Soundtrack (Film)
Alvin and The Chipmunks


2.0
poor

Review

by Pedro B. USER (303 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2008 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 30% cute - 70% annoying and creepy.

I confess – I like the Chipmunks. I was a fan of the cartoon as a kid, and as I grew up, the anthropomorphic siblings did not lose their appeal for me. So as the world was pouring venom on Alvin and the Chipmunks, the movie, I was enjoying it for what it was: one of the best, most endearing and intelligent, and less formulaic kiddie movies of late. It also had some nice tunes scattered throughout, so when I came across the soundtrack I decided to give it a go. Boy, was I in for a letdown.

Now, for those of you not familiar with the Chipmunks, imagine, if you will: three anthropomorphic, fuzzy, 9-year-old forest creatures who can sing. For their voices, picture the effect you get when you gently press “fast forward” on a tape recorder with the tape playing inside. You know that Babel of fast-paced, squeaky voices you get coming out of the speakers? That’s the Chipmunks singing, except not quite as fast, and in tune. For all effects, a younger, less hyperkinetic, but just as mischievous version of Chip’n’Dale.

From the above description, I bet a Chipmunks album is sounding disastrous. But it’s not. The effect is actually endearing, and the animated trio have been entertaining generations of small children for decades. Now, the movie and its soundtrack seek to captivate today’s youth, like the cartoon did with their older siblings and parents. But it fails…big time.

Some of you may be familiar with the method used by Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian to create the voices of his cartoon trio. What he did was hire “normal” studio singers, record their voices, then use the exact process I described above: speed up the tapes, so that voices which were low, deep and singing very slowly became squeaky, high-pitched and sang in time with the music. In the movie, they did it differently. The movie versions of the songs feature the actual actors singing, and while only one of them is a rockstar – Jesse McCartney, who voices the effeminate Theodore – all three of them actually play it quite straight. The method used to “heliumize” their voices must have been different, too, but it’s also quite effective. The weak point, then, are the songs themselves.

You see, with his method, Bagdasarian managed to have at least one big hit among the kiddie crowd: the endearing and infectious Chipmunk Song, also known as Christmas Don’t Be Late. You know it – it’s the one about “a plane that loops the loop” and a hula-hoop and asking Christmas to “hurry fast”. For this new incarnation of AATC, the Hollywood execs must be praying that they can achieve the same level of success. However, I can’t see it happening anytime soon.

Whether in a bid for instant success or as a “tribute” to the series, the fact is that the producers made the right choice, and stuck to the source material. The Chipmunk Song is one of the 16 songs included in the Alvin and The Chipmunks soundtrack. Or rather, it’s three of them. The song appears in no less than three different versions, including the movie version, the classic version, and the “New Version” (otherwise known as the “rock version”). All three are standouts: the classic version is nostalgic and fun and the movie version brings a very waltzy arrangement and a hilarious outro (with a very game Jason Lee toning down three very excitable Chipmunks). However, the real gem here is the “new version”, a bouncy slab of Simple Plan power-pop with an awesome solo to top it off.

However, The Chipmunk Song (New Version) is not the only standout here. In fact, the album could be split into two halves. The first has the Chipmunks lending their cutesy voices to rock and pop standards. This is the half that includes the “New Version”, as well as renditions of Funkytown and Bad Day, both present in the movie. All the songs in this “standards” half are great, with particular mention to Bad Day, which just might be the best song on here. Both it and Follow Me are guitar-driven radio-pop tracks, and whereas the first one is entirely sung by Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the second one has them interacting with the “real” lead singer, something that did not happen in the movie, and that works only mildly well. Funkytown, while perhaps a tad obscure for the six-year-old crowd, is also well suited to the Chipmunks’ style, because the voices in the original version were already processed and high-pitched.

All in all, then, this album might have worked well as a seven- or eight-track EP, with the aforementioned songs, plus the modern and bonus, “classic” versions of The Chipmunk Song and Witch Doctor. The problem, then, is the “original” Chipmunks compositions.

You see, in the movie, the ‘Munks are supposed to be this hugely successful recording band, and they actually release and promote their debut album (I told you the movie was intelligent!). Therefore, the producers have deemed it appropriate to “pad out” this soundtrack record with the “filler” songs on Alvin and Co’s album. And guess what they are? That’s right – filler. The lot of them are nothing but drab, sub-par pop-rap/r’n’b outings, with the Chipmunks squaring off against processed beats and soulful female backing vocals. Some of these are bearable (Get You Goin’, How We Roll), but mostly they’re just annoying. And wait ‘til you see what they’ve done to Witch Doctor! They turned the silly, yet endearing, original – which some of you may have become familiarized with thanks to the cover made by German pseudo-band Cartoons - into just another over-processed slab of mediocre nu-r’n’b.

And did I mention some of the lyrics are creepy? Come Get It has a chorus of clearly adult females wooing about how they “want the Chipmunks” and advising their girl-friends to get with a Chipmunk if they “want a real man”, to which the singin’ rodents playfully reply, in their squeaky voices: “can we get you off?”. Now, this is just inappropriate! Isn’t this supposed to be a PG album? And aren’t the Chipmunks supposed to be, y’know, children!? And yet they’re gleefully singing their hearts out over these lyrics…really, I know most people don’t even register a song’s lyrics, but parents, of all people, should pay more attention to what their kids are being subject to. I mean, what’s the point of banishing videogames and then feeding this to your kids!? It teaches them a lot more than just how to chop a guy in half…and it’ll raise a whole lot of uncomfortable questions/snig'gers/remarks.

But before this turns into a rant, let me get back to what’s important…the music. Yeah, it’s crap. It sound like it was concocted by a sixth-tier Jay-Z and sung by his hand puppet pals, Mr. Jerk and Mr. Off. In short – it’s bad.

Just so you understand the extreme “boredom levels” most of the music on this album can induce, I’ve only listened to it all the way through twice – once after downloading it, and once to appraise it for the review. The rating, firmly etched in my mind from the first go-round, did not change.

And yet, this album is worth a spin (or a play on Winamp, whatever), if only because of its poppy standard versions. Nowadays, I tend to skip about, listen to the songs I like better and condemn all the rest to oblivion. You should, too.

Recommended Tracks
Bad Day
The Chipmunk Song
The Chipmunk Song (New Version)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
September 22nd 2008


44805 Comments


Chipmucks rule and the new movie with My Name Is Earl is kind of a guilty pelasure for me but Theodore is great. Good review, I haven't heard this yet but I want to.

ReturnToRock
September 22nd 2008


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

what the f*ck, the site censored the word "sniggers"!?

Balls, i would advise you NOT to listen to this. stick to the movie.

ReturnToRock
September 22nd 2008


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the word is SNIG-GERS!"

damn.

poweroftheweez
September 22nd 2008


1290 Comments


Haha. Great review. The movie was definitely aggravating. A couple moderately catchy tunes though.

P13
September 22nd 2008


1327 Comments


Jesus, does this album warrant such a long review?

bastard
September 22nd 2008


3435 Comments


This really isn't that long compared to some reviews on this site, so I have no clue why you are complaining.

BunionMan
September 22nd 2008


10 Comments


I honestly doubt you went into this expecting it to be good.

bastard
September 22nd 2008


3435 Comments


dude, the chipmonks rule, who doesn't expect it to be good?

good job with review man, have a pos.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 22nd 2008


15743 Comments


The fact one of the chipmunks eats poop in the trailer makes me believe that this is likely the worst movie of all time therefore I have avoided it at all costs.

sadmafioso
September 22nd 2008


318 Comments


sniggering

BludgeonySteve
September 22nd 2008


558 Comments


Something tells me that King Diamond owns this CD.

marksellsuswallets
September 22nd 2008


4848 Comments


haha sniggers...does it just censor anything with a bad word in it...why doesn't it censor assume then?

MrHell
September 23rd 2008


157 Comments


This TV show rocked. I used to watch it a lot when I was 2 years old. :D
Now the movie was annoying. I only watched it because it had Earl, and he wasn't even funny! I won't bother listening to this.
I'd rather go on YouTube and check out the fan-made stuff.

ReturnToRock
September 23rd 2008


3448 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The fact one of the chipmunks eats poop in the trailer makes me believe that this is likely the worst movie of all time therefore I have avoided it at all costs.


the trailer makes the movie seem much worse than it is.

i went into it expecting it to be HORRIBLE. but i was pleasantly surprised.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2008


20858 Comments


They should have got Akon to sing on this soundtrack... I always thought he sounded like a chipmunk.

Willie
Moderator
September 23rd 2008


16149 Comments


Very nice review, especially for what you had to work with.
Oh, and Bastard, very nice avatar. It even looks kind of like my old one... oh wait, it's exactly like my old one ;)

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

muze
January 10th 2009


2 Comments


",)This Message Edited On 01.10.09

muze
January 10th 2009


2 Comments


read it twice. bad review. not consistent. cut the soft-soap. if you criticize, do it all the way. not that you criticize, and then praise in the middle. or better yet, praise all you can in the beggining then criticize in the end so we wont get lost.

as for me, the songs were okay. some were even better than okay, like bad day, funky town and christmas dont be late, and how we roll. even witch doctorThis Message Edited On 01.10.09

Willie
Moderator
November 22nd 2010


16149 Comments


Agreed. Not nearly as good as The Squeakquel

rapsucks
June 23rd 2011


32 Comments


the anthropomorphic siblings did not lose their appeal for me.

I stopped reading.



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