Muppets: The Green Album
Artist: Various Artists
Produced by: Walt Disney Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I was a kid, I loved Sesame Street. Kermit the Frog was one of my favorite characters, so when The Muppet Show, starring Kermit, hit the airwaves, I naturally was thrilled. I saw every episode until it went off the air in 1981. I still sing some of the songs from that TV series to this day. When I received Muppets: The Green Album in the mail the other day, I just couldnít wait to put it in the CD player.
Muppets: The Green Album features twelve Muppets songs re-interpreted by some of todayís favorite artists, including Weezer, The Fray, Amy Lee and Matt Nathanson. The album is a prequel of great event to come for the Muppets, including a Thanksgiving release of a new Muppets adventure starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper in the theaters and the subsequent release of the movieís soundtrack by Walt Disney Records on November 22, 2011.
I know The Muppet Show Theme Song by heart and have often sung it around the houseÖto kids of course, what were you thinking? When I first heard OK Goís version of the song, I cringed a bit. The Muppet Show Theme Song re-interpreted into a rock/metal track? But then I listened to it again and decided that it wasnít all that bad of an interpretation. This is followed by my favorite Kermit song, The Rainbow Connection, a beautiful ballad performed remarkably well by Weezer and Paramoreís Hayley Williams. Right after that is another favorite, Mahna Mahna, and yes, I sing this song in public along with my co-workers at my job. The Fray takes on this song, which was originally performed by Mahna Mahna and the Snowths, and I was delighted to discover that they really hadnít changed a thing. The song sounded almost exactly as I remembered it.
The fourth track, Moving Right Along, originally appeared in The Muppet Movie. Performed by the Alkaline Trio, this catchy tune takes on a punk like style and yet still manages to be as fun as the original version. The next track is Our World, a beautiful ballad I first heard in the Christmas special, Emmet Otterís Jug Band Christmas. Performed by My Morning Jacket, the song is just as beautiful as ever, despite the fact that it isnít being sung by Emmet Otterís mother in conjunction with Emmet and his Jug Band. I donít remember the next track of the album, Halfway Down the Stairs, which supposedly appeared on The Muppet Show and was performed by Kermitís nephew, Robin. Iím fairly certain that he performed the song quite differently from Amy Lee formerly of the band Evanescence, whose haunting voice sends chills up the listenerís spine.
Then comes the incredibly fun tune, Mr. Bassman, changed to suit the times. Instead of the singer, Sondre Lerche, asking to be taught how to perform the bass part in a vocal group, he asks to be taught how to play the bass guitar. The Airborne Toxic Event takes on Wishing Song, which was originally sung by Gonzo. With how creepy a character Gonzo was, I can understand the creepy interpretation by this indie band. I canít say that I remember Night Life from The Great Muppet Caper, but the version performed by Atreyuís Brandon Saller and Good Charlotteís Billy Martin is a hard rocking performance worthy of the radio.
We come up to another of my favorites by Kermit the Frog called Beiní Green, which starts off listing why itís so difficult to be green and then becomes a celebration of self. Andrew Bird takes on this song, and although I found his version decent, itís nothing compared to Kermitís version. Following this track is Matt Nathansonís version of the whimsical classic from The Muppet Movie, I Hope That Something Better Comes Along and Rachael Yamagataís haunting rendition of Iím Going to Go Back There Someday, a ballad from The Muppet Movie.
I enjoyed this album so much, I have already listened to it three times since first inserting the CD into the player. Of course, I love it so much because there is so much nostalgia here. I can reminisce about my childhood while listening to some pretty good interpretations of songs from those days. But I think that Muppets: The Green Album will take on even more meaning for parents, allowing them to share a piece of their own childhood with their kids while still bringing them the newness that todayís artists insert into these songs through their re-interpretations. Muppets: The Green Album will make a great addition to the music collection of any family and for those of us who love to reminisce about our childhood.