In the golden era of 70s Muppet movies, the films were as much full-on musicals as they were anarchic comedies; "The Muppet Movie," of course, had great songs by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, and except for black sheep of the family "Muppets in Space," each subsequent film has been a musical. As such, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, who've written the script for next month's revival of Jim Henson's felt creations, have been sure to put music front and center in their new take, with "Flight of the Conchords" director James Bobin landing the director's job. What we weren't quite expecting is how eclectic the soundtrack has ended up being.
Maybe the tie-in record "The Green Album," which saw classic Muppets tracks being covered by contemporary artists (as the recent trailer put it: Blatant Cross Promotion!) should have tipped us off, but the film's soundtrack has been announced via The Hollywood Reporter, and there are more than a few surprises in there, including some pretty hip artists making guest appearances.
As previously reported, Bobin brought his 'Conchords' pal Bret McKenzie along for the ride as music supervisor, and the New Zealander has contributed four brand new songs to the new movie; "Life's A Happy Song," "Let's Talk About Me" (the much-anticipated song for villain Chris Cooper), "Man or Muppet" and "Me Party," the latter being a duet between Miss Piggy and female lead Amy Adams, which sounds AMAZING.
There's also one more original track, "Pictures in My Head," penned by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman (who've written songs for the "Hannah Montana" TV series, but far more interesting are the guest vocalists that have been brought in. Feist, whose new record "Metals" is very good indeed, appears on "Life's A Happy Song," along with 91-year-old veteran movie star Mickey Rooney, of all people, while indie-harpthrob Joanna Newsom sings vocals on a new version of "The Muppet Show Theme." There's also a track by Andrew Bird called "The Whistling Caruso" (which should really be the name of a light operetta version of "CSI: Miami"), and Disney recording artist Nathan Pacheco (no, us neither...) crops up on "Let's Talk About Me."
There are, additionally, versions of "Manha Manha" and "Rainbow Connection" of course, Muppet-performed covers of Cee-Lo's "Forget You" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," of all things, and two plain old cuts from Starship and Paul Simon, "We Built This City" and "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard." So yes, an interesting mix, but a pretty amazing one, all told, and it's not making the wait for the film any easier; the campaign to get McKenzie and Kermit a Best Original Song nomination starts here. The soundtrack lands November 21st, a few days ahead of the film, which follows on November 23rd.
And just to tide you over a little bit longer, you can watch a good theater etiquette PSA that's playing in AMC Theaters, starring the whole gang, it's managed to crack the Holy Grail, and actually be one of these things that's genuinely funny. Check it out below, courtesy of First Showing, along with the soundtrack's tracklisting.
1. "The Muppet Show Theme" - The Muppets
2. "Life's a Happy Song" - Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter
3. "Pictures in My Head" - Kermit and The Muppets
4. "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" - Paul Simon
5. "Rainbow Connection" - The Moopets
6. "We Built This City" - Starship
7. "Me Party" - Amy Adams and Miss Piggy
8. "Let's Talk About Me" - Chris Cooper
9. "Man or Muppet" - Jason Segel and Walter
10. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - The Muppets Barbershop Quartet
11. "Forget You" - Camilla and The Chickens
12. "Rainbow Connection" - The Muppets
13. "The Whistling Caruso" - Andrew Bird
14. "Life's a Happy Song" - Finale Entire Cast
15. "Mahna Mahna" - Mahna Mahna and The Two Snowths