A world without The Muppets is a sadder place. When they came back to theatrical glory a couple of years ago it was with polish, a good script and catchy numbers. No longer were they stuck in straight to DVD territory.
I haven’t quite decided if it’s a good thing that there has been a relatively quick turnaround with its follow up Muppets Most Wanted, which as is pointed out in the opening number is technically the seventh sequel in the Muppet franchise. It definitely has the vibes of Disney wanting to get another film out whilst they’re fresh in the minds of these forgetful youths. Hopefully though it will turn out to be another riotous triumph. In the meantime we have the soundtrack to give us a preview of the guaranteed chaos. Bret Mckenzie returns to write the tunes. Hooray.
Sadly the soundtrack opens up with Walter. I loathe Walter. Walter is incredibly irritating and there is nothing to recommend him. I like the last film in spite of him. That being said he’s quickly gone and the first number kicks in proper. Whilst it’s incredibly hard to top an opening like ‘Life’s A Happy Song’ from the previous film ‘We’re Doing A Sequel’ is a cheerful, bouncy number. Interestingly the song features the film’s original tile ‘The Muppets Again!’ which is a much more original title than the caper infused handle it now sports. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett also pop up to help instantly date the film as they obviously recorded their line a piece back when they were in studio together.
The next song introduces the films two villains. Kermit’s-criminal-doppelganger Constantine and Ricky Gervais Dominic Badguy. A pian-ee led rhumba number that I can picture Gervais will be dancing an embarrassing dance to in the film. The refrain of “dance monkey dance!” is a delightful ear worm. Tina Fey then arrives with ‘The Big House’ which wouldn’t sound out of place in Little Shop of Horrors. I never realised what a lovely voice she had and everyone’s favourite funny man of opera Josh Groban puts in an appearance.
It may be my love of 1980s soul pop but the next song ‘I’ll Get You What You Want’ sung by Constantine to Miss Piggy could possibly be the highlight of the album. Mckenzie has written a stunning R&B track, it is perhaps the most Flight of the Conchords sounding thing here. For a moment I was thinking that the music had particularly reflected the country-spanning theme of the film. Which was entirely a plus. But then we are treated to Pepe and Los Muppets performing The Muppet theme tune. It is truly a passionate retelling. The duo I’ve been looking forward to hearing from, since seeing the trailers, Ty Burrell and Sam the Eagle lead a group interrogation song. The pianos back in jaunty form as the song manages to pack in as much plot, Muppets and tongue twisters as it can in less than 3 minutes.
Depending on your love of slower, cheesy heartbreak songs you’ll either want to skip ahead or turn up ‘Something So Right’. Traditionally this would be the song I would fast forward if I was a child watching my old VHS. Miss Piggy sings along with Celine Dion. You know if you’ll enjoy. Jemaine Clement livens things up again with a Russian accented version of ‘Working in a Coal Mine’. It’s the first of three covers which also includes the films equivalent of the chickens performing ‘Forget You’, as Scooter joins them to sing a faithful version of ‘Moves Like Jagger’. A slightly odd choice – not old enough to be a classic, not new enough to be “current”. Miss Piggy’s version of the ‘Macarena’ is a happy finisher but considering the talent at work on the film could they not have come up with a better song themselves or even thought of song that’s not horribly dated.[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00IGL2OEK”]
The album also comes with demo version of some of the bigger numbers sung by Brett Mckenzie at the piano with backing band. It’s interesting to hear the stripped down versions and his versatility as a voice actor as he impersonates a good deal of the Muppet gang.
It’s a Muppet film soundtrack. The songs are cheerful, theatrical and catchy. There may not be an Oscar in it for Mckenzie this time around. There’s certainly nothing as sweepingly epic and silly as ‘Man or a Muppet’ but there are plenty of songs that with have you nodding your head in the motion picture house. Unfortunately, purely because it arrives at the end, you’ll probably leave humming ‘Moves Like Jagger’.