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Days in the Sun

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"Days in the Sun"
Song by
from the album Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released March 10, 2017
Format
Recorded 2016
Length 2:40
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Menken

"Days in the Sun" is a song written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice for the musical fantasy film Beauty and the Beast (2017), a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name. Rice and Menken developed the concept in 2007 during the first discussions about a remake. Performed by Adam Mitchell, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Audra McDonald, and Clive Rowe, "Days in the Sun" is one of four songs added to the 2017 film. It was released on March 10, 2017, as part of the film's soundtrack.

"Days in the Sun" is prominently featured in a flashback sequence about the death of the Beast's mother. In the lyrics, the Beast's servants and Belle reminisce about earlier parts of their lives. Serving as a replacement of the song "Human Again" from the stage adaptation of the original Disney film, it was regarded as a more sombre expression of the subject matter by music critics. An alternative version of "Days in the Sun", in which the Beast's mother sings a verse, was made available on the Blu-ray release; it was changed after a test audience confused Harriet Jones with Hattie Morahan, who played the mother and Agathe, respectively. Critical response to "Days in the Sun" was mixed; some critics praised its content while others questioned whether it was a necessary addition.

Background and release

An image of Alan Menkin speaking into a microphone.
Alan Menken (pictured in 2013) developed "Days in the Sun" with Tim Rice when discussing the possibility of a Beauty and the Beast live-action adaptation.

In 2007, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice developed the concept for "Days in the Sun" during early discussions about a possible live-action adaptation of Disney's 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast. They wrote it during a meeting in London where Menken attended the West End opening for his musical Sister Act. Menken described the song as a lullaby that explores Belle, Beast, and his servants' memories of earlier parts of their lives; Rice approved of the idea as a way of expanding the characters' backgrounds and emphasizing their emotional connection with the audience.[1] When describing his creative process, Menken said he prefers to conduct collaborations in-person; he said: "I prefer to write face to face in the room, I want the feedback, where’s the title, the exposition, the architecture of the song."[2] Menken produced the song while collaborating with Rice on the songwriting.[3]

"Days in the Sun" is one of four songs introduced in the 2017 live-action adaptation Beauty and the Beast; the others are "Evermore", "Aria", and "How Does a Moment Last Forever".[1][4] Menken said he only wanted to create more material for the remake if "it fe[lt] organic to the medium".[1] David Hoberman, who produced the 2017 film, thought "Days in the Sun" would earn Menken his ninth Academy Award for Best Original Song.[5][6]

A preview of "Days in the Sun" was released on February 17, 2017, along with a portion of Emma Thompson's performance of the 1991 song "Beauty and the Beast".[7] "Days in the Sun" was considered for release as a single but director Bill Condon did not feel it "len[t] itself to the process". A version of "Evermore" performed by Josh Groban was ultimately chosen as a single.[2] Before the film's debut and the soundtrack's release, a series of nail polishes was released; a yellow nail polish was named after the song.[8] "Days in the Sun" was released on March 10, 2017, as a track on the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack;[9] it was made available as an audio CD and a digital download.[9][10] It is performed by Adam Mitchell as the young Beast, Emma Watson as Belle, and Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, and Clive Rowe as the Beast's enchanted servants.[9]

Context and composition

"Days in the Sun" is played three times during the film. It is first heard performed by Audra McDonald as part of a debutante ball. Director Bill Condon identified it as a lullaby the Beast's mother sang for him and said the court had chosen its most celebrated diva to appeal to the Beast.[11]

The song, which Menken called "a combination of a lullaby and a remembrance of happier days for everybody", is performed again by Belle and the servants as they go to bed.[5] Its opening lyrics explores the Beast's childhood.[12] In the scene, the young Prince—before he becomes the Beast—sings "Days in the Sun" for his dying mother. The lyrics include the lines: "Days in the sun / When my life has barely begun / Not until my whole life is done / Will I ever leave you".[13] The song progresses to his servants discussing what they miss about their lives as humans,[12] and their guilt for not preventing the Beast from being spoiled and eventually cursed.[14] Watson's solo contains a reference to the song "A Change in Me", which was written for the stage adaptation of the original Disney film, and its related themes.[15] "Days in the Sun" was also performed as part of a Disney Dream stage production.[16]

"Days in the Sun" replaces the musical theatre version's song "Human Again",[4][13] and various critics noted that the new addition was more melancholy in comparison.[13][17] Santa Cruz Sentinel's Bob Strauss called it "a melancholy remembrance of freer and/or more human past".[17] "Days in the Sun" is performed in common-time at a slow tempo of 110 beats per minute,[3][18] and composed in the key of B-flat major.[3] Seven people perform the song, while its instrumental is provided by a guitar and a piano. One singer's vocal range spans from the low note of F3 to the high note of G5.[19]

Alternative version and sequence

External video
Beauty and the Beast Deleted Scene – "Days in the Sun" (2017)
The original sequence for "Days in the Sun".

The Blu-ray release of the film includes another version of the song, in which the Beast's mother sings to him.[20] In this version, a sequence showing the Beast's mother singing to her sick child would have been intercut with one of the young Beast singing to his dying mother.[21] The scene and song were changed for the final version because a test audience confused the mother with Agathe.[20] In the original take, the mother was portrayed by Harriet Jones and Agathe by Hattie Morahan. Condon said the changes were a result of his "mistake". He said: "The actresses actually look very much alike, so, sadly when we did it again, even though it is once again Harriet, we had to put her in bed and with dark hair." Jones was retained in the film but Condon had the character portrayed as a brunette to avoid confusion. The actor portraying the young Beast was changed because Condon required the part to be sung.[21]

Critical reception

Critics responded positively to "Days in the Sun" for its contributions to the character development for Belle and the Beast.[22][23][24][25] Estelle Tang of Elle praised the song as a "tearjerker",[22] and Refinery29's Arianna Davis called it "cute and bubbly".[23] Keisha Hatchett of The Mary Sue commended "Days in the Sun" for revealing the similarities of Belle's and the Beast's family backgrounds. Hatchett wrote that their shared understanding of "know[ing] what it’s like to lose a mother at a young age and feel[ing] like a freak among their peers" made the characters' romance more understandable for the audience.[24] James Croot of Stuff.co.nz praised the track for "enhanc[ing] the story and allow[ing] the Beast a bit more voice in proceedings".[25]

Several critics responded negatively to "Days in the Sun".[13][14][26] Crystal Bell cited it as her least favorite of the new additions to the 2017 adaptation. Bell described it as Watson's best vocal performance in the film, but wrote that the idea of the actress harmonizing with McDonald as laughable. She also praised Mbatha-Raw's vocals and felt the singer deserved her own solo.[13] Sarah Caldwell of Vulture.com said that "Days in the Sun" and "Aria" were created primarily as excuses to provide more material for McDonald.[14] IGN's Eric Goldman criticized "Days in the Sun" and "Evermore" as "uninspired and hard to recall after the fact".[26]

References

  1. ^ a b c Lee, Ashley (March 14, 2017). "'Beauty and the Beast' Composer Alan Menken on Rediscovering Lost Lyrics and Why He's "Shutting Up" About That Gay Character". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (March 17, 2017). "Composer Alan Menken Talks Creating New Music for 'Beauty And The Beast' and Coaching Stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Days In The Sun". Sheet Music Direct. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Phillips, Michael (March 14, 2017). "'Beauty and the Beast' review: Animated Disney musical's charms lost in translation". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Collis, Clark (November 7, 2016). "An exclusive guide to the new songs in Disney's Beauty and the Beast". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017.
  6. ^ Loughrey, Clarisse (November 8, 2016). "Beauty and the Beast live-action remake will feature three new songs". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "First Listen: New Beauty and the Beast Song 'Days in the Sun' + Emma Thompson Performs Title Song". Broadwayworld.com. February 17, 2017. Archived from the original on February 26, 2017.
  8. ^ Prakash, Neha (January 10, 2017). "A 'Beauty and the Beast' Nail Polish Line Is Here (and It's Really Good)". Glamour. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Beauty and the Beast (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. March 10, 2017. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017.
  10. ^ "Releases". AllMusic. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Thompson, Anne (March 14, 2017). "'Beauty and the Beast': How Bill Condon Built Hollywood's Most Expensive Musical". IndieWire. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Truffaut-Wong, Olivia (March 13, 2017). "The New 'Beauty And The Beast' Songs Fit Right In, Thanks To Disney Rock Star Alan Menken". Bustle. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e Bell, Crystal (March 14, 2017). "Ranking All 14 Songs from Disney's Live-Action Beauty and the Beast". MTV. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017.
  14. ^ a b c Caldwell, Sarah (April 3, 2017). "Help, I Can't Stop Listening to the Cheesy New Beauty and the Beast Songs". Vulture.com. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Dietz, Grace (March 21, 2017). "Beauty and the Beast (2017) Review". Her Campus. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Kalosh, Anne (November 10, 2017). "Curtain rises on 'Beauty and the Beast' production aboard Disney Dream". Seatrade Cruise News. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Strauss, Bob (March 16, 2017). "How Disney added new songs to "Beauty and the Beast'". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017.
  18. ^ Collis, Clark (2017). "Once Upon A Time… Aagin". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017.
  19. ^ "Days in the Sun". Musicnotes.com. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Thompson, Luke Y. (June 6, 2017). "Blu-ray Review: 'Beauty And The Beast' Depends On Familiarity, And Its Extras Explain". Forbes. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Acuna, Kirsten (May 23, 2017). "This scene from 'Beauty and the Beast' was changed because of a mistake the director made". Business Insider. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Tang, Estelle (March 3, 2017). "21 of the Biggest Differences in the New Live-Action Beauty and the Beast". Elle. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Davis, Arianna (March 3, 2017). "Good News: The New Beauty & The Beast Is Just As Magical As The Original". Refinery29. Archived from the original on March 19, 2017.
  24. ^ a b Hatchett, Keisha (March 16, 2017). "Review: Beauty and the Beast Is a Delightful Nostalgia Trip With Enhanced Feminism But Not Much Else". The Mary Sue. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Croot, James (March 22, 2017). "Beauty and the Beast Review: Why there'll be tears before bedtime". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (March 7, 2017). "Beauty and the Beast Review". IGN. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017.

External links

  • Days In The Sun (From "Beauty and the Beast"/Audio Only) on YouTube (on Disney's official Vevo channel)
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