Sometimes movie soundtracks are good to listen to, but only if you've seen the movie. Other times there are movie soundtracks that are much better than the movie they come from. The best movie soundtracks not only make the films they are a part of a better movie, but they can also stand alone upon themselves. Such is the case with SING-A-LONGS & LULLABIES FOR THE FILM CURIOUS GEORGE. Most of the music on this album was written and is performed by the great and magnificent Jack Johnson. Johnson has an unique way of writing music that is catchy and upbeat, full of hope and promise, but seeped in meaningful lyrics. I could listen to Jack Johnson play music all day long and not grow tired of it. G. Love, Matt Costa, and Ben Harper each contribute on one song on this album, but the rest is all Jack. Some of my favorites are:
"Upside Down"--this song broke onto contemporary and pop radio stations all around the country giving Jack Johnson more recognition than he ever had before.
"People Watching"--similar in style to other tunes on the album, but I like it because I like to people watch.
"The 3 R's"--this song reminds me of songs I heard from my childhood on SEASAME STREET and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.
This album was originally marketed towards children, but the music is so wonderful that it has quickly caught on with teenagers, college students, and adults. It truly is an album that everyone in the family can enjoy.
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Admit it: If you had to pick an artist to give voice to the wackadoo thinkings of a monkey beloved by most of the American populace over age 3, you could do a lot worse than Jack Johnson. Black Eyed Peas? Too hyper. Death Cab for Cutie? Too ironic. They Might Be Giants? Too eggheaded. Johnson, though the object of much rightful jealousy--here, after all, is a guy who only stumbled into music and vaulted himself up the charts after a successful career as a pro surfer--turns out to have the goods to do H.A. Rey, Curious George's creator, proud. Fans familiar with Johnson's earlier discs will recognize a certain laconic sprawl and easy fascination in his songs that suits the theme of perpetual puzzlement perfectly (here, let's not forget, is a guy who racked up fans with songs called "Bubble Toes" and "Banana Pancakes"). That the music takes a childish turn barely registers--songs like opener "Upside Down" are classic Johnson, all wonderment and groove, and the collaborations with friends Ben Harper, G. Love, and Matt Costa warm up, wink, and scamper off before packing on the weight of excess meaning. "We're Going to Be Friends," track seven, seals the deal--when you can make the White Stripes sound compatible with the Man with the Yellow Hat, you know you've got a multi-generational winner.--Tammy La Gorce