I Kissed a Frog and I Liked It: "Muppets: The Green Album"

I Kissed a Frog and I Liked It: "Muppets: The Green Album"

Well, I didn’t really kiss a frog, but I would kiss Kermit if I could!  When I saw Kermit’s adorable little face amongst the new releases on iTunes this week, my interest was piqued.  It turns out “Muppets: The Green Album” is a compilation of Muppets songs covered by contemporary rock and alternative artists.  Brilliant!  What a clever idea, which would undoubtedly be appealing to both Muppet loving kids and their nostalgia loving parents.  Right?  Well, kind of.

One limitation is that I’m not sure kids really watch The Muppets anymore.  Also, the songs are pulled from not only “The Muppet Show”, but also those Muppet movies that you probably didn’t see and certainly don’t know the music from.  Finally, you might not like how the songs are covered.  For these reasons, the album doesn’t accomplish what I had initially thought it might, but that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. 

Here is my assessment of the 12 songs, categorized by how much/whether I liked them:

Liked:

  • “Muppet Show Theme Song” (OK Go) – This is definitely covered in a somewhat alternative fashion, but the song is so familiar that it’s like getting a delicious dose of Muppets with an updated twist.
  • “Rainbow Connection” (Weezer & Hayley Williams) – This is such a sweet song, and it’s covered well here.  I like the Weezer portion, which stays pretty true to the original song, but Hayley sounds like someone just woke her up and she’s annoyed that she has to sing- not much feeling.
  • “Mahna Mahna” (The Fray) – Remember crazy Animal singing this in the original version?  He was kind of an alternative guy himself pounding those drums.  It still sounds like Animal’s voice in this version but with better background vocals.
  • “Movin’ Right Along” (Alkaline Trio) – This is probably my favorite song on the album, and I’m not even positive I remember the original- it’s just a good song.  It’s upbeat and the vocalists kind of chat with each other- love!
  • “Bein’ Green” (Andrew Bird) – Who can forget poor Kermit agonizing over his unfortunate hue?  I don’t know Andrew Bird, but he sounds a little like Jack Johnson and doesn’t stray too far from Kermit’s version.  Very sweet.

So-so:

  • “Our World” (My Morning Jacket) – I don’t remember this song and it’s a little drippy.  Not offensive but nothing special.
  • “Mr. Bassman” (Sondre Lerche) – I don’t remember this song either, but it’s kind of cute and upbeat.  It does sound like a kids’ song, which means it doesn’t really pass my test if it’s not eliciting some nostalgia. 
  • “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along” (Matt Nathanson) – Well, the vocals on this are nice, but the lyrics are downright depressing.  We need to find the Muppet who sang this song and do an intervention- stat! 
  • “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” (Rachel Yamagata) – Rachel has a really pretty voice, and this is a nice song, but I am not detecting any relationship to either children or Muppets.  You might like it just because it’s a nice song, not because it has any special meaning.

Bleh:

  • “Halfway Down the Stairs” (Amy Lee) – Amy is the lead singer of Evanescence, and she keeps that kind of Goth sound in this song, but the lyrics don’t match.  Apparently there is a search going on for a missing kid, and they’re going up and down the stairs looking for him.  On second thought, maybe the brooding sound matches the Amber Alert within after all.  No thanks.
  • “Wishing Song” (The Airborne Toxic Event)  – Don’t know the song and the sound it too alternative for me.
  • “Night Life” (Brandon Sailler & Billy Martin) – Ditto previous song.  This is almost crossing the line to head banger rock, and the lyrics really support the title.  Which Muppets episode would that have had them clubbing, might I ask?

Bottom line: I liked the songs that I remembered, all of which I thought were covered nicely.  There were a bunch of songs in the middle that were fine but didn’t do much for me.  If you wish, buy this album for yourself, but don’t expect that the songs will bridge the parent/kid musical gap any more than any other song might.  The nice thing for grownups is that they don’t necessarily sound like kids’ songs.  The downside is that your kids will probably think the same thing.

Filed under: Album Reviews

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