I can't tell you how many people visit here looking for information on the fabulous song "Lovely, Love My Family" by Philly's The Roots on the new Yo Gabba Gabba! soundtrack. Actually, I can. It's a lot. And so, just because I streamed "Lovely...", that wasn't enough. I also linked to a YouTube video which, unsurprisingly, was taken down. But now you can watch on Nick Jr's own site right here. Yes, there's an ad beforehand. Oh, well... Enjoy. (And stick around, you can also see the video for the Ting Tings' cover of "Happy Birthday").
Let me start this review by suggesting that, for all its sins real or imagined, Disney Music purveys more original music for kids and families than any other label. It is possible to avoid a fair amount of that if you don't actually watch cable TV on a regular basis, but they put out a lot of music on a regular basis, and for all age ranges. Not to mention a back catalog the envy of just about anybody. How much you actually enjoy it all depends in part on your age, but I've got three recent Disney releases here, and at least one of them is worth your time. I admit it. I'm old. Not, like, Social Security old, but old enough that if I use the phrase "OMG" I mean it ironically. I am old enough, however, to have a kid who, though she isn't quite out of the "kids music" phase yet, will start listening to music I haven't introduced her to. So I understand quite clearly that the soundtrack to Camp Rock, the latest Disney Channel original movie, premiering on a gazillion different channels this week, is Not For Me. It is for kids just a little older than my daughter. They'll spend their own allowances on it, or maybe their parents will get it for them. And what they'll get is an attempt to duplicate the High School Musical magic, except this time in a slightly more rock-oriented retelling of Cinderella. The album features some tracks with Joe Jonas solo (he's got a leading role in the movie) as well as a Jonas Brothers track. There are some songs by 16-year-old Demi Lovato, who has the lead female role and seems to be Disney's leading contender for a Miley Cyrus with a less pop and more rock edge. The songs are fine enough, and most of the songs won't drive you to change the station if you hear them on Radio Disney (OK, maybe "Hasta La Vista," ugh), but you're not going to remember them 15 minutes after they're over. There's nothing as memorable as "Breaking Free" or "Fabulous" or "You Are the Music In Me," all of which are decent pop songs. In the end, it's not really for me, but it never really was.
Well, I can't explain it, because it's been out-of-print due to contract disputes (see director Cory Edwards' explanation here). It's certainly not cheap on Amazon ($30+) or eBay ($50+). But I ordered (and received) this week a brand-new, sealed copy of the awesome Hoodwinked soundtrack (Top 10 of 2006 for me, here's my review) for about $15 delivered. I don't know how long this will last, but my guess is, not long. Where is it?
No, really, "Song of the Heart," for a kids' movie -- Happy Feet. It's a pleasant, funky mid-tempo number that will erase absolutely no memories of, say, Prince tearing up First Avenue in Purple Rain, but it's nice enough. Sadly, it's the only Prince cut on the soundtrack. For what it's worth, here's the track listing for the soundtrack, to be released Oct. 17th. 1. Song of the Heart - Prince 2. Tell Me Something Good - Pink 3. The Joker / Everything I Own - Jason Mraz/Chrissie Hynde 4. I Wish - Fantasia/Patti LaBelle/Yolanda Adams 5. Boogie Wonderland - Brittany Murphy 6. Somebody To Love - Brittany Murphy 7. My Way - Robin Williams 8. Do It Again - The Wondermints 9. Jump And Move - The Brand New Heavies 10. Kiss - Nicole Kidman 11. Golden Slumbers - K.D. Lang 12. John Powell Score Suite Two songs by Brittany Murphy?... Well, at least those Wondermints and K.D. Lang tracks could be good. (Thanks to Stereogum for the tip.)
Paul Westerberg's place in the rock canon is safe, thanks to the his work in the 1980s with the Minneapolis band The Replacements.If you had placed a bet back then that he'd eventually score an animated movie replete with a bunny rabbit, chances are you'd received pretty good odds.But here we are in 2006, children's music is all the rage, and Paul Westerberg has scored an animated movie replete with a bunny rabbit -- Open Season, whose Original Soundtrack is being released today. Setting the improbability aside, is it any good?It's a hard question to answer, because you're inevitably judging the album against Westerberg's previous work, much of which was recorded long before you were even thinking about parenthood.In any case, it's a mixed bag.Westerberg, who crafted a great soundtrack cut for the movie Singles ("Dyslexic Heart"), has another great song here in "Meet Me in the Meadow," a gorgeous pop tune with a soaring string-accompanied chorus, the sense of hope very reminiscent of Replacements' themes.It's definitely one of my favorite kids' music tracks of the year. "Love You in the Fall," the lead single, sounds most like an actual Replacements song, and is a decent song to boot."Right To Arm Bears" is a bit of silliness obviously crafted for a particular bit in the movie and shows off Westerberg's wordplay, as does "Any Better Than This" includes the amusing turn of phrase "knight in shining armchair." Where I think the soundtrack fails, at least for kids, is the slower songs."I Belong" and "Whisper Me Luck" move too slowly to grab most kids' attention (at least without a visual accompaniment), and I'm not sure the kids are going to respond to the lyrical concerns.In the context of the movie, they may be perfect, but as a set of standalone tracks, they bring the soundtrack to a halt. There are four tracks not performed by Westerberg.Pete Yorn covers "I Belong" and he, too, doesn't make it particularly compelling.Sacramento's Deathray (including members from Cake) cover Westerberg's "Wild As I Wanna Be" and have a fun, poppy original, "I Wanna Lose Control."And the Talking Heads, whose place in the rock canon may be even more safe than Westerberg, contribute "Wild Wild Life," a song whose existence will continue long after the apocalypse happens and cockroaches roam the earth.Needless to say, I'd've rather heard another Westerberg track than that recycled cut. I'm gonna peg the soundtrack as most appropriate for ages 6 and up.I mean, there's nothing inappropriate about the album -- I just don't think 3-year-olds will care much.Listen to four tracks at the soundtrack's Myspace page. The Open Season soundtrack is a good Paul Westerberg album, with probably more good songs than a lot of his recent work.Whether you or your kids will listen to it in the long run probably depends more, however, on whether you (or your kids) care about what Westerberg and his bandmates recorded 20 years ago.
Ben Folds has five songs on the soundtrack to the upcoming animated kids'movie Over the Hedge. The soundtrack, to be released tomorrow, includes "Rockin' the Suburbs." I know what you're saying, you're saying "Rockin' the Suburbs?" Could there be a more inappropriate song for a kids' movie soundtrack? Was "Brick" somehow unavailable? To be fair, Folds has written new lyrics for the song. In its original version, Folds takes aim at Limp Bizkit and their fans with lyrics such as Let me tell ya'll what it's like Being male, middle class and white It's a b----, if you don't believe Listen up to my new CD Sham on And it only gets more profane and more angry from there, until it ends in a fury of cheesy rap-metal. It all seemed a bit too much; making fun of Bizkit and the attitude of their fans (even at the time) was akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Sleepy fish in a barrel. It was overkill, perhaps, but amusing, and fully thought out in execution. So now for this new movie, which tells the story of some timid wood animals facing an encroaching suburbia, Folds has turned his aim from 20-year-old white males to, er, soccer moms? Let me tell y'all what it's like Watching idol on a friday night In a house built safe and sound On indian burial ground Sham on (Rest of the lyrics are here) From there, Folds turns his aim to cookie-cutter suburban development and how houses all look the same. It's as if he thought that five-year-old kids have a working knowledge of Jane Jacobs, enough to nod sagely at the critique. It's a song lobbed completely over the kids' heads at their parents, and, sadly, it's not telling us anything we don't know. (You either agree completely, or don't care at all.) Now, the song also includes a bizarre voice-over by frequent Folds collaborator William Shatner, which must be in character (Shatner does have a part), as Shatner rails on and on in the persona of a slightly too nosy neighbor. Again, vaguely amusing for the adults, kinda odd for the kids. And, most strangely, the song ends in the same cheesy rap-metal that's part of the original, only now it's devoid of any context. I really like Ben Folds, and I'm sure he was excited to help out with a kids' movie soundtrack (as he has at least one child of his own), but this is one song mostly likely over the he...ads. You can check out the Over The Hedge soundtrack website (with radio) here. If you think I'm gonna link to a Limp Bizkit song, you're nuts, but if you go to the Ben Folds Five website and click on "Music," you can hear my favorite Folds song, "The Battle of Who Could Care Less."