The Best Of The Muppets:
Featuring The Muppets Wizard of Oz
Distributed By: Walt Disney Records
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
I have this theory that at times, amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, amid work, the classes we take at the local college, taking the kids to school and trying to host a dinner party—amid all the stress of life, we can sometimes forget just how fun and different it was to view things as a child would. This is a terrible phenomena as I’ve learned that it tends to suck the fun right out of life. Even I have been guilty of this truth—when I was handed The Best Of The Muppets-Featuring The Muppets Wizard of Oz, my initial thought, though I rarely lose touch with the whimsicality of being a child, was that someone was playing a cruel and torturous joke on me. How could anyone be expected to listen to thirty minutes of the Muppets singing past the age of eight? But I was wrong—and I was surprised at just how much fun I ended up having.
The first six songs of this CD are songs from the recently aired made-for-television movie, The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, a movie starring R&B singer Ashanti as Dorothy, amongst a whole bevy of Muppets, most famously, Kermit as the Scarecrow, Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion, Gonzo as The Tin Man and Miss Piggy as The Wicked Witch. At first, I was skeptical about this half of the CD—I’m not one of Ashanti’s biggest fans (or even one of her smallest) and The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite musicals. Yet, while nothing could possibly match Somewhere Over The Rainbow in my view, Ashanti doesn’t do half bad with her equivalent, Kansas a song with a great backbeat and cute lyrics about passion and drive. Other songs, like When I’m With You or the rousing The Witch Is In The House have lyrics that quickly remind you that a Muppets way of telling a story is like no other. From The Witch Is In the House: “You can leave the silver shoes at the door/because the diva’s got the floor!” Aahhh…classic Miss Piggy! As always, she’s a delight, and so are all of the other songs from this movie, including Good Life, a song with a positive message. “It’s a good life/a happy ending’s where we’re landing…” All of the songs did well to inform me of the atmosphere of the movie, despite the fact that I hadn’t seen it. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed those six songs, but not nearly as much as I would enjoy the remaining nine. The Best of the Muppets portion of this soundtrack CD, packed in some of the most memorable, and a couple of slightly less memorable tracks from Muppets’ past to create a fantastic blend of songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Some stand out tracks were the always memorable The Muppet Show Theme which made me smile with renewed memories of this wonderful series, Happy Feet, Kermit’s rendition of the beloved song as he tap dances his way across the stage, and The Rainbow Connection which doesn’t even need description. Then, of course there are the classics, like (It’s Not Easy) Being Green, a song in which you truly feel Kermit The Frog’s pain. I, myself, have never been green, but his portrayal really hammers home how hard it can be. Thankfully, he also finds the bright side. And to prove how much of a classic Mahna Mahna, a song made more popular recently by the Dr. Pepper commercial that contains it, is the fact that my colleague Melissa and I still sing it to each other on occasion, without any reason as to why. It’s just that engrained in our social behavior.
All in all, The Best of The Muppets: Featuring The Muppets Wizard Of Oz, is a great nostalgic listen, and an even better listen if you are a child in a world that becomes less fun and more fear by the minute. With fun songs about friendship, love, and making it through anything, this CD should be cherished by all children—young ones and old ones alike. I must say, it was nice to be a kid again, if only for a few moments.