Weekend Download Recommendations: The Music Of The Muppets

By Jessica Grabert 2011-11-28 08:24:19
The Jason Segal-written The Muppets has garnered a lot of attention over the past few weeks. It’s been doing admirably at the box office and scoring some wonderful reviews. It’s also spawned a whole slew of retrospective lists, adding to the fun. If you’re looking to read about the jivest Muppets, you’re in the wrong place. But if you are into some mothermuppet music, this Weekend Download Recommendations is the editorial for you.

This Weekend Downloads Recommendations celebrates some of the tracks and covers that have made the Muppets memorable. We’ll celebrate some sad and some poignant, some overblown and overtly vivacious tracks. As a prerequisite, I would like to point out only Muppet videos will be included, here. We’re talking full blown Muppet movies Muppets, so poor Elmo’s great little songs are unfortunately nixed. Secondly, I know there was some great stuff with live guest stars over the years, -especially on The Muppet Show - but sometimes it seems like the prowess of the star kind of overrides the intention of the track. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles this weekend. To those little felt fuckers: may you never be overdone and may you always have a soft spot in out hearts.

Without further ado, here are some Muppet covers to get us through the week. If I missed one you feel deserves some merit, feel free to add it to the comments, below.

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Songs

Floyd Pepper “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
The Muppet Show has done a lot of Beatles covers, but none are as haunting as Floyd Pepper’s rendition of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Not only is Pepper hanging out on the fire escape in a semi-copycat of Audrey Hepburn doing “Moon River” in My Fair Lady, but he also gets some back-up to his acoustics with the piano player silhouette. Sure, this is not Pepper’s finest moment as a puppet – the puppet master wasn’t doing too well with the guitar playing movements – but, when the camera pans out, it’s close-to-perfect.

Robin the Frog “Halfway Down The Stairs”
Yes, there’s a strange Amy Lee cover of Robin’s track. Even if her electronic goth glam viewpoint is your thing, you have to admit Robin’s somber, simple original is top notch. I’ve never seen a song capture uninformed melancholy so well. I don’t know if that was the A.A. Milne’s intention while writing the poem “Halfway Down The Stairs Is Based On,” but I do know Robin manages to inspire a feeling in me that was very nearly lost.

The Muppets “Bohemian Rhapsody”
The Muppet’s version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is certainly the best use of most of the cast members I’ve ever seen. More important is the fact that the changes made to the lyrics and to the cadence of the song to suit each individual Muppet character is impressive. The great test of a song is its ability to be listened over and over again. Even on loop, “Bohemian Rhapsody” never gets old. Even better: it never gets stuck (unwanted) in your head.

Scooter and Electric Mayhem “Mr. Bassman”
Scooter may have only had a few moments to shine in musical numbers, but “Mr. Bassman” is the crème de la crème of his performances. Who knew Scooter had such great a-yi-yi’s in him? Who knew he’d be such a good foil for Floyd Pepper. Somehow it all works. Even without Dr. Teeth’s big gold mouth nugget to back up the band in this round, The Electric Mayhem and Scooter pull through for one of the more memorable performances, ever. Who needs a golden tooth when Floyd is able to play the bass line with his mouth?

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Albums

The Muppets The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas
There’s nothing about The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas that screams ‘purchase me immediately.’ However, it is the holiday season, and, upon further inquiry, one might realize two things. First, for every super creepy song like Miss Piggy’s “Santa Baby,” there’s a song like “Christmas Smorgasbord” by Swedish Chef. Secondly, the album is only $5 over at Amazon, plus, if this whole album thing isn’t working for you, you can always nab the best of the best songs. You may have 99 problems, but I’d hate for a Muppet song to be one.

The Muppets The Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Recording The Music in The Muppet Movie could have stolen all four of the song spots above. It inspires such a rainbow connection, I hoped that something better would come along. Luckily, there’s an album section. If you ever wondered what Fozzie thought about America or whether Animal would come back, The Muppet Movie holds all answers. If you weren’t thinking you were going to go back there someday, the record did win a Grammy, lending the whole album a little more credence. Can you picture that?

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Video

“Coconut”
It’s not the song that necessarily works here, but more the song in combination with video…

Missing "Mahna Mahna" and other tracks? Check out Eric's favorite moments from The Muppet Show.
discussion
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