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The Road to El Dorado (Soundtrack) by Elton John, Hans Zimmer, John Powell

Tracksounds Rating = *4/10

The Road to El Dorado (Soundtrack) by Elton John, Hans Zimmer, John Powell

Composed by Hans Zimmer
Arranged, Orchestrated and Conducted by Randy Miller
Released by Rhino Records 2000

Track Title Time Rating Hans Zimmer's Road
by Christopher Coleman

Singer/songwriter Elton John with the cooperation of Dreamworks Records have released what could turn out to be the greatest injustice to the film music world in the year 2000.

Somehow Elton John usurped control of the highly anticipated animated film from  Dreamworks and dubbed the only music release for the movie, “Elton John’s The Road to El Dorado.”  While this title seems a little grandiose it is an accurate description of this release.  The CD is packed with seemingly endless Elton John tracks that, at times, have entertaining musical themes, but whose lyrics are devoid of any depth, humor, or continuity whatsoever.  This is something lyricist Tim Rice is certainly not known for with lyrical gems such as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin under his belt.

It appears the formula employed for “Phil Collins’ Tarzan” has been utilized for Elton John’s El Dorado.  The pop song has replaced the Broadway-esque cues that most associate with such animated films.  While this worked marvelously for Tarzan, mostly due to Collins’ apparent superior talent, it fails for El Dorado.  Having said this, we will leave the realm of the forgettable and move on to token score tracks.

The greatest tragedy for this release is the meager sampling of score rudely stuffed into the last vestiges of space on the CD.  For those who have bashed Hans Zimmer and crew for churning out score after score of “uninteresting, synthetic, concoctions,” The Road to El Dorado provides a feast of lively musical moments that have been all but completely abandoned by Dreamworks Records.  The cues that are included provide a teaser amount of music that, with a few exceptions, one would not associate with the composing mind of Hans Zimmer and John Powell.

Mellow grooves evoking relaxing images of a South Pacific coast beach or the Caribbean?  Sweet guitars, smooth woodwinds, soft vocal accents, zesty strings?  These are certainly not Zimmer trademarks, yet here they are for the film music fan to relaxingly enjoy in Cheldorado (track 12), and The Brig (track 13).

The liveliest and most memorable track is the last, Wonders of the New World.  After getting over the Augie’s Great Municipal Band (The Phantom Menace) flashback, brought on by the young vocal chorus in the first few moments of the piece,  I found the music thrilling.  John Powell delivers a bang-up finale, here!  This cue exhibits the more familiar Media Venture traits, but still is a bit “happier” and “bright” than most have come to expect from these ominous-music-makers.  It is wildly refreshing and a joy to listen to.  The second segment of the final track, brings us into the tried and true Zimmer feel, with low voices and strings moving into driving rhythms and percussions and the brass of a whirling dervish!  The third section of the track features a tribal march before quickly moving into a dramatic mariachi mode.  What a combination of music for one track- worth the full price of admission by itself.

Zimmer and company certainly did this Dreamworks film proud by their music once again.  The Prince of Egypt may remain this studio’s crown jewel, at least as far as the total music package is concerned, but The Road to El Dorado comes close and might have even surpassed had their been a proper release of the score.

This release demands a special rating.  The score  receives a 9.  The CD release; however, falls far short, earning a 5.  The rating certainly would be higher had they included more score and dispensed with…oh, let’s say the Elton John songs which did not even appear in the film.  The songs themselves are only mediocre due to unexpected subpar lyrical content from Mr. John and Disney veteran, Tim Rice.  This release should have been “Hans Zimmer’s: The Road to El Dorado” in title and in conte

 

1 El Dorado 4:22 **
2 Someday Out of the Blue (Theme from El Dorado) 4:47 **
3 Without Question 4:47 **
4 Friends Never Say Goodbye 4:20 **
5 Trail We Blaze 3:53 **
6 16th Century Man 3:39 **
7 The Panic in Me 5:40 **
8 It's Tough to Be a God 3:49 **
9 Trust Me 4:45 *
10 My Heart Aches 4:51 **
11 Queen of Cities 3:56 **
12 Cheldorado 4:26 ****
13 The Brig 2:58 ****
14 Wonders of the New World 5:55 *****
  Total Playing Time 62:08    

Category

CD

Score  
 Originality 4 10  

Music Selection

4 na  

Themes/ Composition 

5 9  

CD Length

7 na  

Track Order

2 na  

Performance

4 9  

*Final Score

4 9  
         
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Hans Zimmer
Composer
Hans Zimmer

The Road to El Dorado (Soundtrack) by Elton John, Hans Zimmer, John Powell
 Sound Clip:

    Track 14 - Wonders of the New World  

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The Road to El Dorado (Soundtrack) by Elton John, Hans Zimmer, John Powell

 

 

All artwork from Elton John's The Road to El Dorado is exclusive property of Dreamworks Records (c) 2000.  Its appearance is for informational purposes only. Composer photo courtesy of Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks)

 

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