Thursday, August 25, 2011

CD Review: The Green Album

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 2:39 PM


Various Artists
The Green Album
Walt Disney Records; Aug. 23, 2011

The Deal: Modern-day artists take on classic Muppet-related songs.

The Good: Tackling childhood memories is never a wise task (note to the creators of The Smurfs and Yogi Bear movies), but with the right approach it can be done. Enter The Green Album — a collection of songs that are a fine walk down nostalgia lane. It opens with OK Go's take on "The Muppet Show" theme song, teetering on a fine line between homage and ruin. I think they pulled it off though, modernizing the classic tune thanks to use of Theremin and electric guitar solos.

Next up is Weezer and Hayley Williams (Paramore) take on "Rainbow Connection." The approach is genuine and straightforward enough to leave purists at ease. Williams and singer Rivers Cuomo trade off vocals before ending in harmony, and it works.

The lyric-less "Mahna Mahna" gets a jazzy take by The Fray with its scatting vocals and familiar rhythm. It's one of those songs that you probably won't recognize by the name, but you will when you hear it. Alkaline Trio gives a bit of distortion and rock ethic into the former Fozzy and Kermit duet "Movin' Right Along."

For me, My Morning Jacket steals "the show" with their cover of "Our World" from the movie Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. The song was a mellow throwaway in the movie, but MMJ brings new life into it.

Amy Lee offers a gothic electronic take on Robin the Frog's Muppet Show song, "Halfway Down the Stairs." "Mr. Bassman," originally played by Scooter and Electric Mayhem now gets an acoustic folk tribute by Sondre Lerche. Gonzo's "Wishing Song" gets a gruff take thanks to The Airborne Toxic Event.

"Night Life" is from The Great Muppet Caper and gets treatment by Atreyu's Brandon Saller and Medeski Martin & Wood drummer, Billy Martin who give it a bit of metal infusion.

Andrew Bird tackles "Bein' Green" with a soft vocal reminiscent of the original. "I Hope That Somethin' Better Comes Along" — originally done by Kermit and Rowlf the Dog — is examined by Matt Nathanson and "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday" by Gonzo is danced orchestrally by the vocals of Rachael Yamagata.

The Bad: Some of the songs aren't as familiar as others, but they're all great at bringing back memories without destroying the fabric they were created on.

The Verdict: It's tough not to press play and crack a smile and the tunes roll on by.

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