Everyone drop everything and listen to Beyoncé’s new single, please. It’s called “Spirit,” and it’s the first of several songs planned for a companion album to Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Lion King. To the surprise of no one, it’s otherworldly good.
Beyoncé dropped both the song and news of the album, called The Lion King: The Gift, just before midnight on July 9. The timing coincided with the red-carpet premiere of the film, which arrives in theaters on July 17. The Gift will debut that same day, right alongside the movie; in addition to producing and performing songs for it, Beyoncé is “curating” the track list to feature music from African artists. The full track list is yet to be revealed, although more details are expected over the course of this week.
“Spirit” will be included in the film — during a “pivotal scene with Beyoncé’s character, Nala,” according to a press release from Disney — but it’s very unlikely that the remainder of The Gift will factor into the movie. After all, the new Lion King already has an established soundtrack to work with, thanks to the animated 1994 original. Plus, preorders for the remake’s official soundtrack are already available, and while the album will indeed contain “Spirit,” the rest of the track list appears to primarily contain new versions of songs from the animated film, as well as new pieces of score.
Nonetheless, The Lion King: The Gift is effectively a new Beyoncé album inspired by The Lion King, and if there’s something more perfectly made for me in this world, I sure would love to see it. Also, the cover art features Beyoncé looking gorgeous as always next to a CGI lion (Nala!), and I’ve never been more jealous of a computer-animated creature in my life.