The soundtrack to Disney's animated feature Moana is now available and fans have a few options when choosing the version that's best suited for them. The standard release features all of the songs and score from the film, while a Deluxe Edition adds a bonus disc full of demos. And with songwriters like Lin Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa'i involved, fans and Disney music collectors are strongly encouraged to pick up the expanded release.
Similar to Frozen's soundtrack, which was Disney's last full-fledged animated musical, all of the songs are presented first before the score. The first twelve tracks feature all of Miranda's melodies, including "How Far I'll Go," "You're Welcome," "We Know the Way" and "Where You Are." Instantly catchy and memorable, all of Miranda's songs are winners and it's not a matter of if he will take home an Oscar for his Moana music, but simply which song will bring home the gold. My personal favorite is "You're Welcome" and if there's one dud among them, it's "Shiny," although it has its moments.
Opetaia Foa'i has a few songs among the first twelve tracks as well. "Toulu Tagaloa," "An Ancient Warrior" and "Logo Te Pate" all bear his influence the most and bring Pacific Island authenticity to the music. But Foa'i's work and inspiration touches a few of the other songs as this was a very collaborative project. "Know Who You Are" blends elements of "An ancient Warrior" with Miranda's lyrics in a beautifully harmonic piece. But "We Know the Way" is probably the best blend of the two songwriter's talents, which even features both of their singing voices.
The two end credit songs follow as tracks 13 and 14. Alessia Cara has a pop version of "How Far I'll Go" which adds pop sensibilities to Moana's "I want" song. Jordan Fisher, a Hollywood Records recording artist from Disney Channel's Teen Beach movies has a pop cover of "You're Welcome," which also features Lin Manuel Miranda on the track with some island/jazz/pop fusion. Fisher is also scheduled to join the cast of Hamilton on Broadway later this month.
The next 25 tracks are all score by Mark Mancina, which offers a variety of melodies that are light, uptempo, adventurous, somber, and sweet. Because Mancina was also involved with the songwriting, many of the melodies from Miranda's and Foa'i's songs are woven into the scare. With lots of traditional island instruments and chanting, it's a unique experience an it's fun to listen to the score isolated from the film. This ends disc 1 and the standard release.
Diehard fans will want the Deluxe Edition for disc two, which starts with demos by Lin Manuel Miranda. First up are outtakes of three songs, plus a reprise. These scraped songs offer a glimpse into the Pulitzer Prize winner's writing process on "Unstoppable," a cut introduction to Maui, "More," an alternate 'I Want' song for Moana sung by Marcy Harriell, and "Warrior Face," an alternate song for Maui that was replaced by "You're Welcome."
Three more demos from songs in the film are sung by Miranda himself. "Where You Are," "You're Welcome" and "Shiny" offer Miranda's original concept for each track. However, this section is disappointing after learning that many members of Hamilton's cast were on other demo tracks which aren't included in this release.
Ten score demos by Mark Mancina round out this bonus disc, which also ends with instrumental versions of "How Far I'll Go" and "You're Welcome." The music from Moana is nothing short of unforgettable and this release belongs in the collection of every Disney fan. Casual listeners will be fine with the standard release, but diehard fans and music collectors will find a treasure trove of bonus tracks in the Deluxe Edition with a bonus disc of demos from these incredible song writers.