The Tarzan Soundtrack: An Appreciation Post

When Tarzan first came out in 1999, one of the biggest things that stood out to me about the movie was its incredible soundtrack. I made my parents take me to my local record store to buy the CD. I think it stayed in the car stereo for a solid year. At that age, I didn’t even fully appreciate that the man behind the music was Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Phil Collins.

As I’ve gotten older, my love for this soundtrack has not waned. I consistently find myself humming the songs to myself as I work. Note to all my co-workers: If my headphones are in, there is a good chance I am listening to the Tarzan soundtrack. No shame. It’s great.

I wanted to give this piece of musical art the appreciation it deserves by ranking its five original songs. This task became increasingly difficult as I prepared for it. I realized that putting these five songs in any order is so difficult because there isn’t anything bad about any of them. Each track has something special about it and has its place in the overall story. Placing one above the other isn’t because it’s better or worse necessarily, but rather how I’m feeling in the moment. With this in mind, here is my ranking of these five original songs from Tarzan:

5. “Two Worlds”

Two Worlds - Tarzan

In my opinion, this is probably the weakest of the five original songs in this movie, and that really speaks to the strength of this soundtrack. It’s not a knock against this song at all—it truly is a great track. It sets up the tone for the whole movie. The reprise and the finale also add to the overall storytelling of the song.

4. “Trashin’ The Camp”

Trashin The Camp - Tarzan

This track really showcases Phil Collins in his element—behind a drum kit. We’re treated to some classic Phil Collins drum fills, and you can’t help but air-drum along. The version in the film (featuring Rosie O’Donnell) is a ton of fun, but the party really gets going in the version where Phil gets to harmonize with *NSYNC on the album. You can tell that recording this track was a blast and they all had creative license to riff in anyway they wanted.

3. “You’ll Be In My Heart”

You'll Be In My Heart - Tarzan

This track has so much … heart (no pun intended). In the film version, Glenn Close’s first lines really drive home the emotion and sentiment behind the song. The studio version is a full-fledged, radio ready pop/rock ballad. The bridge is my favorite part (“YOU GOTTA BE STRONG!!!”), leading to the key change, final chorus, and Phil’s fantastic ad-libs (“YOU’LL BE HERE IN MY HEART!!!”).

2. “Strangers Like Me”

Strangers Like Me - Tarzan

You can turn this song on and know exactly what is going on in the movie without even watching. It is really so perfectly written and placed within the world of the film. Its infectious chorus will be stuck in your head for weeks and you won’t even care. Again, Collins adds a stellar bridge, which takes the up-tempo nature of the song down for a bit, before swinging back into the high-tempo, optimistic ending.

1. “Son of Man”

Son of Man - Tarzan

I love this song. Honestly, it may be one of my top three Disney songs of all time (an article for a different day). Lyrically, musically, thematically, I can’t find anything wrong with this song. The sequence in the movie is brilliantly animated, which definitely adds to the overall greatness of the track. I’m listening to it right now and I’m getting distracted because I’m stopping to sing along … quietly to myself at my desk … why is everyone staring at me?

What is your favorite song from Tarzan? Tell us in the comments!

Posted 5 years Ago
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