I've also been to the awesome Tim Burton museum exhibit, and drooled a little over the hundred and some-odd Jack clay heads on display. I don't necessarily want to work in film for the rest of my life, but Tim Burton's on my list of people I'd love to work with at some point down the road. He's brilliant and creepy and amazing.
Naturally then, I know every word to every moment in the movie, and even imitate the delightful little creatures' voices as they sing. It's loads of fun for me. =) From October to December gives me the perfect excuse to watch it multiple times (only like... 4 or so these past few months?) and to listen to this soundtrack. Tonight though, we're going to take a look at a new spin on the classic numbers, Nightmare Revisited. Yes, this movie is a cult classic at this point, and there's an entire culture behind it.
On this album, 20 devoted fans/artists gave their own spin to the songs from the movie, including Mr. Danny Elfman (composer) himself, who provides opening and closing tracks to add to his already wonderful work. This was released in 2008, 15 years after the 1993 film release. Every single number is covered, so let's get into it. I'm going to provide as many videos as possible in this special edition, so I hope you're ready for a ride!!
Let's hit the track-by-track!
Devotchka kicks things off with their take on the "Overture," as any good show should. We get our carnival band warming up and getting to work, with a taste of what's to come. Lots of accordion in this one.
Danny Elfman's first contribution comes in next, with the "Opening," complete with crazy creepy voice over. It almost reminds me of a demo version of what was to come in the movie. It provides a great mood setting track and we're excited to see what's about to go down when "two holidays met by mistake."
And here we go. Marilyn Manson with "This Is Halloween," which had actually been released two years prior to this release because sometimes his freakishness pays off. I love his take on this - it's perfect and could have just as easily been in the film itself, but is different enough to earn a spot on this album. Quick note here - two years prior, some tracks had been released as a bonus disc for the reissue of the movie soundtrack. Panic! At The Disco covered this on that one, and it's also amazinggggg. Now, for a rarity, I'm going to give y'all a treat - I've found synced videos for both!! Compare and let me know what you think!
"Jack's Lament" is one of my favorite songs in the entire film. It's torturous and beautiful all at once. Yes, I realize I'm a little twisted - thanks! ^_^ While The All-American Rejects take a nice shot at it, they just can't capture the actual LAMENT part of the lament. The voice is too high-pitched. It's just not fitting. To show you what I mean, here's a pretty well-synced video I found to the movie with this version. Let me know your thoughts:
"Doctor Finkelstein/In The Forest" is next, taken on by amiina, a group I've never heard of. Regardless, it's very well done. Again, completely fitting of what we've come to see this film as, but with enough modern difference that you know there's a newness to the album. It's a totally trippy instrumental track.
"What's This?" (where Jack discovers ChristmasTown) is taken on by FlyLeaf. On the 1996 release of the soundtrack with those bonus tracks was Fall Out Boy's version of this same song. Now, personally, I find each to have awesome qualities. FlyLeaf puts this haunting quality to it with her dragging female voice that seems insanely appropriate for the dark nature of this film (I would love to cover this version). However, Fall Out Boy provides this incredible version as well, a little more up-beat and providing the irony the song kind of desires. I think the female voice on the first video seems a little off, but the transition from the opening into FlyLeaf is AMAZING on yet again, another video comparison for y'all!!
Next up we've got The Polyphonic Spree (WHAT?) covering the town meeting song. Phew, okay, this is exhausting because it's so amazing and creepy. It drags a little much for me, considering the pace that's set in the movie. But seriously, it's completely different and completely appropriate all at once. I'm blown away by what they've managed to do with this number. I found a live video of it that I need to share with you guys and gals:
Okay... getting myself back together here. Next up is "Jack and Sally Montage" by the Vitamin String Quartet, known for their incredible covers and tributes to different bands (check out their Coldplay tribute - one of the best CDs I've EVER been given). This song's no exception. There are literally no words, but they speak to the emotions of two characters so many believe in love because of so well with just one group of instruments. I keep an instrumental playlist just for this reason, and you'd better believe this is going on it. I think it's hard to put a new spin on instrumental music without botching it up, but this is tastefully done. Bravo.
Sparklehorse takes on "Jack's Obsession" next, and I'm truly not a fan. Sally's whiney in nature, yes, but not necessarily in vocals. No need to make her so with this voice or an acoustic backing. No one wanted to envision Sally singing this apparently, because I can't find a video for this one. Good.
KoRn made their hiatus return with "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" on this album and I think it's fantastic. I like it so much more than the film version actually. Lock, Shock, and Barrel annoy the hell out of me. Jonathan Davis should have been casted instead. He brings a much more adult and appropriate sound to the track. YES it's entirely more evil sounding. And YES it works so much more. Here's a sweet synched video of it:
The Yoshida Brothers take on "Nabbed" and take us to... Asia? Seriously, this oriental feel is completely different than the entire movie and album. It's actually more fascinating than anything else. The voices aren't voices at all - they're flutes and pianos and whatever else works to tell the moment. This may be the most beautiful thing on the album altogether. It's got everything you could want in a piece of music - you NEED to check this out ASAP.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela is next with "Oogie Boogie's Song." This time, we get a Spanish beat which seems entirely out of place. In the first minute, I really don't recognize this as well as I should. I mean, don't get me wrong, this is a really gorgeous treatment and awesome track in it's own right. Album-wise though, this doesn't work, sorry.
Amy Lee (from Evanescence) takes on "Sally's Song," and yet again, I've heard this on the other album, instead done by Fiona Apple. Fiona is just sad in her version. Amy is haunting and loving, the way Sally should be. I need to give it to Amy this time. The song is equally sad, but there's more emotion to it in a different, non-depressing-as-all-hell fashion. I'm going to give you Fiona's version first, then Sally's. Let me know what you think:
Am I reading this right? There truly is something for everyone on here - RJD2 covers "Christmas Eve Montage" on this album. It's kickin', and I like it enough to sit through the whole thing. It's out of place, but a great cross-genre moment in music I think. Proof that this film reaches all!!
Plain White T's, famous for their adorable love songs ("1,2,3,4" is a personal light favorite), takes a twisty turn to cover "Poor Jack." Again, like the AAR, I love this band most of the time, but this voice is not in the right place here. It's trying too hard I think. I'd give you a video, but none properly synched to this song came up, so just take a listen and decide.
And I'm thrown for a loop yet again - Datarock is doing "To The Rescue," another, um, would you call this instrumental. Non-vocal, there we go. It's actually a pretty sweet rendition of the song; they have a style I would have never before considered for this kind of soundtrack. I wouldn't mind being at a show or club and hearing this, that's for sure. Again though, obsessed, right here.
Shiny Toy Guns gives us the "Finale/Reprise" and takes everything back to that super creepy place. I swear they mixed all the songs from the album into this. That or I'm just missing Jonathan Davis too much and hearing him in the "La"s. It's a very interesting and there's actually a more mellow turn of the music with a very nicely done closing. I'm impressed!! It also sings my favorite part of the movie with a voice I like better than Sally's herself (at about 1:30 in until the end) - sorry for the poor quality:
The "End Title" is done by The Autumn Leaf. It actually dreadfully slow and creepy, perfect for the movie, but not as wonderful for me to close the album out with. I don't hate it, but it's a lullaby, not a closing theme.
Oh but wait! Tiger Army gives us a bonus track - a sweet little bluesy/rock number version of "Oogie Boogie's Song"! It's swing! It's fantastic! And I really was terribly scared of Oogie when I was little, lol. I wish I liked the song itself better, but I love their interpretation. I wish I could hear them do the rest of the album actually, in this style. Nice close out.
- "This Is Halloween" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Doctor Finkelstein/In The Forest" - Spotify, YouTube
- "What's This" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Town Meeting Song" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Jack and Sally Montage" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Kidnap the Sandy Clause" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Making Christmas" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Nabbed" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Sally's Song" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Finale/Reprise" - Spotify, YouTube
I really liked hearing different version of these songs and different styles taking on the film. Like I said, cult classic, and someone everywhere loves it, no matter their style. This album speaks to that nicely, giving something for absolutely everyone.
There's probably enough videos on YouTube that you could watch the whole movie to this soundtrack. If you do, well, I'm probably there with popcorn. This was a great experience, and I want more. Please artists of the world - do more of these songs!!
Share your final Christmas thoughts below!!! Merry Christmas and Goodnight!