In 2009 Disney released the newest in their line of animation films. While P&F stood as a solid film both critically and financially, the film was largely overshadowed by Pixar's Up come Oscar time. The music itself was also snubbed by one of the songs from Crazy Heart
. It was a shame too, considering this was a very good effort from Randy Newman
songwise. While the score also lost to Up, it was heavily undershadowed by both Horner's Avatar score and Giacchino's Up score, each of these far superior.
To start the review off, I'll focus on one of Newman's strong suits. Songwriting. The opening song(s) make up "Down In New Orleans
and manage to capture the feeling of old fashioned Louisiana perfectly. "Almost There" and "Ma Belle Evangeline" both offer a sweet and fun medley that definitely captures Newman's likabble music (especially the beautiful trumpet part in Evangeline.) "Gonna Take You There", "Almost There", and "Finale" also have a fun Disney music feel to the. Now, to mention both of the soundtrack's top numbers, are "Friends on the Other Side" and "Dig a Little Deeper." Friends has a great villain beat while the gospel choir in Dig will have you dancing at wherever you are listening to this music. Unrelated is NeYo's "Never Knew I Needed", a nice but unnecessary song. Randy Newman
's score is a nice addition to the soundtack, and makes up the following 20+ minutes on the album. The music has a nice flow, with gentle trumpets and even a good use of the banjo. The thing about P&F's score is that iit serves the purpose of the film very well but as a stand alone, falls a little short of some of Newman's other works. To give him credit, however, he manages to capture something magical in context of the film. The best instance of this is in the track "This is Gonna Be Good" which definitely is one of the best pieces of music for an animated film.
Overall, if you are a Disney enthusiast/musical collector or if you enjoy Newman's style of composing I would highly recommend this. If you are one of those who dislike Newman's all-too-similar style of music that transcends through each of his scores, you might find yourself surprised by the songs on the album but may dislike the score. If you have kids this is a must have. Truthfully, Newman has managed to capture a beautiful element of music and infused it with some of Disney's best songs.
Read other recent reviews by Jason FLZ: Man of Steel
, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
, The Thing