Unless you’ve been in a cave, lost in a desert or, without electricity, it’s pretty hard to miss The Muppets advertising bombardment these days. Having made special appearances on broadcast morning shows and other talk and reality shows, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the whole Muppet gang are back and ready to hit the big screen with a new film later this week, aptly named The Muppets, with Jason Segel and Amy Adams. One thing you can always count on from The Muppets is some awesome, fun tunes ().
Featuring songs written by Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”), updated versions of Muppet classics and familiar hits were given the Muppet treatment, the film’s soundtrack arrives in stores and at online retailers Nov. 21, 2011. The film opens nationwide Nov. 23.
Having grown up watching and loving the Muppets as a kid, I can’t help be feel pretty excited about the new film. I mean, come on… it’s THE MUPPETS!
Bret McKenzie, who created, co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the hit HBO television series “Flight of the Conchords,” is the music supervisor, as well as the writer/producer of four original songs, including “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Let’s Talk About Me,” “Man or Muppet” and “Me Party.” McKenzie also produced “Pictures in My Head” and “Rainbow Connection.” Stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper join in the singing, as do special guests Feist, Mickey Rooney, Joanna Newsom, and the whistling skills of Andrew Bird.
“Music was always an integral part of the ‘The Muppet Show’ and Muppet films,” McKenzie said. “It’s hard to think of the Muppets without thinking of songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ or ‘Mah Na Mah Na.’ The Muppets don’t sound like anyone else and that’s what’s great about them. It was a huge honor to work on ‘The Muppets’ and I took the job very seriously, even when I was recording a man pretending to be a penguin.”
The Muppets turn in new renditions of “The Muppet Show Theme” (co-written by Jim Henson, the song opened and closed “The Muppet Show” for five seasons in the US and UK, from 1976-1981) the treasured Muppet classic and Academy Award ®-nominated “Rainbow Connection,” (penned by Oscar®-winning composer Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher) as well as the original 1969 version of “Mah Na Mah Na.” The felt gloves come off in new Muppet interpretations of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Also included are the original versions of Paul Simon’s 1972 hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and Starship’s 1985 chart-topper “We Built This City.” The album also features 15 dialogue interstitials from the film.
Billiboard has a 5 song medley featuring music from the new soundtrack. Unfortunately, I can’t embed the music player. Visit Billboard.com,
The following is a complete song list:
- “The Muppet Show Theme” Performed by The Muppets, this is an updated version of the theme beloved for decades. The song also includes a special appearance by Joanna Newsom.
- “Life’s a Happy Song” Sung by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter the Muppet, this is one of the key tracks in the score that onscreen grows from a simple tune to an epic production number, “I wrote this in New Zealand when I was in a particularly good mood,” says McKenzie. “I sat down at the piano and it came out very quickly.” The song also features special appearances by Feist and Mickey Rooney.
- “Pictures in My Head” – Kermit the Frog takes a solo turn in this sweetly humorous ballad, in which he remembers only the good stuff about his glory days with his fellow Muppets.
- “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” – Paul Simon’s immortal hit from his 1972 self-titled solo album, is a song that perfectly captures the spirited fun of the film.
- “Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version)” – Written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher, this is perhaps the best-known, best-loved Muppets song of all time. Here it is utterly twisted up by The Moopets (Fozzie Bear’s tribute band to the original Muppets).
- “We Built This City” – Starship’s #1 smash hit from 1985 makes the perfect backdrop as the Muppets strive to save their studio.
- “Me Party” – Destined to become a classic, Miss Piggy and Amy Adams team up for this upbeat, disco diva throw down. McKenzie calls it “A party song for the lonely. Amy Adams did a great job, though Miss Piggy was predictably difficult to work with, I think she was dealing with some personal issues.”
- “Let’s Talk About Me” – One of the soundtrack’s most pleasant surprises is this die-hard hip-hop track, performed with charming malevolence by Chris Cooper (who portrays the film’s villain Tex Richman) and Nathan Pacheco. Said McKenzie, “Turns out that Chris Cooper is dangerous on the mic, and I’m predicting a Dre/Cooper collaboration in the not too distant future.”
- “Man or Muppet” – Performed by star Jason Segel and Walter, this power ballad is sung during one of the film’s emotional high points. Said songwriter McKenzie, “This was one of those songs that really needed a great vocal performance. Luckily, Jason and Muppeteer Peter Linz did an amazing job, coming up with epic vocal takes. Turns out Jason has a voice like Meatloaf’s.”
- ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” – The Muppet Barbershop Quartet of Rowlf, Beaker, Link Hogthrob and Sam the Eagle, takes on the timeless Nirvana hit. Kurt Cobain probably never imagined his music could be Muppetized.
- “Forget You” – Wildly popular and often copied as Cee Lo Green’s classic may be, it’s guaranteed that no one has ever heard a clucked-up rendition like this one from Muppets Camilla and the Chickens.
- “Rainbow Connection” – Here it is, the Oscar®-nominated ballad from “The Muppet Movie” (1979) sung by the beloved Muppet gang.
- “The Whistling Caruso” – Noted whistling virtuoso Andrew Bird puckers his way through this delightful, wordless interlude, performed in the film by Walter.
- “Life’s a Happy Song Finale” – The entire cast teams up for a reprise of the opening number, in a joyous finale that audiences will not soon forget. Shooting the scene shut down Hollywood Boulevard for two nights, and featured 80 dancers and 300 extras.
- “Mah Na Mah Na” – The memorable track from the original “The Muppet Show,” performed by Mahna Mahna and The Snowths.
- Exclusive Featurette: On Set With the Muppets (slashfilm.com)
- Muppets Parody Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trailer (wired.com)
- Jason Segel’s love affair with The Muppets (canada.com)
- Amy Adams Says She “Was Just Happy to Be There Supporting The Muppets” (popsugar.com)