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Toy Story 3 by Randy Newman

Toy Story 3

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Toy Story 3 (Soundtrack)  by Randy Newman
Toy Story 3 (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Story 3 (Soundtrack) by Randy Newman

Toy Story 3
Composed by Randy Newman
Walt Disney Records (2010)

Rating: 7/10

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“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 Amazon and iTunes.

Rating: 7/10

 

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 We Belong Together 4:02  ****
2 You've Got a Friend in Me (Para El Buzz Espanol) 2:14  **
3 Cowboy! 4:10  ****
4 Garbage? 2:40  ***
5 Sunnyside 2:20  ***
6 Woody Bails 4:40  *****
7 Come to Papa 2:05  ***
8 Go See Lotso 3:36  ****
9 Bad Buzz 2:22  ***
10 You Got Lucky 5:58  ****
11 Spanish Buzz 3:31  *****
12 What About Daisy 2:07  ***
13 To the Dump 3:50  **
14 The Claw 3:56  ***
15 Going Home 3:22  ****
16 So Long 4:55  *****
17 Zu-Zu (Ken's Theme) 0:35  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 56 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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