REVIEW: “Muppets: The Green Album”

Various Artists / Muppets: The Green Album / Disney

The Muppets hits theatres this November and publicity for the film, the first theatrical release from the puppets in over a decade, is well under way including The Green Album, a collection of classic Muppets songs from their movies and the old TV show that ran from 1976-1981. On the album are some of the bigger names in pop and alternative rock including bands such as Weezer, OK Go and My Morning Jacket and singers Amy Lee and Andrew Bird. The star power on hand would be enough to silence most critics (not Statler and Waldorf) but, looking at the selections they’ve made from the Muppets’ extensive back catalogue, the track list leaves a lot to be desired. The two most important Muppets tracks of them all, the show’s theme song and “Bein’ Green” — which Kermit performed at Jim Henson’s funeral, are both present as their absence from this disc would have made waves across all of Muppet fandom. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are also given their due on the track “Mr. Bassman”, however, the songs chosen seem to be skewed improperly on the side of ballads, and of those, ballads sung by really obscure characters.

Robin The Frog’s touching soliloquy about the step halfway down the stairs is given a trip-hop treatment by Amy Lee. “Our World”, which was originally sung by Alice Otter in Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas, is given a barren, country treatment by My Morning Jacket. Sure we all remember the Muppets for their heart as well as their antics, but, seriously, what about all the songs that had Animal bashing on the drums? Or Rowlf tickling the keys? And besides that, are Robin or Alice going to be in this new movie? Even peripherally? There’s doubt, which makes the inclusion of these songs all the more peculiar. Some upbeat classics like “Mahna Mahna” and “Movin’ Right Along” are given faithful tributes, but they ought to have been alongside a few others instead of some worthy snubs including the frantic and fun “Windmills Of My Mind” and the spooky “Marley And Marley” from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Download: “Mahna Mahna”, “Movin’ Right Along”

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