South Park is not a program renowned for shying away from trying to insult everyone and so anyone who expects to either hear a nice selection of musical songs or pop songs with nice lyrics is going to be in for something of a shock. I'm sure it'll have hundreds of parents up in arms at how Trey Parker and Matt Stone could inflict this filfth on the unsuspecting public. Well, don't buy the album. It does have appropriate warnings on the front. Fortunately, being the somewhat twisted individual that I so clearly am, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the first 12 songs. These basically form the musical aspect to the movie and add up to about 25 minutes of Canada, gay, black, Satan, Sadam Hussein and anything and everything bashing. Everyone who hears it is bound to find something offensive, although I don't mind being offended, it makes a change from all those pansying about politically correct types ducking the issue all the time and trying not to offend anyone. However, this is technically a soundtrack review and not a politcal tirade. It has to be said that the songs are, musically, extremely good. There are a few cheap shots and various famous musicals, Beauty and the Beast's opening number, Belle, is succesfully mimicked in Mountain Town, which is a kind of South Park travalogue as the lead characters (Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman) are introduced. It's a most effective opener and is fortunately saved from being suddenly cut off as happens in the film.
Uncle Fka is possibly the most blatently outrageous title I've ever heard and is one of the weakest and least interesting entries on the album. That having been said, it's still well produced with a fun almost dixie violin tune countering the vocals and cool choral arrangements in the background. In fact all of the songs are very well produced indeed, with the orchestral arrangements of a suitable musical ilk with just the lyrics giving the clue that this isn't just any old musical. It's Easy MmmmKay is a short moral message about how to avoid swearing, of course the lame attempt at irony being the fact that in order to teach this you need to repeat the swearing in question over and over. That being said, it's great fun and yet again superbly well produced. Blame Canada to my mind, veers kind of towards Randy Newman territory, a bit like Short People. If you actually listen to the lyrics, the characters are blaming Canada in the most stupid and outrageous way possible. Of course, this being South Park, the satire is far too blunt and lacking in subtlety, although it did make a good number to represent the film when it was performed by Robin Williams at the Oscars (they even left in 'bitch'... blimey).
Kyle's Mom's a Bitch hails from the original TV series, but this time expanded out for full orchestra. Like Uncle Fka, the song doesn't seem to have any purpose, but the curious, pseudo ethnic middle section is fun. I have no idea who Brian Boitano is and why he would do what the song says he would. However it seems to just place the man in question into many situations and what he'd done in them. Weird, perhaps it means more in the film? Probably not. If anyone knows how he is, please let me know. Up There is Satan yearning to move to Earth and going on about how unfair it is that he's stuck in Hell. More offensive in the context of the film than one might think listening to the album.
La Resistance takes an evil stab at the smash musical Les Miserables, which I thought was tedious beyond belief and so am happy it's been lampooned. It's a shame that this song is so short and performed so quickly. It really is quite excellent and one of my favourites. How can a song which has the line 'When Canada is dead and gone, there'll be no more Celine Dion' be bad?! Eyes of a Child has a little more satire which uses the premise that children are innocent and blasts it apart with a subtly that only befits South Park. I Can Change is just weird and is the only other song that I don't actually like much. I never realised Saddam Hussien had such a squeaky singing voice, it's amazing what you learn. I'm Super lampoons the curious belief that gay people are always happy (I have no idea where they got that idea from....). The reprise brings the opening number back for a quick rousing all cast finale version. A lovely ending. Or so you'd think. Sadly there are eight more songs and interpretations of songs. They're pretty much all risible with the only noteworthy being that this version of What Would Brian Boitano Do has an intro which sounds just like the theme from King of the Hill. Weird huh?
If you're offended easily, don't buy it and if you do buy it anyway, don't come bitching at my door. Be open minded, they're taking the piss out of things in song, I love it when people do that (to paraphrase Homer Simpson... sorry, wrong show). The arrangements can't be faulted, although the voices might annoy some people (and many people say that about Randy Newman, but you get used to it). It would be nice to have the lyrics (although having the sheet music means I can mostly work them out, mostly) just to work out everything since there are a few slightly unclear parts. It's a shame the final eight cues couldn't have been replaced with some of Marc Shaiman's playful score, however, listen to the first dozen, have fun and be insulted. Trey Parker just says stuff that most people are too tactful to say, but almost certainly think from time to time.