Released: March 2014
There has always been a spectacular theatricality in the songs sung by Jim Henson’s fuzzy friends. Nearly 4 decades after The Muppet Show first aired, Kermit & co. continue to be the pinnacle of absurdist comedy, blending the brilliant with the bizarre. Their eccentric show tunes, both the magnificent and the mindless, are what The Muppets have always been known and celebrated for, so it should come as little surprise that the soundtrack to their latest cinematic outing is packed with musical gems that you’ll no doubt find yourself humming for weeks after you hear them… whether you want to or not.
As you’d expect, it’s a soundtrack that mixes spectacular showstoppers with Muppet-centric nonsense; just wait until you hear Scooter, aided by those pesky penguins, giving their own rendition of Moves Like Jagger. Whether you’re a longtime fan or one of the uninitiated, there’s a lot to be enjoyed here; though none of the songs manage to hit the same heights as the first film’s Man or a Muppet.
From We’re Doing A Sequel to Together Again, Muppets Most Wanted is an all-singing mix of boisterous harmonies to enthrall the young, which are peppered with humorous lyrics to keep the older fans entertained. Returning lyricist Bret Mckenzie has an unrivalled talent for creating songs infused with grandeur akin to cabaret, but held together with hysterically awful puns only found in the manic world of The Muppets.
This time the highlights include the aforementioned witty opening number We’re Doing A Sequel, which almost dares to tackle Hollywood’s insatiable thirst for making sequels. Meanwhile, I’m Number 1 uproariously captures the film’s power struggle between evil frog Constantine and his number 2, played by Ricky Gervais.
Performers, be they literally man or Muppet, give it their all; Tina Fey offers particular flair during The Big House. The orchestral element is equally as assured, composer Christophe Beck blending a mammoth mix of instruments to effortlessly capture the different moods of this diverse set of characters.
The cinematic sound bites admittedly feel out of place, as do the bonus demo tracks towards the bottom of the track list. No matter what flaws you find though, it’s hard not to be swept up by that overwhelming sense of joy that The Muppets embody, as they begin to play the music and start to light the lights.