Ariana Grande and John Legend are modern giants of popular music for many reasons, not least of which is their skill as vocalists. In this week’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a single released ahead of the upcoming film of the same name, they combine their talents to create a powerful interpretation of one of Disney’s best-known and most beloved songs.
Anyone who watched “Beauty and the Beast” as a child probably remembers the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson version, which set a commanding precedent for any artists attempting to take on the song in later covers. In the new single, Grande and Legend preserve the magic that makes the song so special, trading the song’s key moments in a cohesive vocal exchange. It isn’t hard to hear the emotional depth of the song coming through in their voices, and their interpretation of the lyrics is at once tender and impactful. Admittedly, this version doesn’t have a lot of inventive moments. However, this deficit seems tied less to a lack of creativity, and more to a sense of respect for the innately classic feeling of the song — a classic feeling that Grande and Legend successfully uphold.
Despite taking few risks, “Beauty and the Beast” ultimately comes together well, and Grande and Legend shine as usual. The film comes out next month, and if this song is any indication of how well it will handle the story with which we are all familiar, it should definitely be something to look forward to.