Disney's Jungle Boogie
Walt Disney Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/15/1999
It's been scientifically proven that children learn best through repetition. On the positive side, that's why shows like Sesame Street keep hammering in only certain letters and numbers each show, and why Blue's Clues only broadcast one show each week. (I don't know if they still do that; I prefer to watch Bear In The Big Blue House.) On the negative side, the toymakers know if they hawk their tawdry wares enough during the cartoons, the kids will learn that the toy equals happiness, and will pester Mom and Dad for it.
For kids, repetition can be a good thing. But when I was listening to Disney's Jungle Boogie recently, I found myself saying out loud, "I've heard most of this before." A compilation of songs all related to movies or shows with a jungle theme, this disc combines what we've heard on a couple other soundtracks and samplers into one package. It's fun to listen to, but if you've bought anything like Radio Disney: Kid Jams or Disney's Princess Collection Volume 2 recently, both you and your kids are going to experience deja vu.
Now, it's not that I'm against hearing some of these songs more than once. Tracks like "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wan'na Be Like You" (both on The Jungle Book soundtrack) are always welcome additions; indeed, I've found that my daughter and I are watching The Jungle Book more often these days because of this. Likewise, tracks like "Circle Of Life" (the original version from The Lion King) have a charm about them that cannot be easily erased.
And there are some additions to Disney's Jungle Boogie that make it worth the experience. "Jungle Book Groove" is a dance mix of some of the previously mentioned tracks that is a lot of fun to listen to; next up, I need to put this one on and see what my daughter does to the music. Likewise, doctored versions of "Stand By Me" and "Yummy Yummy Yummy" (both from Timon And Pumbaa), albeit corny, are still kind of fun to listen to. Frankly, I'd rather listen to this version of "Yummy Yummy Yummy" than the original by Ohio Express.
There are a couple of tracks on Disney's Jungle Boogie that make me wonder why they were included. Songs like "Warthog Rhapsody" and "Alone Together" don't really seem to fit the mood of the disc - then again, neither does "Circle Of Life" - as "swinging, jiving, toe-tapping" numbers. And while "Colonel Hathi's March" does have a beat to it, I'm sorry, this just is not one of my favorite Disney tracks ever made.
My biggest concern, though, was that these tracks are starting to get a little overused. I mean, if it was a matter that they had been on just the albums they were pulled from, no problem. But it's almost getting to the point where you can't pick up a Disney album without a few of these tracks - like the version of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from The Lion King (read: without Elton John singing) that I'm really getting sick of. If you're going to continue to release compilation albums, fine - just start using a bigger variety of songs.
Of course, this is an adult talking, and we all know by now that adults are not the target audience for this music. That role is filled by the kids, and if they've ever gotten a rise out of any of these songs, then this collection is sure to go over like gangbusters. And in the end, isn't that what's really important?