The original soundtrack for Muppets Most Wanted has been released today online and in stores. The soundtrack features 25 tracks that range from dialogue snippets from the film, six original songs, five non-originals performed by the cast, a score suite, and five demo tracks performed by songwriter Bret McKenzie. I’m thrilled to say that the soundtrack features zero recordings of already popular songs, like on 2011’s The Muppets Original Soundtrack (e.g., “Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “We Built This City.”) Muppets Most Wanted‘s soundtrack features all new recordings and they’re spectacular.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the soundtrack over a week ago at the press junket for Muppets Most Wanted, and I really have not turned it off since. I’ve had it on loop in my car (and in my head) ever since I could play it. Every new song written by Bret McKenzie is a triumph. Here’s our review (of only the musical tracks featured in the film, not the dialogue, score, or demos).
1. “We’re Doing a Sequel” – The Muppets feat. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Perhaps my favorite song on the album (I might say this four times, fair warning), “We’re Doing a Sequel” is the best way that the Muppets could’ve possibly opened this film. The lyrics are so funny, so poignant, and so in-your-face that it’s really hard not to love. The entire song is a tribute to the breaking the fourth wall with crazy lines such as “We’re doin’ a sequel!/There’s no need to disguise/The Studio considers us a viable franchise!” I love this song so hard. I have nothing bad to say about it. Favorite lyric: “We’re doin’ a sequel!/The Studio wants more/While they wait for Tom Hanks to make Toy Story 4!”
2. “I’m Number One” – Constantine and Ricky Gervais
Constantine leads this track with some great verses by Rick Gervais in the middle. Matt Vogel shines so bright as Constantine in this song. This song might be more fun to watch in the film than it is to listen to, simply because of the insane puppetry work. However, that doesn’t mean that this track is any less of a joy to behold (behear?). Ricky’s singing work is top notch and he and Constantine harmonize really well. Add that to the hugely catchy melody and fun lyrics and you’ve got a hit. Favorite lyric: “I’m one, you’re number two/You may think that your smarter/but I’m smarterer than you!”
3. “The Big House” – Tina Fey feat. Josh Groban
This is the only song not to feature a Muppet in the vocals, but it’s okay, because it’s Tina Fey. Who knew Tina could sing, huh? She gets to show off her fantastic singing chops here. It’s no wonder Tina Fey can sing, since she does everything else so well, but it’s still incredibly impressive. I love the backing vocals from the gulag prisoners. The lyrics, again, are so smart and clever that I easily get just one line stuck in my head because I have to keep repeating the great rhyme over and over. Favorite lyric: “It’s no Hilton or no Hyatt, but you will have a riot/so please enjoy your stay.”
4. “I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)” – Constantine
I couldn’t love this song anymore if I tried. Wow, wow, wow. The combination of Matt Vogel’s sublime vocals and Bret McKenzie’s Flight of the Conchords-esque music and lyrics is sheer bliss. This is a 70s rock ballad gone hilariously wrong and I love every second. This song could have easily been the most forgettable in the film, but thanks to Matt and Bret it’s elevated sky high. I dare you not to sing along after just a few listens. It’s just perfect. Favorite lyric: “Baby stop right there/let me clear the air/Baby look into these eyes/let me apologize.”
5. “The Muppet Show Theme” – Los Muppets
Initially I expected this track to just be a Spanish language-version of The Muppet Show theme, but the music is mariachi influenced and the lyrics are altered slightly and it’s wonderful. On the album, Pepe gets a solo in the middle of the song that he doesn’t get in the film. Bill Barretta is the bomb and always captivates me–even when I don’t fully understand what he’s saying. Muy bueno.
6. “Interrogation Song” – Ty Burrell, Sam Eagle, and The Muppets
Where do I begin with this song? I think it’s absolutely brilliant. The music is bouncy and lively and really catchy. The whole song is performed “talkie” style, so the lyrics aren’t really sung, instead of spoken poetically. It shouldn’t work, but it really does. This song is the most difficult to sing along to, but it’s also the most rewarding when you can recite the lyrics along with Ty Burrell or Sam. On the soundtrack, Gonzo has a full section of the song that was unfortunately cut from the film. I think it’s the funniest part so it’s a real shame that it didn’t make the cut. Favorite lyric: “I never saw the stolen busts!/I spent the night in bed, concussed!”
7. “Something So Right” – Miss Piggy, Kermit, Celine Dion, and The Muppets
If this song doesn’t nab Muppets Most Wanted an Oscar-nomination, I will be shocked. This is the epic, show-stopping ballad that Miss Piggy deserves. It is undoubtedly one of her best numbers. Eric Jacobson sounds so perfect as Piggy that it’s almost unreal. The inclusion of Celine Dion is spectacular and pitch perfect, as well as the vocal appearances from a slew of other Muppets. The whole song just builds and builds until it explodes into something beautiful. I adore it. Start cleaning some shelf space, Mr. McKenzie. Favorite lyric: “How can something so right feel so wrong inside?/How can something so good leave me feeling so bad?/How come my dreams coming true leaves me lonely and blue?”
8. “Working in the Coal Mine” – Jemaine Clement
I honestly thought this was an original song for the longest time… thanks to ToughPigs’ Joe Hennes and Matt Wilkie for correcting me. I love this version of the ever popular classic “Working in the Coal Mine.” The other half of Flight of the Conchords, Jemaine Clement, leads the vocals on this one and he’s a lot of fun. There’s not much to say about this song other than it always gets stuck in my head when I’m heading to work.
9. “Together Again” – The Muppets feat. Josh Groban
I love the way that Muppets Most Wanted ends. I love the twist put on “Together Again” for the film. I love that the track opens with Kermit first, Piggy second, Fozzie third just like in the original song. I love the Russian-fueled musical interlude. I love it all.
10. “Moves Like Jagger” – Scooter and the Penguins feat. Pepe the King Prawn
This is probably going to be the most divisive track on the album (until Macarena comes on), but I really enjoy it. I love hearing David Rudman get to sing as Scooter, because he really nails that character. It is an odd choice of song for Scooter to sing, but for some reason I think it works. Plus, penguins. Also, Pepe, who doesn’t sing the song in the film but has a fantastic section on this track. Gotta love that prawn.
11. “Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)” – Miss Piggy and the Flamingos
I’m not sure who the Bayside Boys are, nor why they’re remixing the song, but whatever. This is my least favorite track but I still give it a listen every few go-arounds on the album. Piggy sounds great, but the flamingos are the stars. Voiced by Bill Barretta and Peter Linz, the flamingos are bubbly and weird and fun.
Well there you have it! Rumor has it some bonus tracks from the album will be made available at some point… but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I adore this soundtrack and I will be listening to it on repeat for at least another few days. Huge kudos to Bret McKenzie for the original songs and major, major congratulations to the Muppet performers for executing all of the songs brilliantly and perfectly. They already have a space in my heart and a firm sticking in my head. Well done.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org