ALBUM REVIEW: Beyoncé’s Lion King Album Tries Too Hard

Quality performances and curation are marred by mixed execution.

To commemorate the release of Disney’s new remake of The Lion King, Beyoncé recently released The Lion King: The Gift, a soundtrack/concept album inspired by the film.

Not dissimilar from Kendrick Lamar’s 2018 album for Black Panther, The Gift is described as “a love letter to Africa” and features appearances from hip-hop heavyweights like Jay-Z, Kendrick and Childish Gambino, in addition to African stars like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Tekno and Mr. Eazi.

All of the songs on The Gift are solid, entertaining R&B/pop cuts, especially “MOOD 4 EVA” and “THE NILE.” The tracks here all have a distinctly African feel to them, yet are still accessible to a casual audience through its blend of R&B, pop and hip-hop. The lyrical themes of many of these songs allow the album to be thematic, expanding on many of the concepts explored in the film, such as the Circle of Life (“BIGGER”) and father-child relationships (“FIND YOUR WAY BACK”).

Between the respectable songs, The Gift tries to go full concept album with its use of skits and badly-mixed interludes that sample dialogue from the movie. The intent here is obvious, but for anyone who came here for the music will find it more annoying than anything else.

Ultimately, The Gift is a solid soundtrack album that gets caught up in its own conceptualism.

Score: 🦁🦁🦁.5 / 5