Muppets Most Wanted came out in theaters a week ago today (on April 21, 2014). Have you seen the film yet? If not, what are you waiting for? LOL! It’s a fun film.
One of the things I really like about this film is the soundtrack. The songs are a lot of fun and very “catchy”. I’ve had a few of the songs stuck in my mind over and over again.
I have the soundtrack for the film and I’ve already listened to it more than a dozen times. I even have some of the songs on my iPhone so I can listen to them when I’m out and about.
My kids thought I was nuts (you’ve got to love teenagers) but after they heard a few of the songs being played over and over again they started to like them too.
While I was out in LA a week weeks ago the blogger group I was with had the opportunity to interview Brett McKenzie. Brett is the song writer who wrote some of the songs for Muppets Most Wanted. He also wrote songs for the Muppet Movie that came out on 2011 and he wrote a lot of songs for the series Flight of the Conchords, which he also stared in and was directed by Muppets Most Wanted Director James Bobin.
Here is some highlights from the interview.
Q: While working on the music for this film did you have any pressure to try to meet that kind of standard again? (This is referring to his song Man or Muppet which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song from the Muppet Movie).
Brett: Yeah I was, obviously yeah there was a lot of pressure because of the Oscar, but really what could I do? There is always going to be downhill. I mean I was appreciative but then I had to get on with the job and just, you know, forget about that. I didn’t work on the last Muppet film to win awards.
Q: Do you get any inspiration from Flight of the Conchords for your songs on the Muppets?
Brett: Those guys are a big influence on me. I mean, in some ways it’s the same sort of thing, writing comedy songs. I guess that’s where I learned how to write comedy songs. So I’m using the same techniques, yeah.
Q: What’s the process like for when you’re told like what kind of song, just the idea of the song but how do you get the ideas going in your head and you don’t write lyrics first, the music first?
Brett: They send me a script with the idea of a song… but it’s usually quite a loose idea. For example the ballad was originally called “Love Ain’t Easy,” and it was a Piggy ballad. And first of all I was nervous because Piggy is a great character, a great comedic character, but not a great singer, and I was worried about her carrying an emotional ballad because there’s only so much of her voice that the audience, I think, wants to hear. Thirty seconds is great, then a couple of minutes you’re really start being a bit painful. So I suggested we try and get a singer to help her and we were really excited when Celine Dion agreed.
I would write the song and then adapt it for the characters and go to James Bobin and play it to him. One of the stranger experiences on the job is I go to the Disney offices to play the songs to them. I sit at the piano and I say “This is Miss Piggy’s ballad,” and I’d sit down in this room with all these suits, these Hollywood suits, and I would go, so Miss Piggy, she turns to the camera and she starts doing like this, [IMPERSONATES MISS PIGGY IN HIGH-PITCHED SINGING VOICE] “How can something so right, be so…” Literally a crazy job but kind of fun. I can do all those Muppet voices.
Sometimes you get a someone like Tina Fey who got the role of prison guard and I always wanted to do this doo wop song in there and then I started working with her and I adjusted the song to suit her voice because it was the wrong pitch and we kind of worked together to find out what her strengths are and where her voice sits. That’s one of the benefits of being the songwriter and producer of the songs. If it’s not working I can just change the song.
Q: Do you have a favorite song from this film that you wrote?
Brett – I do like “I’ll Get You What You Want” (Cockatoo and Malibu) which is the bad frog (Constantine) trying to woo Miss Piggy.
It kind of comes out of left field and it’s a genre that I really love, that kind of early ’80s Lionel Richie/Michael McDonald/Doobie Brothers sound. It was kind of fun to make a Russian frog sing like as Michael McDonald.
Q: When you have writer’s block what do you refer to for inspiration?
Brett – YouTube. It’s kind of fun writing songs in the studio. We can look through (referencing YouTube) because there’s such a great history of recorded music now. You can look at ’70s and ’80s songs. And power ballads. I’m a real sucker for power ballads.
Q: If you could be a Muppet, which Muppet would you be?
Brett – I would probably be one of the two old guys (Statler and Waldorf) because they get a lot of the best jokes. It’s between them and Animal. Animal’s great.
Swedish Chef is a guaranteed laugh at home. If I do a Swedish Chef impression, I mean no matter what the situation, trying to get kids to finish dinner, they’re, it, something about Swedish Chef, you know, [IMITATES SWEDISH CHEF] Snoop du beshdabeers. [LAUGHS] . Everyone can do a Swedish Chef, and the kids just love that character.
This was a fun interview. He made a good point about Miss Piggy. I love her and all but listening to her sing a power ballad for too long probably would have got annoying. LOL!
The songs are great. I’m not just saying that. I truly mean it. I wouldn’t download them on to my cellphone if they weren’t.
My favorite song is I’ll Get You What You Want” (Cockatoo and Malibu).
… I can give you anything you want
Give you anything you need
I’ll make your dreams come true
Give you anything you want
Fulfill your fantasies
I’ll make your dreams come true
You wanna unicorn, I’ll give it to you
You wanna puppy dog, I’ll give it to you
You want an ice cream cone, I’ll give it you
You want a mortgage loan, I’ll give it to you
You wanna satin pillow, I’ll give it to you
You want an armadillo, I’ll give it to you
You wanna diamond ring, I’ll give it to you
You wanna a thingy thing, I’ll give it to you…
The scene where Constantine sings this song to Miss Piggy is also funny.
Other memorable songs are “I’m Number One” (I didn’t know Ricky Gervais used to be a pop star in the UK!), “The Big House” (Who knew Tina Fey could sing – and with a Russian accent too) and “Answer Some Questions/Interrogation Song” (Hear Modern Family star Ty Burell sing with a heavy French accent).
It’s a fun soundtrack. The best thing about it is that it’s music the whole family can enjoy, not just kids. This would be a great CD to pop in on a long car ride. I could see the whole family singing along to the songs.
The entire soundtrack is available for download on iTunes, as well as select songs. You can also buy the soundtrack at Amazon or other retail locations.
For more information about the film visit www.Disney.com/Muppets. You can also check out the film on the various social media sites;
Miss Piggy on Twitter
In addition you can see what other bloggers have to say about the film by checking out the hashtag #MuppetsMostWantedEvent.
If you saw the film already, what was your favorite song? I would love to hear your thoughts.
*I was not compensated for this post. I am posting this for the enjoyment of my site readers. I did attend screenings of the film but there was no compensation involved (only travel expenses).