The Muppets

The Muppets [Original Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by Chrysta Cherrie

For the 2011 film The Muppets, our fine felted friends partnered with Disney, raising the question of and hope that the collaboration would usher in a new era of Muppets mania and a creative renaissance for the franchise. Arriving a few months ahead of the flick, Muppets: The Green Album rounded up alt-pop/rock hitmakers of the day to put a fresh spin on the Muppets songbook, offering mixed results and more queries about whether the gang could recapture the magic of decades past. Happily, the soundtrack to The Muppets thoughtfully blends reimagined classics with new tunes (and Muppet performances with live action singing, plus dialogue bits from the movie and a couple of classic non-Muppet radio hits), effectively reinvigorating the franchise for established fans and younger audiences alike. Much of the success of The Muppets' soundtrack can be attributed to Bret McKenzie, half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who penned the lion’s share of the new compositions, skillfully interpreting the irreverence and emotional range that make the Muppets music of yore so enduring. He sets the stage with the buoyant, soaring opening and closing number “Life’s a Happy Song,” introducing listeners to Muppets fans Mary (Amy Adams) and Gary (Jason Segel), who travel to Los Angeles to try helping the troupe save their theater from oil tycoon Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). Alongside the track’s guest performers Mickey Rooney and Feist, Adams is charming and whimsical, recalling her star turn in Disney fairy tale musical Enchanted, and Segel is unabashedly enthusiastic (befitting considering his role as composer of a puppet-driven musical in Forgetting Sarah Marshall). McKenzie also shines on “Me Party,” a get-her-groove-back disco anthem in which Adams and (naturally!) Miss Piggy proclaim “one is the new two,” and the moving Segel-centric tune “Man or Muppet”. Similarly rewarding is new piece “Pictures in My Head”, by Disney hitmakers Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman, finding Kermit the Frog reflecting on the state of affairs (“My green is feelin’ gray/Sometimes even frogs have rainy days”) in a ballad worthy to stand alongside “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green” and “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday.” The other factor that makes The Muppets such a treat is its ability to pack in tons of surprises without sacrificing narrative flow: eccentric indie singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom’s divisively Muppet-esque vocals are right at home in a new recording of The Muppet Show theme; rough-edged Cooper plays a Yosemite Sam-Cowboy Troy hybrid on the swaggering, goofy rap “Let’s Talk About Me”; Green Album favorite Andrew Bird returns with another carefree whistling session on “The Whistling Caruso”; and Muppet-ized takes on contemporary classics “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Forget You” are perfectly absurd but would make their original performers proud (and not make parents blush). In just 40 minutes, The Muppets offers all the silliness and sentimentality longtime fans have loved and new audiences will embrace, as smart as it is surprising.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Muppets 00:50 Amazon
2
The Muppets feat: Walter 00:04 Amazon
3 The Muppets feat: Amy Adams / Jason Segel / Walter 04:29 Amazon
4
The Muppets feat: Kermit / Jason Segel 00:20 Amazon
5 The Muppets feat: Kermit 02:35 Amazon
6
The Muppets feat: Kermit / Walter 00:11 Amazon
7 The Muppets feat: Paul Simon 02:42 Amazon
8
The Muppets feat: Amy Adams / 80's Robot 00:18 Amazon
9 The Muppets feat: The Moopets 01:02 Amazon
10
The Muppets feat: Fozzie / Kermit / Dr. Teeth / Walter 00:20 Amazon
11 The Muppets feat: Starship 04:53 Amazon
12
The Muppets feat: Amy Adams / Sarah Silverman 00:08 Amazon
13 The Muppets feat: Amy Adams / Miss Piggy 01:53 Amazon
14
The Muppets feat: Chris Cooper / Kermit 00:08 Amazon
15 The Muppets feat: Chris Cooper 02:32 Amazon
16
The Muppets feat: Chris Cooper / Kermit 00:07 Amazon
17
The Muppets feat: Amy Adams 00:08 Amazon
18 The Muppets feat: Jason Segel / Walter 02:57 Amazon
19
The Muppets feat: Kermit 00:07 Amazon
20 The Muppets feat: The Muppet Barbershop Quartet 02:23 Amazon
21
The Muppets feat: Kermit 00:05 Amazon
22 The Muppets feat: Camilla and the Chickens 02:28 Amazon
23
The Muppets feat: Kermit / Miss Piggy 00:04 Amazon
24 The Muppets 03:08 Amazon
25
The Muppets feat: Jason Segel 00:06 Amazon
26 The Muppets feat: Andrew Bird 01:15 Amazon
27
The Muppets feat: Uncle Deadly 00:05 Amazon
28 The Muppets 02:22 Amazon
29
The Muppets feat: Amy Adams / Jason Segel 00:08 Amazon
30 The Muppets feat: Mahna Mahna and the Two Snowths 02:06 Amazon
31
The Muppets Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick