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Music Review: Muppets: The Green Album
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By Doug Wortel

MuppetsMuppets: The Green Album
Various Artists
CD | MP3
Walt Disney Records
Release date: August 23, 2011

NPR is currently streaming the upcoming compilation album Muppets: The Green Album for free (you can listen to the entire album right here below). The album features many of today’s most popular artists covering classic Muppets tunes.

I generally stay clear of “tribute” albums or compilations where your new favorite bands are assembled like some kind of snotty superhero team. This is because the implied mission of these records is to teach us morons how cool people like Buddy Holly were. (See: Rave On. Actually, don’t.) And besides, for those of us who already enjoy the subjects being covered, you only want to put the originals on when these little smug-fests are over. I get it. You like Leonard Cohen. So do we.

However, Muppets: The Green Album is one of the more fun various artist collabs I’ve heard since that Carpenters joint from the nineties. Starting with The Ok Go’s wonderfully reworked version of the “Muppets Theme,” you’re immediately invited into a world where the narrative isn’t so “Hey, dum-dum! I know better than you!” Alkaline Trio’s “Movin’ Right Along” will have you tapping your toes at your cubicles. And The Fray have a great time with “Mahna Mahna.: Although, just about every performance is more optimistic than the next, My Morning Jacket runs away with the album with an absolutely gorgeous version of “Our World.”

The wonderful thing about The Green Album that sets it apart from those other records, besides the source material, is nearly every performer on this album sounds like they’re having a ball, which is exactly what any Jim Henson fan would want from a record like this. Every artist on the thing (even Weezer!) seemed to understand going in that these were magical songs the first time and they were to be treated kindly.

Now, The Green Album isn’t perfect. There are a couple of clunkers, but they aren’t worth mentioning by name because I suspect some of those will grow on me too. If you get a chance, you really should give The Green Album a listen because this is a record you’d want to have playing while cleaning up after the mess you and your sillier friends made the night before.

I give it a solid 8 out of 10.

I’m going to listen to it again right now.

Key Tracks:

Our World – My Morning Jacket
Mahna Mahna – The Fray
Being Green – Andrew Bird

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