Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the whole Muppet gang are back and ready for their felt-frenzied close-up, as Walt Disney Records is set to release the soundtrack to Disney’s “The Muppets,” the brand new big-screen adventure starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams and the beloved Muppets. Featuring songs written by Bret McKenzie (“Flight of the Conchords”), updated versions of Muppet classics and familiar hits given the Muppet treatment, the soundtrack arrives in stores and at online retailers Nov. 21, 2011. The film opens nationwide Nov. 23.
Bret McKenzie, who created, co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the hit HBO television series “Flight of the Conchords,” is the music supervisor, as well as the writer/producer of four original songs, including “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Let’s Talk About Me,” “Man or Muppet” and “Me Party.” McKenzie also produced “Pictures in My Head” and “Rainbow Connection.” Stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper join in the singing, as do special guests Feist, Mickey Rooney, Joanna Newsom, and the whistling skills of Andrew Bird.
“Music was always an integral part of the ‘The Muppet Show’ and Muppet films,” McKenzie said. “It’s hard to think of the Muppets without thinking of songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ or ‘Mah Na Mah Na.’ The Muppets don’t sound like anyone else and that’s what’s great about them. It was a huge honor to work on ‘The Muppets’ and I took the job very seriously, even when I was recording a man pretending to be a penguin.”
The Muppets turn in new renditions of “The Muppet Show Theme” (co-written by Jim Henson, the song opened and closed “The Muppet Show” for five seasons in the US and UK, from 1976-1981) the treasured Muppet classic and Academy Award ®-nominated “Rainbow Connection,” (penned by Oscar®-winning composer Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher) as well as the original 1969 version of “Mah Na Mah Na.” The felt gloves come off in new Muppet interpretations of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Also included are the original versions of Paul Simon’s 1972 hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and Starship’s 1985 chart-topper “We Built This City.” The album also features 15 dialogue interstitials from the film.
The following is a complete song list:
- “The Muppet Show Theme” – Performed by The Muppets, this is an updated version of the theme beloved for decades. The song also includes a special appearance by Joanna Newsom.
- “Life’s a Happy Song” – Sung by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter the Muppet, this is one of the key tracks in the score that onscreen grows from a simple tune to an epic production number, “I wrote this in New Zealand when I was in a particularly good mood,” says McKenzie. “I sat down at the piano and it came out very quickly.” The song also features special appearances by Feist and Mickey Rooney.
- “Pictures in My Head” – Kermit the Frog takes a solo turn in this sweetly humorous ballad, in which he remembers only the good stuff about his glory days with his fellow Muppets.
- “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” – Paul Simon’s immortal hit from his 1972 self-titled solo album, is a song that perfectly captures the spirited fun of the film.
- “Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version)” – Written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher, this is perhaps the best-known, best-loved Muppets song of all time. Here it is utterly twisted up by The Moopets (Fozzie Bear’s tribute band to the original Muppets).
- “We Built This City” – Starship’s #1 smash hit from 1985 makes the perfect backdrop as the Muppets strive to save their studio.
- “Me Party” – Destined to become a classic, Miss Piggy and Amy Adams team up for this upbeat, disco diva throw down. McKenzie calls it “A party song for the lonely. Amy Adams did a great job, though Miss Piggy was predictably difficult to work with, I think she was dealing with some personal issues.”
- “Let’s Talk About Me” – One of the soundtrack’s most pleasant surprises is this die-hard hip-hop track, performed with charming malevolence by Chris Cooper (who portrays the film’s villain Tex Richman) and Nathan Pacheco. Said McKenzie, “Turns out that Chris Cooper is dangerous on the mic, and I’m predicting a Dre/Cooper collaboration in the not too distant future.”
- “Man or Muppet” – Performed by star Jason Segel and Walter, this power ballad is sung during one of the film’s emotional high points. Said songwriter McKenzie, “This was one of those songs that really needed a great vocal performance. Luckily, Jason and Muppeteer Peter Linz did an amazing job, coming up with epic vocal takes. Turns out Jason has a voice like Meatloaf’s.”
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – The Muppet Barbershop Quartet of Rowlf, Beaker, Link Hogthrob and Sam the Eagle, takes on the timeless Nirvana hit. Kurt Cobain probably never imagined his music could be Muppetized.
- “Forget You” – Wildly popular and often copied as Cee Lo Green’s classic may be, it’s guaranteed that no one has ever heard a clucked-up rendition like this one from Muppets Camilla and the Chickens.
- “Rainbow Connection” – Here it is, the Oscar®-nominated ballad from “The Muppet Movie” (1979) sung by the beloved Muppet gang.
- “The Whistling Caruso” – Noted whistling virtuoso Andrew Bird puckers his way through this delightful, wordless interlude, performed in the film by Walter.
- “Life’s a Happy Song Finale” – The entire cast teams up for a reprise of the opening number, in a joyous finale that audiences will not soon forget. Shooting the scene shut down Hollywood Boulevard for two nights, and featured 80 dancers and 300 extras.
- “Mah Na Mah Na” – The memorable track from the original “The Muppet Show,” performed by Mahna Mahna and The Snowths.
On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage a telethon and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. With a screenplay by Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller, the film is directed by James Bobin. Featuring signature celebrity cameos, Disney’s “The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.
Disney’s The Muppets soundtrack will be available wherever music is sold on Nov. 21, 2011. A 5-song audio medley (“The Muppet Show Theme,” “Forget You,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Life’s A Happy Song” and “Pictures in My Head”) will debut Friday, Nov. 18 at billboard.com/muppets. The album is available for pre-order at iTunes at the following url: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPreorder?id=474335293&s=143441and at Amazon.com, http://amzn.to/n0CsrG. For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, please visit Disney.com/music, become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusic or follow us at Twitter.com/disneymusic.
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