio eventually issued a formal public apology to Williams and only then did he return to reprise his performances in the movie's endless series of substandard straight-to-video, knock-off sequels and other spin-offs. Flying on its own magic carpet ride in the early 1990's, however, was the collaboration between Disney and composer Alan Menken that had soared from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast to Aladdin in 1992 without even the slightest hiccup. Despite the failing health of Menken's lyricist, Howard Ashman (who passed away before the final cut of the film but is credited with pushing the concept through to Disney in its earliest phases), Aladdin maintained the outrageously profitable Disney musical craze with viewers and listeners of all ages. Following the immense quality of Beauty and the Beast was no small task, however, with the Aladdin predecessor rivaling live action films at both the box office and awards ceremonies, the latter of which even more rare today than ever. Still, audiences were ready to soak up nearly anything from Disney in 1992, and Aladdin was yet another enormous box office and music chart success story.

None of Menken's songs for this final entry in "The Great Disney Musical Trilogy" would achieve the same lasting greatness as those in the prior two, though, with Aladdin suffering the most significant neglect of the three from listeners and viewers in future generations. The television cartoon spin-off of the film in particular failed miserably with its musical adaptations, and the original soundtrack album representing the movie fell badly out of print until a moderately remastered reprint was issued with a different cover in 2001. Finally, in 2004, Aladdin was released on DVD, and in similar fashion to the special edition of Beauty and the Beast, an expanded album of the Aladdin soundtrack was released concurrently. The original Aladdin soundtrack pressing was among the most common used bin finds ever in the history of CDs, which is further evidence of the film and score's arguably poorer long-term performance. But the songs in Aladdin are top-notch, anchored by all-around fantastic vocal performances highlighted by Robin Williams, of course, whose talents in this project are extraordinary to say the very least. Williams' infectious personality steals two of Aladdin's songs, as well as its narrated opening, "Legend of the Lamp." The soft inflection of Brad Kane's singing voice in the title role has always been an attractive aspect of "One Jump Ahead" and "A Whole New World," his tone strikingly different from the exotic voice of Bruce Adler for the prelude sequence, "Arabian Nights," a sentimental favorite. The interlude sequence of "One Jump Ahead" reflects a slower, more contemplative phrase of the song that is as appealing as the equivalent of "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. This interlude sequence likewise receives a dedicated, longing performance in the short but definite highlight, "One Jump Ahead (Reprise)." The second most famous song from Aladdin remains "Friend Like Me," the jazzy Fats Waller/Cab Calloway tour de force led by an enthusiastic five-note brass phrase and Williams' manic performance. Also nominated for a Golden Globe was "Prince Ali," among Menken's most ambitious career achievements that once again utilizes Williams' services. Its Broadway-style constructs, most obviously defined by the sequence that accelerates the tempo in grand posture, make it an over the top extravaganza. The reprise of the song allows Jonathan Freeman to gloat menacingly in a performance as Jafar that rivals Tony Jay's contribution to The Hunchback of Notre Dame as one of Disney's more memorable villains.

The end title song in Aladdin, "A Whole New World," is tainted nowadays by the famous reinterpretation called "A Whole Nude World" that features filthy lyrics, but the integrity of the original song remains intact for those who haven't been exposed to the adult-oriented parody. As usual, the version of the song actually heard in the context of the film, as performed by the characters, is vastly superior to the pop adaptation for the credits. Altogether, the songs in Aladdin are a solid lot, and, once again, Menken's reprises provide arguably more compelling moments on both the album and in the film than their extended versions. This includes the single bar from "A Whole New World" heard in the score's finale as the music builds to the standard choral conclusion. Unlike many of the Disney musicals from the 1990's, which often featured comparably popular songs and score, Aladdin is a curious case in which the songs heavily overshadowed the score, despite some quality moments in the latter. Menken's pseudo-Arabian structures shine through in many creative ways in the songs, whereas the score seems to return to cliched, non-ethnic cartoon methodology more often than not. That said, the composer does quite a masterful job of interpreting the melodies from the songs into the score and even writing a few themes specifically for that background material. A descending low brass theme for Jafar's villainy is heard in full force throughout "Jafar's Hour" and in true victory formation directly before the "Prince Ali" reprise, in faint references in "The Ends of the Earth," and again in massive form in "The Battle." A mysterious theme representing the magic of the story grows out of the "Arabian Nights" melody, both in "Legend of the Lamp" and "The Cave of Wonders." The location in general is provided an Arabian-inspired theme in "Legend of the Lamp" and "Marketplace." As for the melodies originating in the songs, Menken makes frequent use of the descending pairs of notes from the interlude in "One Jump Ahead," most notably in duets with the "A Whole New World" melody in "The Kiss," "Marketplace," and "Aladdin's World." Those descending pairs are elevated to noble tones in at the outset of "Happy End in Agrabah," appropriately replacing the "Prince Ali" melody (which is only really referenced in the score at the end of "Marketplace") in that role. As usual, some of the stronger score cues are sprinkled amongst the songs in the album presentation, including the extensions of "One Jump Ahead" in "Street Urchins" and "To Be Free," the latter introducing an idea that is a wholesome representation of the film's overall message and matures in the finale cue.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.95 Stars
***** 3,692 5 Stars
**** 2,458 4 Stars
*** 1,759 3 Stars
** 545 2 Stars
* 418 1 Stars
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Racist Aladdin review
Welshy - October 14, 2021, at 8:52 a.m.
1 comment  (38 views)
ANDY - January 15, 2006, at 2:55 a.m.
1 comment  (3247 views)
Need Songs!!!
Spike Lee - October 27, 2005, at 7:38 a.m.
1 comment  (3556 views)
Friend Like Me
Harmine - October 11, 2005, at 11:10 p.m.
1 comment  (4051 views)
cave of wonders
bone - July 18, 2005, at 8:12 p.m.
1 comment  (2402 views)
The Lyrics
carlton - October 26, 2004, at 3:11 p.m.
1 comment  (2666 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1992 and 2001 Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 50:12
• 1. Arabian Nights (song) (1:19)
• 2. Legend of the Lamp (1:25)
• 3. One Jump Ahead (song) (2:22)
• 4. Street Urchins (1:52)
• 5. One Jump Ahead (Reprise) (song) (1:01)
• 6. Friend Like Me (song) (2:26)
• 7. To Be Free (1:39)
• 8. Prince Ali (song) (2:51)
• 9. A Whole New World (song) (2:40)
• 10. Jafar's Hour (2:42)
• 11. Prince Ali (Reprise) (song) (1:07)
• 12. The Ends of the Earth (1:35)
• 13. The Kiss (1:51)
• 14. On a Dark Night (2:55)
• 15. Jasmine Runs Away (0:46)
• 16. Marketplace (2:37)
• 17. The Cave of Wonders (4:57)
• 18. Aladdin's Word (1:51)
• 19. The Battle (3:38)
• 20. Happy End in Agrabah (4:12)
• 21. A Whole New World - performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle (4:06)
(Only the 1992 album contains the original, unedited lyrics)
1994 Music Behind the Magic Set Tracks   ▼Total Time: 89:16
2004 Special Edition Tracks   ▼Total Time: 57:01

Notes Icon
The inserts of the 1992, 2001, and 2004 albums contain lyrics to the songs but they offer no extra information about the score or film. The 1994 "The Music Behind the Magic" set came in two variations; the regular edition came with a 52-page book in large box while the red, linen-bound special edition features a 60-page hardcover book (with similar contents as the 52-page version, including lyrics) signed by Alan Menken and Tim Rice and four beautifully illustrated picture CD's in a custom collector's case.
Copyright © 1996-2021, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Aladdin are Copyright © 1992, 1994, 2001, 2004, Walt Disney Records (Original), Walt Disney Records (Music Behind the Magic), Walt Disney Records (Re-Issue), Walt Disney Records (Special Edition) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/24/96 and last updated 5/31/21.
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