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Friday, November 24, 2006

CD REVIEW - Happy Feet

Happy Feet
John Powell & Various Artists
Warner Sunset/Atlantic 83998-2 (U.S.)
13 Tracks 47:53 mins

Composer John Powell's involvement in this project apparently goes back four years when he got the call for two George Miller projects. The first, Mad Max 4 has so far failed to materialise, but the second, an animated musical involving Emperor Penguins, Happy Feet, went ahead, and Powell, as well as composing the score for the film, found himself heavily involved as musical producer/director, arranging many of the songs, familiar and not so, used in the film.
This album concentrates largely on the songs and they are a diverse mix of styles, from artists like Prince, Pink, Patti LaBelle, The Beach Boys, Chrissie Hynde, k.d. lang, and from the acting world, Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. Even the most familiar songs get quite different twists from Powell, but as songs are not really what I'm here to review, I'll concentrate on the one score track, which rounds off the album in some style, a near 6-minute compilation of moments that really whet the appetite to hear more.
It's a highly enjoyable track, which races through a variety of styles and features, at its height, an 80-piece Australian orchestra and no less than 600 piece choir. Surely that must be some kind of record? Anyway, I'm certainly glad to hear that there will be a score release on Atlantic next month, and hope that the good people at Costa Communications can arrange a review copy for me - so watch this space!
In the meantime, if you want to learn the full story of Powell's involvement in Happy Feet, plus hear his views on other recent work, go to, where there is quite an extensive interview with him.


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