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Desert Island Disc Challenge: ‘Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron’

Relaxing, inspiring and beautifully composed.

Robyn McDonald



Editor’s note: As part of CMN’s ongoing music journalism program, we asked our team of music writers to take on the age-old challenge of choosing one piece of music they would like to have with them if they were stranded on a deserted island. It’s an absurd notion, but also irresistible. See all the different approaches they took to the challenge right over here.

If I could only take one album to a deserted island, it would have to be Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (Music from the Original Motion Picture). The album/movie was released in 2002, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

The movie is an American animated adventure film, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. It was based on the homeland of the mustangs and Lakotas near Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Grand Teton Mountain Range. The Calvary outpost in the movie was also based on Monument Valley.

This soundtrack is relaxing, inspiring, beautifully composed, and well played. I chose it because a child with colorful pictures telling a great story with music that’s catchy and easy to sing/memorize is everything!

I watched it over and over sometimes just for the music. Some tracks have an airy vibe, some have a harder hitting sound based on a few tough scenes, and some easy-going sentimental beautiful pieces. It’s just a great, realistic, emotional soundtrack that fits in anybody’s everyday life.

This album also has one hell of a singer, Bryan Adams, who recorded with real instrumentation, not just the same recycled beats and tracks you hear in today’s movies and albums. Hans Zimmer is the mastermind composer who combines electronic, orchestral, and full blasting acoustics.

The music was composed, written, and expressed to be viewed through Spirit’s (horse/main character) eyes. These songs always represents Spirit’s inner thoughts, feelings, and inner strength through every lyric.

I keep re-listening to the album because it’s just so powerful and inspirational, it almost makes me want to rethink some choices in life and follow what’s right and in my heart. It just has that effect. Following my dreams, protecting family, and saving/enjoying our freedom would be three great points that describe this album.

I can listen to this album when I sad, happy, stressed out, or relaxed, because it can just calm you down with the softness the vocals provided by Adams. I can honestly say this is one of my favorite albums because I won’t ever get tired of hearing it, or watching the movie for that matter. This is something that would complement my island home, for the relaxation, positivity, and peace of mind it would provide me with.

The movie is about a horse in the wild west, who ventures out and gets into trouble by stumbling upon a calvary post with a stubborn captain. Spirit is that unbreakable soul that lets no one get near him and is posted near a young Indian man who later befriends Spirit. They escape and travel back to the west in their homelands together where Spirit finds his love, family, and freedom again.

So, these songs are being told and explained as Spirit’s voice through the whole movie and it’s a wonderful, family movie/album to listen to. I would highly recommend listening to and watching the movie to get the full experience. This would be the perfect soundtrack if I was stuck on a deserted island.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Robyn "RJ" McDonald is a musician from Paducah, KY, living in Nashville, TN. She began playing drums, keyboards/piano by the age of seven, and studied Videography/Journalism throughout, starting in middle school through high school, and going to SAE Institute of Technology for two Associate's degrees in Audio Engineering/Music Production and Music Business.

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