Toy Story 3 Composed by Randy Newman
Walt Disney Records (2010)
Soundclips below from AmazonMP3
“While NEWMAN makes some noble efforts,
trekking into unfamiliar territory for the franchise, the soundtrack
tries too hard to do too much, and (just like the toys and Andy in
this third film) loses its original identity.”
Buzz, no habla Español...
Review by Vince Chang
After scoring in the 2-D Cajun-realm of THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG,
composer RANDY NEWMAN switches gears into the third-dimension for this
latest soundtrack release from WALT DISNEY RECORDS.
TOY STORY 3 is the latest original score from NEWMAN, veteran composer for
some of DISNEY-PIXAR's finest cinematic efforts. It's his 6th soundtrack
contribution for PIXAR, which includes the the entire TOY STORY trilogy.
For TOY STORY 3, NEWMAN imports Latin elements into the project, which is
new territory for the franchise. While the added diversity of the music
made for an initially entertaining listen, I found some transitions within
some of the individual tracks to be very capricious, which plays out well on-screen
when you have the visuals of the movie, but works against itself when it
comes to a stand-alone soundtrack. If anything, the randomness adds more
humor and wit to the entire soundtrack than was meant to be conveyed along
with the movie.
To start things off quite ordinarily, the theme of this specific
installment is summed up in the title, “We Belong Together” (1). The
lyrics foreshadow the entire plot and emotional underpinning of the movie
quite well, and the jazzy tone seems quite typical for a Toy Story Theme
song. But the familiar ground ends there, and things just get more exotic.
By far the most noticeable aspect of this soundtrack is its Spanish flair,
as evidenced by a new rendition of the old favorite theme song “You've Got
A Friend In Me” (2), completely en Español, courtesy of the GIPSY KINGS
(and Buzz). The fusion of flamenco and salsa makes this version seem fresh
at first, but upon further scrutiny, it really loses replay value, as it
retains the rigid harmonic structure of the jazzy original. As exciting as
this up-tempo version seems, the chord changes are surprisingly slow, with
very few chords repeated over and over, which is virtually unheard of in
both flamenco and salsa. I did find the guitar flourishes and complex
percussion rhythms to be of some redeeming value, but ultimately it's an
arrangement that tries to do too much, and in the end, is probably
disappointing to jazz fans and Latin-music fans alike.
“Cowboy!” (3) juxtaposes Copland-esque Western orchestral music with
sprinkles of nu-metal riffs, which I found to be quite a comedic effect.
Without the visuals of the movie, it doesn't make much sense but it still
works as a musical gag. The track then proceeds to your standard chase
music, Mickey-Mousing the action quite generically.
Most of the other tracks are standard, cartoon-fare, with quick changes of
emotions from sneaky pizzicato strings, celesta and solo tuba in “Garbage”
(4) to quick jolts of dissonant brass and piano for scenes of imminent
peril in “Come to Papa” (7). Since it is a kids movie, lightheartedness
still abound in tracks like “Sunnyside” (5), with the mischievous and
happy-go-lucky country cues featuring harmonica, and “Go See Lotso” (8),
that has snippets of accordion, and ends up transitioning to a bluesey-jazz
clarinet and guitar duo.
As mentioned earlier, the Latin styles all seem to revolve around the
cinematic presence of Buzz, with a brief section of tango in “Bad Buzz”
(9) and Spanish guitar in “Spanish Buzz” (11). Even with these new
stylistic elements, NEWMAN is still able to fall back on some old
conventions for the heart-wrenching seems, such as the lush string
melodies and woodwind solos in “Woody Bails” (6), “Going Home” (15) and
“So Long” (16). Last, but not least, there was a nice little inclusion of
Ken's Theme, titled “Zu-Zu” (17), a nice lounge jazz piece where the
singers scat on the syllable “Zu”.
While NEWMAN makes some noble efforts, trekking into unfamiliar territory
for the franchise, the soundtrack tries too hard to do too much, and (just
like the toys and Andy in this third film) loses its original identity.
The Latin influences are a great twist, but they just don't seem to fit
snugly into the themes and conventions of the movie. Or maybe that's what
makes it funny.
The TOY STORY 3 soundtrack is currently only available via digital
download (including digital booklet) from