Album review - The Muppets Green Album

by - Monday, September 26, 2011

currently: listening to LIGHTS - Toes (her latest album Siberia will be released October 4th)

I felt quite lucky to be able to review the Muppets album for debate magazine. I get to hear some great new music and write about the experiences, and listening to the Muppets just brought back memories of sitting in front of the big boxy TV, watching Kermit and Miss Piggy on screen. I greatly enjoyed this album, and even though I'm 20 years old, I'd suggest it to anyone of any age.
Read the printed review in debate issue 21 or down below here!

Various Artists - The Muppets: The Green Album
Rating: A-

When people think of a Muppets album, no one expects the album’s target market to be for anyone over the age of seven. However, The Muppets: The Green Album is not like this. Full of classic songs that have been remade by modern day bands, it should prevent anyone born before this millennium from feeling ashamed by listening to these tracks. Each artist has applied their own style and mix to this album of favourites, turning this children’s album into a suitable album for the big kids too.

The album fittingly opens up with the Muppet Show Theme Song, covered by the creative treadmill walkers, Ok Go. Though Ok Go is better known for their outdone music videos, their cover of this iconic song is equally admirable and creative. Layers of trippy synths, a heavy bass, and echoy vocals from lead singer Damian Kulash mature the song for the older generation, far from the original’s playful showbiz style. But if you’re not familiar with Ok Go’s own music, you may not appreciate their treatment on this track.

A fantastic pairing was with Alkaline Trio covering the song Movin’ Right Along, originally done by Kermit and Fozzie Bear. From the original plucky banjo version to the pop-punk twist, Alkaline Trio makes this song fun, upbeat and playable on any mainstream radio station. It also keeps the banter that happens between Kermit and Fozzie Bear, maintaining the humorous side of Muppets songs.

There is always some hesitance to accept anyone other than Kermit singing the iconic ballad, Bein’ Green, especially from anyone who was not a physically green coloured being. But singer Andrew Bird does a pretty decent job at it. He keeps the folky vibe like the original, but adds in his own smooth and soft spoken tone. Include the lively violin solos and it becomes its own delicate and charming track.

One of the most unlikely pairings for this album is The Fray with the song Mahna Manha. Having The Fray stretch from anything other than their emotional piano crooning ways seemed a bit unrealistic at first. However, The Fray pulls this Mahna Mahna and the Snowths cover off fantastically. It remains cheeky, catchy, and humorous, with that extra bit of jazzy soulfulness on the side. Amy Lee (from Evanescence fame) was also a surprising and unlikely edition to this album. Her cover of Halfway Down the Stairs was done in her hauntingly beautiful vocals, which gave the track a ghostly like vibe (but not too much to sound like a child’s disturbed nightmare.)

Unfortunately not every song was given its true justice by their tribute artist. Rock band Weezer with Paramore’s lead carrot top, Hayley Williams, was a great idea of collaboration in theory. But instead, their rendition of the beautiful and emotional Rainbow Connection left me a bit disappointed. With Williams power vocals, and Weezer’s rock quirks, a lot more could have been done with this track, but the end result was nothing more than nice and average.

Although I really enjoyed this album, for others it could be a case of ‘love it or hate it’, depending on how dedicated you are to the original Muppet versions. Nevertheless, be expected to be shot back into nostalgia when you listen to these songs. Those memories of watching Muppets on your giant square TV screens will come flooding back to you.

Check out the video for The Muppets Show Theme Song, as performed by Ok Go and the Muppets

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