Sound the alarms. Warn the surroundings areas. Enter your bunker. Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come: we have the first single release from the live-action Beauty and the Beast film soundtrack.
The titular song, once made famous by Angela Lansbury, and then Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson (remember when he was the go-to guy for Disney pop duets?!). Now, Ariana Grande and John Legend have taken on the duet duties. We're not sure if this is going to just be in the credits or actually in the film (probably just credits, but stranger things have happened, so who knows), but either way, this release is super exciting so let's break it down.
Ariana Grande and John Legend are, arguably, the queen and king of riffing in music right now, so their voices blend superbly on the track, especially on the quintessential "oh Oh OHHHHH." Their voices shine and are super clear (unlike in the 90s, when most ballads sounded like they were recorded on a Broadway stage, this sounds like it was in a studio the entire time.)
The orchestrations are...odd. The Celine version sounded as if the entire thing was scored on a drum machine, with some synthesizer for good measure. That's necessarily a bad thing but dated nonetheless. Now, the orchestrations were taken directly from the 90's single, but done with real instruments. It creates this odd feeling that they are trying to replicate the synth and drum machine sounds as closely as possible, but don't want to flat out use the techniques. I feel as if they should have embraced the sound of a full orchestra a little more, but again, it's not bad, just an odd choice.
Now, what you all came to read: Is the 2017 version better than the Celine version?!
Considering everything, I think I'd have to give the upper hand to Celine. I am not a person to always root for the original, but in this case, the new version came across as trying to emulate the Peabo version so much that it hurt it's chances of being perfect. Again, it is not bad and I highly recommend you check out the John and Ariana incarnation, but as a whole, Celine is the way to go.
Even with my preference of the original, this is a VERY reassuring preview for the rest of the album. I've never wanted it to be March so badly in my life!