My teen girls and I went to see Aladdin this past week (on opening night) with some trepidation, and walked out of the theater very pleased, and determined to purchase the soundtrack.
For those who say, "Will Smith can't sing," let me refer you to his extensive discography via web-browser search (whatever you may think of his voice). I was unaware of his musical background and said to myself as I watched the film, "What do you know? He can sing." Please also remember that dear Robin Williams was primarily an actor, and much of his "singing" on the 1992 soundtrack was spoken (like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, but I digress...). Mena Massoud as Aladdin was very good, and Naomi Scott was terrific.
There were some welcome changes to the lyrics in this version, mostly to things that were problematic in the 1992 version (such as celebrating the idea that Prince Ali has slaves, however culturally appropriate it might have been for the setting). Another great addition was that Jasmine has her own song (albeit too short, even with a reprise). This grants her a "theme" that is used in the score to good effect.
The score itself is Alan Menken all over, and very recognizably so, as anyone who is a Newsies fan (or of any other Disney score he has done) can tell you. I listen to a lot of soundtracks and scores, and I won't purchase one that doesn't interest me. Aladdin doesn't disappoint. I have only listened to it twice so far, once at the movie and once since I purchased it this afternoon, but I think it will hold a prominent place in my collection. I look forward to listening to it in the future.