Various Artists
The Lion King: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(Walt Disney)

On the heels of the relatively strong material from Beauty and the Beast and the okay tunes from Aladdin come the generally treacly songs from the faux-Bambi currently monopolizing the screens at your neighborhood multiplex. Elton John wrote most of the music here, and as you might expect, he's not exactly in his "The Bitch Is Back" mode: "Circle of Life" makes for effective melodrama, but "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is the worst kind of housewife pop (and, hence, a big hit). Some of the bouncier songs are less bothersome, but they, too, have their drawbacks: I get the shivers whenever I hear my son dancing through the house singing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King." Then again, maybe he's thinking of Elvis.--Michael Roberts

I like The Lion King CD. I like all of the good songs. My favorite song is "Hakuna Matata," because I like the words and because Radio Aahs plays it. I like "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," too. I don't like the Scar song, because it's about killing Mufasa and Simba. The ones without words are pretty good, though. I think you would like The Lion King--and if you don't like it, don't buy it.--Nick Roberts (age 5)

Indigo Girls
Swamp Ophelia

The matron saints of lovelorn lesbo land are back--and either they've cut their best disc in many moons, or I'm getting way too old. Ophelia offers no "Closer to Fine," but neither does it suffer from the preachy tone that's marred much of the Indigos' work since then. With their mildly overwrought lyrics of loves lost or soon to be lost, tunes such as "Least Complicated" and "Fugitive" (which features a stirring, deliberately out-of-key string accompaniment) are fine in their own right. Ditto side one's closer, "Touch Me Fall," a sprawling number whose train-wreck tempo shifts and tasteful orchestration provide perhaps the most refreshing variations on the Who's "Baba O'Riley" riff that I've heard this year. Even the gals' less-compelling offerings prove plenty listenable, making Ophelia near-perfect smooch music for NPR fans and sensitive souls of all stripes and sexual preferences.--John Jesitus


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