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Music Review: Various Artists – Cars 2 [Soundtrack]

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Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 races into theaters today with high expectations from fans eager to see the next installment in the animated misadventures of champion race car Lightning McQueen and his sweet, but naive companion Tow Mater. Part of Pixar’s seemingly infallible formula for success has been their films’ outstanding musical accompaniment. This time, Michael Giacchino returns to score Cars 2‘s spy-tinged soundscapes.

One of the keys to a film sequel’s success is not straying too far from the original. The same must be true of soundtracks, because the structure of the Cars 2 disc rolled off of the same assembly line as the original.

The remake on this year’s model is Weezer’s cover of The Cars’ mega hit “You Might Think.” It’s very well done but sticks so closely to the original’s arrangement as to be nearly indistinguishable. Much better is the duet by Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams, “Collision of Worlds,” which entertainingly compares and contrasts American and British culture both lyrically and instrumentally. “Mon Coeur Fait Vroum (My Heart Goes Vroom),” penned in part by Giacchino and performed by French group Bénabar, is as catchy and classy as anything on the Ratatouille soundtrack. The film’s Tokyo setting is represented nicely by “Polyrhythm” from Japanese technopop group Perfume; similarly Brad Paisley’s “Nobody’s Fool” drips of Americana.

The rest of the soundtrack’s 57 minutes is devoted to Michael Giacchino’s score, which takes the listener for an aural trip around the world and into the realm of spies. This time around, he riffs off the surf-spy sound of the late 1960s James Bond copycat films.

Pixar fans and lovers of soundtracks in general will waste no time adding this release to their collection, and rightfully so. It’s going to be a long wait until Pixar’s 2012 release, Brave, introduces us to the work of composer Patrick Doyle. Dad gum indeed!

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