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Music Review: Where the Wild Things Are (Soundtrack)

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As a kid, when I read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, my imagination rolled with scenes from the story. The book, which is about a land where a boy was exactly where he wanted to be and the king of his own people, was every kids dream. While my imagination spun with ideas of what this place would be like for me, the music I’d played in this place never came to mind.

Although I have yet to see the Where the Wild Things Are film, a movie based on your favorite book can be disappointing because you’ve already formed specific images in your mind of what the setting and scene would be like visually. However, with music there is less of a standard. Normally, our minds work visually not audibly so when I heard the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack, it was everything I would have heard in my imagination when reading the book probably because I had no preconceived ideas.

With tracks full of care-free, wild, and rambunctious music, the images from Where the Wild Things Are truly come to life. The unique sound exhibited in this soundtrack is largely a result of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s lead singer, Karen O’s vocal attitude. Her quirky, almost child-like, voice on the soundtrack was exactly what a movie like Where the Wild Things Are needed for the imagery of the movie.

Every track has a hazy but still upbeat feeling that is also found in Karen O’s work with the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. As Karen O’s first soundtrack, the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack is different than most as it doesn’t compile tracks from various artists.

The entire soundtrack is done with Karen O’s vocals and writing, which conveys this dreamlike, seamless message that is central to the story. Some of the tracks contain or focus on sound bites from the movie and a kid chorus.

With whoops, screams, and hollers, the adolescent, fun sentiment in the plot line is conveyed effortlessly in the music. There’s a perfect combination of happy-go-lucky tracks and deeply emotional ones, even somewhat dark tracks as well. The soundtrack includes the middle tempered, mellow melodies which Karen O is best at.
The second track, “All is Love,” is full of eloquent but simple lyrics with cheery tambourines and syncopated rhythms. Kicked off with the boy from the film screaming “One, two, ready, go!” the mood automatically sets up for this young, fun, loving attitude.

The track rolls on with “L-O-V-E, it’s a mystery, that’s where you’ll find me, where you’ll find, all is love.” This chorus sets up the entire tone of the soundtrack for me. In a simple, but still somewhat wise beyond years sort of way, these lyrics say what some adults spend their entire lives searching for and a young boy, with the help of musical genius Karen O, nails these emotionally challenging subjects.

In this thematic approach presented in “All is Love,” a message to love without an explanation and a worry is expressed. The soundtrack is so much more than music to accompany the film. It’s a soundtrack that speaks to child in us while addressing the issues life will always throw at us.

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About Autumn Huffman