By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: “The Muppets” soundtrack rarely leaves the CD player in our house. My boys, ages 7 and 3, adore the movie’s catchy tunes, from the opening number of “Life’s a Happy Song” to the sentimental “Man or Muppet.” My youngest repeats Fozzie’s line “I didn’t do it, I’ve been framed” ad nauseam, which is cute, until it drives you a little crazy.
For that, I must blame Bret McKenzie, one half of the famed “Flight of the Conchords” duo who served as Music Supervisor on James Bobin’s winning Muppet reboot. McKenzie penned a number of the movie’s signature songs, from “Me Party” –a self-righteous duet between Amy Adams and Miss Piggy – to the Chris Copper rap “Let’s Talk About Me.”
Now McKenzie’s catchy tunes are catching the eye of year-end award voters. The Broadcast Film Critics Association filled three of its five Best Song nominations with “Muppets” tracks. The Satellite Awards also recognized “Man or Muppet” and the cheery “Life’s a Happy Song.”
Will the Academy follow their lead? It’s one of the topics McKenzie and I discussed during a recent interview:
HollywoodNews.com: The original “Muppets” television program balanced a fine line between adult and adolescent humor. When writing the songs for “Muppets,” were you thinking of kids or their parents?
Bret McKenzie: Yeah, no, I totally agree. I watched a lot of the original films and TV shows, and I was really amazed at how funny they are, how they completely hold up. I think that was part of Jim Henson’s secret. He made children’s entertainment that was also funny for adults. He didn’t second guess or patronize children. And I think we took that approach to the film. We wanted to make a film that we’d like to watch, and I think kids like to watch it as well.
In that sense, the songs in the film will appeal to adults. All we had to do was make sure that the songs stayed clean. I was tempted to have some “motherfrogger” lines in there.
HollywoodNews.com: Well, you know, I’m glad you didn’t. The film is such a throwback to a time of wholesome family entertainment, and I don’t think that kind of walk-the-line humor of “Shrek” wouldn’t fit with “The Muppets.”
Oh yeah, I totally agree.
HollywoodNews.com: The songs are technically proficient and yet surprisingly simple. The yare effervescent. Did they come easily to you?
“Life’s a Happy [...]