I don’t write a lot about music here, with good reason. I don’t really know an awful lot about music. Oh, I listen to music, I enjoy music, but I don’t really have the knowledge of it that I do about comic books or movies. I can tell you from memory the function of each individual color of Kryptonite, but I can’t tell you what album some of my favorite songs come from… even if I own the album. But I know what I like. And I like The Green Album.
Being a lifelong Muppet fan, I’m always excited when there’s a new product starring Kermit and company. (Seriously, people, cannot wait for the movie.) Getting The Green Album was not a hard choice for me: 12 contemporary musicians doing cover songs of some of the Muppets’ greatest hits. And even though I hadn’t heard of more than half of the acts on the album, my enthusiasm wasn’t diminished in the slightest.
Out of the 12 tracks on this album, 11 of them were really great. You can especially appreciate how so many of the acts were just having fun with the music. The Fray gives us a really funny cover of “Mahna Mahna,” for instance, followed by the Alkaline Trio doing some of Kermit and Fozzie’s classic shtick in “Movin’ Right Along,” and Sondre Lerche’s great, jazzy rendition of “Mr. Bassman.” Others simply applied their own style to the songs in question. Amy Lee’s version of Robin the Frog’s signature song “Halfway Down the Stairs” has her stamp all over it from the beginning, Brandon Saller of Atreyu and Billy Martin give us a really rocking version of Dr. Teeth’s”Night Life,” and Andrew Bird’s rendition of “Bein’ Green” is mellow and soothing.
As good as the whole album was, two tracks in particular stand out. “Rainbow Connection” is, to me, the song that encapsulates who the Muppets are and what they’re all about. The version done by Weezer and Hayley Williams is simply beautiful. Then Rachael Yamagata closes out the album with “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday,” perhaps my favorite Muppet song of all, and does so with a soulful voice that perfectly captures the tone of the piece.
And actually, I think that’s the reason the one track I didn’t care for falls flat. No matter how different the style of music is from the original, almost all of the songs capture the mood of the original, with the sad exception of the “Muppet Show Theme Song” by Ok Go. This strange, techno rendition of the classic theme just doesn’t seem to gel with the rest of the album. This one doesn’t feel like the Muppets, and that’s what kills it.
Still, 11 great songs makes for a good album. Muppet fans, pick this up.