Review Summary: The soundtrack to a kid's movie is surprisingly calming and fun. However, it's cheesy lyrics and messages draw back from the replay value. Everything on the album can be garnered in one listen.
Curious George may be the quintessential children’s character. Co-author Margret Rey described his appeal perfectly, saying "George can do what kids can't do. He can paint a room from the inside. He can hang from a kite in the sky. He can let the animals out of their pens on the farm. He can do all these naughty things that kids would like to do." Despite George’s knack for getting away with all kinds of devious trickery, he teaches children how to question and how to express themselves, all while conveyed in a fun, enjoyable way. The illustrations and writing styles of H.A. and Margret Rey make Curious George a timeless character. Universal Pictures decided to make a movie about the loveable character many years since the first Curious George publication. The studio chose Jack Johnson, one of the simplest and most enjoyable artists of the time, to create a fun soundtrack for the undoubtedly kid’s movie.
Jack Johnson makes the perfect artist for the Curious George soundtrack. He plays calm and simple acoustic guitar music and possesses a simple, calming voice. He keeps everything light and simple. The music on this album is really nothing to marvel over, the whole point is to create a catchy song with a good message for children. It is simply the sonic equivalent of the ideals of Curious George- simple, fun, and conveys a message. Most of the songs feature a simple guitar riff and a typical drum beat. However, The Sharing Song
steps out into a bluesy area with a harmonica and simplified Ray Charles piano. The Sharing Song
is simply what the title says. It makes a sing-a-long chorus and makes the song fun with handclaps and harmonica soloing. Every song on the album falls at a mid-tempo level, in an attempt to not bore the child and not go too fast that they can’t sing along. Even the song Lullaby
stays at the typical tempo. Jack Johnson’s calm, hushed voice makes the calming feeling about the song. The instrumental interplay creates a simple melody-countermelody structure.
Despite Jack Johnson’s musicianship, the sole purpose of the album is to be a soundtrack for a children’s movie, and The Three R’s
is the perfect representation of that. It starts with a catchy drumbeat, and slowly more riffs add into the mix. The lyrics are purely childish and perfect for the soundtrack. The song speaks of the three R’s- reduce, reuse, and recycle. The song goes through the times tables of the threes and all kinds of other hidden lessons in a perfect sing-a-long style. A group of kids join in on the fun, accenting certain places in the lyrics. The album closes with a remix of the song, put in a much more hip-hop style. It really just puts a different drum beat and melodic riff into the song and changes nothing else. The remix sounds pretty much like a 90s kids show theme song.
So the Curious George soundtrack is fun and really a kid’s album. That is both a plus and a major flaw. Since the lyrics, messages, and music are all so simple, anybody above the age of 5 will understand and notice everything in this album on a first listen. The guitar riffs vary from a calm, folk style to a bluesy, somewhat aggressive style. The drum beats, quite simply, don’t vary. All the other instruments, which range from a fairy-like xylophone to that aforementioned harmonica, simply add to the somewhat cheesy feel the song attempts to convey. However, in a state of ignorance, the Curious George soundtrack can serve as a calming listen. One needs to ignore the lyrics of the album, but that is easily accomplished through immersing one’s self into some sort of work. Jack Johnson simply did what he needed to do- make a simple, fun, and catchy album for kids.
Talk of the Town
The Sharing Song