19 October 2009

BLOGTOBER 2009: Music Reviews (13 of 22) Karen O and the Kids, Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack

Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, has put together a bunch of original songs to go along with the recently released Spike Jonze adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.

At first blush, it seems as odd of a choice as Spike doing the film in the first place, and looking for music that stands on its own outside of the context of a kids movie is also something that seems like a bad idea.

In this case, though, it's not. The tracks created are interesting, varied, and are enjoyable as songs in of themselves. I think the constraint of trying to fit her style into this context has actually helped Karen O's performance and musical instincts. Her singing is sweeter, less affected than what you find on any Yeah Yeah Yeahs' album, and while the same 'indie' spirit is evident to the arrangements, the melodies are generally more emotionally connected than her other work (and I say that as a fan, they are great at what they do, but there is a coolness and an overtly mannered disaffected pose at work with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that isn't present here).

The main theme, All Is Love, is a standout track, as is the quieter more contemplative, Hideaway, and the song Animal hits the right rumpus-y tone, without going too far crazy with it.

There's a twanginess to Karen's vocal delivery that suggests she has an amazing rootsy/rockabilly country album in her should she ever decide to go in that direction for an album or two.

So, even if the idea of turning Sendak's short (and narratively extremely simple) children's book into a completely different Hollywood film appalls you, you shouldn't let that keep you from checking out the soundtrack.

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