Disney films named after one particular character are never really about that one character; they are about the surroundings, romance, animals, and people who provide comic relief, sentiment, and musical opportunities. As far as the self-named titles go, The Little Mermaid comes closest to having a fairly representative one. Ariel, the little mermaid, is so full of life and charisma that she could have carried the film alone. She did not, of course, since she was surrounded by other colorful characters like Ursula the sea witch, Flounder the fish, Sebastian the crab, Scuttle the seagull, and an overprotective father named King Triton. It is not surprising that Ariel was chosen for an album of contemporary pop songs and ballads. It is also fairly predictable that the album will not appeal to many of the fans of the movie for a couple of reasons. The movie features Academy Award-winning music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, also responsible for the witty soundtrack to Little Shop of Horrors. On Songs From the Sea, the music is written by lesser-known writers, presumably from Disney's Saturday morning cartoon factory. The songs are not part of a larger-scale story; they are random and centered all around Ariel, though the album does feature "Scuttle Strut" sung by Buddy Hackett, as well as appearances by other cast members. In its favor, the album features the return of Broadway's Jodi Benson as the voice of Ariel, and the songs are catchy. Artistically, the music is a few notches above the Little Mermaid cartoon series (from which another album was released by Disney) and several notches below the classic film.
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AllMusic Review by Peter Fawthrop