(Un)Covered: I Just Can’t Wait to Be King

Simba vs Patty Walters By | August 31, 2016 at 1:00 PM

“I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”
Writers: Tim Rice, Elton John
Original Release Date: May 30, 1994

It’s actually shocking to me when people say they haven’t seen The Lion King. I remember seeing it in theatres (I was four, in case you need to work out my age) and I’ve always felt like it was a milestone movie because it taught a generation of kids about grief (the wildebeest stampede was the most tragic scene in a Disney movie for years). That being said, the highlight of the film is definitely the music; since most of the score was penned by Sir Elton John, could you really expect anything less than stellar? While “Hakuna Matata” is my favorite offering, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” makes a solid effort to be the mane event.  

Simba, that sassy lion cub, is trying to convince his royal advisor Zazu that he’s ready to be king. Of course, we all know he has a lot left to learn before he can take over for his dad, but this song gives us a hint of how ambitious Simba is. The tribal drumming has always spoken to my soul and the chorus of animals singing along makes me so happy. Plus, visually, it’s gorgeous to see all of Simba’s future subjects supporting him before he even takes the throne. I also like how frustrated Zazu gets, but that’s mostly because Rowan Atkinson was the perfect voice for the much put-upon hornbill.

If anyone could pull off a cover of the lion cub’s song, it’s Patty Walters from As It Is. I think all Disney songs need to start by shouting “Let’s fucking go!” to really get you moving, and Patty’s exuberant dancing will inspire the laziest of listeners. The pop punk guitars make you want to start a mosh pit at the watering hole—can’t you just imagine throwing down to this cover at a show? Patty’s high pitched vocals are close enough to the lion cub’s voice that you barely notice the difference, and he really gets across Zazu’s frustration with his young charge through his screaming; switching back and forth between singing and screaming distinguishes between the two characters. 

With lyrics like “Free to run around all day/Free to do it all my way”, the song seem to play with common pop punk themes of breaking out and doing your own thing, and Patty Walters completely owns these ideas in his cover. I’m not even a big fan of As It Is, but this version makes me want to hail King Patty’s finest fling.

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