The idea behind Simply Mad About the Mouse — to have stylistically varied pop stars performing songs from Disney films — is so good you can’t help but wonder why nobody’s done anything like it before. Of course, somebody has: producer Hal Willner, with his 1988 album Stay Awake (A&M). It featured such non-mainstream types as Tom Waits and the Replacements, and as such had a subtext — i.e., that there were dark, adult concerns lurking around the edges of these seemingly innocent songs. But Simply Mad has nothing on its mind beyond commercial success and consequently is a lot less interesting.
Ric Ocasek’s ”Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” (with cute Disney animated animals) has an interesting air of demented glee. Unfortunately, the tape also has such misfires as ”The Bare Necessities,” by a too-pleased-with-himself Harry Connick Jr., and an overwrought ”A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” by faux-soul singer Michael Bolton. And none of it so visually compelling that you wouldn’t be better off with the simultaneously released, cheaper CD. Or for that matter, with Stay Awake. B-