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Monday, January 04, 2010


The Princess and the Frog
Music by Randy Newman
Walt Disney Records 456 7492 (EU)
17 Tracks

In these days of computer animated films, it's good to know that one can still find a few 2-D animations around, and of course who does one most associate with quality animated features, but good old Walt Disney. Their latest offering, The Princess and the Frog, from the creators of The Little mermaid and Aladdin, opens in UK cinemas on 5th February, with the soundtrack album released a few days earlier on the 1st. The music is composed by Disney regular Randy Newman and, with the film set in New Orleans, could there really have been a better choice? After all, one of Newman's first original scores was for Ragtime and he has oft proved he has a natural flair for jazz.
The soundtrack album features ten original songs featured in the film, most written by Newman and largely performed by the film's voice cast. One however, "Never Knew I Needed," performed by Ne-Yo, is not the work of the composer and sadly it shows, being totally at odds with the rest of the album. Fortunately it is the lead track on the album, so can be quickly skipped over. The Newman songs mix jazz with zydeco, blues and gospel, and are a pretty catchy bunch all told; whilst his instrumentals, which make up the final seven tracks, perfectly compliment the songs, utilising their melodies here and there.
"Fairy Tale/Going Home" is for the most part light and tentative, with an instrumental reprise of the ballad "Ma Belle Evangeline" to finish. "I Know This Story" is another understated track, but is followed by the slightly livelier "The Frog Hunters/Gator Down," which ends with a traditional-styled tango. "Tiana's Bad Dream" opens with an airy waltz, but takes a somewhat sad turn before becoming strident and menacing. An airy instrumental variation on the aforementioned ballad opens "Ray Laid Low," before a brief vocal reprise of "Almost There" leads to a jazzy source instrumental closer. "Ray/Mama Odie" is again a little understated, but movies along jauntily throughout; with "This is Gonna Be Good" closing the album in celebratory fashion.
The disc is enhanced and if loaded on to your PC should enable you to access bonus interview footage, an image gallery, and the music video for that awful opening song. I say should, because I couldn't access it on my copy, no matter how I tried.
Accompanying the disc is a colourful booklet, featuring stills from the film, plus lyrics to all the songs and full musical credits.


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