How confident was DreamWorks about the success of their animated Bible epic The Prince of Egypt? So confident that they decided to simultaneously release three soundtracks for the film, each targeted at a different audience. It was an audacious move, since there were few songs in the film -- which means that not only did "the official soundtrack" feature only a handful of tunes from the movie, but there were two companion records that had nothing to do whatsoever with the actual picture, other than existing as tributes. Ironically, those two records turned out to be better and more focused than the original soundtrack. The Prince of Egypt [Original Soundtrack] combines elements of the score with songs from the film, adding a few tracks by contemporary superstars (Boyz II Men's "I Will Get There," K-Ci & Jo-Jo's "Through Heaven's Eyes," Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston's unexpected -- and unexpectedly dull -- duet "When You Believe") for good measure. If that sounds similar to Disney's approach to soundtracks in the '90s, it's because the men behind the album -- Stephen Schwartz and Hans Zimmer -- worked on Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Lion King. Schwartz and Zimmer try valiantly to write ambitious songs that remain accessible, but they don't always reach their goal. Part of the problem is that the subject itself is difficult to tackle, since the life of Moses doesn't really lend itself to this style. More often than not, they succeed, but the results are often easier to admire than love, especially since the big names are considerably less successful in their efforts than the singers from the movie. In addition to that problem, the score sometimes feels out of place on the record -- even though it's written by Schwartz and Zimmer, it doesn't fit with the emotional tenor or flow of the album. There are enough strong moments to make The Prince of Egypt a good listen, but it simply isn't as rewarding as its two cousins.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine