Muppets: The Green Album | Review
Indie rockers take on Muppets classics in this new compilation.
Clearly, 2011 aims to be the year of the Muppet Renaissance. With an intended return to silver-screen glory headed our way at Thanksgiving, the Muppet brand is busy rebuilding its once-stellar buzz. An early salvo in this campaign is the recently released Green Album, which should appeal to those of us who grew up with the iconic characters plus a younger generation that knows more about OK Go than Dr. Teeth.
This compilation disc features a current crop of indie rockers covering beloved tunes from Jim Henson and Company’s visionary vaults, such as Kermit’s signature ballad “Bein’ Green” (written by Joe Raposo all the way back in 1970, for the first season of Sesame Street) and several great tunes from The Muppet Movie. Bummer realization: The producers at Disney blew an obvious opportunity by not letting somebody—Vampire Weekend? Jack White? Anybody!—take a stab at “Can You Picture That?”
Releases like this are always part-hit, part-miss, and this one pretty much splits it down the middle. Normally we’d hope for a better average score, but when the hits include “Rainbow Connection” (by Weezer and Hayley Williams, whose duet adds a nice harmony to the traditional solo) and a psychedelic sheen on “The Muppet Show Theme Song” by OK Go, well, it’s hard to complain about the duds. That’s why your iPod has a skip button.
The ethereal Andrew Bird realizes he doesn’t need to do much with “Bein’ Green” besides sing it (he does add a welcome touch of violin and some signature whistling). Local outfit Alkaline Trio takes the keys to the ultimate road-trip theme, “Movin’ Right Along,” its blazing punk guitars nicely amplifying the original’s driving dug-a-dun beat. Finally, the most infectious tune is almost a cheat: “Mr. Bassman,” sung by Scooter and Floyd on the first season of The Muppet Show, is itself a cover of Johnny Cymbal’s 1960s hit. But Sondre Lerche has such a ball with the gotta-love-it ditty, we don’t care. In fact, we’re still singing along.