By Amy Price
What if Karen O, Passion Pit, The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons and Robert Smith got together and made an album. Wait, they did, sort of. Disney’s new Frankenweenie Unleashed album features the likes of some of my personal favorite artists of all time for the new Tim Burton animated black-and-white movie, “Frankenweenie.”
In my opinion, the 14-track album works in four basic parts — good, awful, good and awful.
Gracing me with her presence in the first song is Karen O, frontwoman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in a piece she wrote and sang, “Strange Love.” All the songs on the album have an obvious distinct theme: spookiness. What makes this track even creepier are the ukulele guitar riffs. I feel like I got invited to a Halloween-themed luau. Nevertheless, it is a cute song and delightful to listen to.
Track two is Mark Foster’s, front man of Foster the People, “Polartropic (You Don’t Understand Me)”. The upbeat tempo makes it a track listeners will not want to skip. I even caught myself singing the chorus, “You don’t understand me.”
The following track, “Almost There,” performed by Passion Pit, was my favorite on the album. This is the only song that did not seem married to the childlike Disney element. The ‘80s-sounding synth works well for the song, but is also a familiar staple in Passion Pits music.
Many of the songs on Frankenweenie Unleashed do not reflect the usual sound of the artist’s music. This is probably for two reasons: one, it is a Disney movie, and two, the Halloween-like bizarre Frankenstein theme.
Next comes part two — the awful. It is a true shame that The Plain White T’s were given the go-ahead to cover the classic Ramones song “Pet Cemetery.” It is a little comical and ironic in a morbid way, because the song was a tribute to the Stephen King horror novel “Pet Sematary,” and now it is being used for a children’s movie. In my personal opinion, no one should be covering the Ramones, and especially not The Plain White T’s.
Earlier this year, AWOLNATION’s hit song “Sail” jump-started the band in to stardom. I was interested to hear its song “Everybody’s Got a Secret,” but it was too noisy and overly repetitive. However, it was a relief to not hear “sail” being yelled at me every verse.
The only saving grace is the track “My Mechanical Friend” by Grace Potter featuring The Flaming Lips. Potter’s melodic and sultry voice and The Flaming Lips’slow, haunting music styling make for an enjoyable listen.
Now, back to the bad. Robert Smith’s (frontman of The Cure) song “Witchcraft” has a smoky, dark-lit lounge singer type feel. Unfortunately, it does not strike a chord with me. It is way too monotone and dull.
The last song, “Praise Be New Holland,” performed by Winona Ryder with music by famous composer Danny Elfman, is a more of a whimsical piece, clearly made for one of the main characters in “Frankenweenie,” played by Ryder. Her childlike, angelic voice is the only reason to listen to the 54-second song.
I have to remind myself that this is a Disney movie, and the soundtrack reflects this children’s move element in every way. A review on www.underthegunreview.net stated: “Frankenweenie Unleashed is a stellar and involving collection of tracks, beautifully detailed and tailored to match the film’s storyline.” I agree, and was more impressed that Disney was able to compile such a great arrangement of amazing artists on the album, but wish the music had been a bit better.