k.d. lang and the Patti LaBelle/Yolanda Adams/Fantasia Barrino collaboration are other stand-outs here. lang’s take on the Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers/The End” is muted yet jazzy, taking the song from the land of rock and roll statement to enchanted lullaby. LaBelle/Adams/Barrino tackle Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” and while no one can top Stevie Wonder, they do an admirable job turning his soul anthem into a rousing gospel roof-raiser. Of course, the addition of a choir providing back-up doesn’t hurt.
The one disappointment on the Happy Feet soundtrack is Pink’s cover of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good.” Her voice is perfect for the song, but it sounds too overproduced and, musically, too much like the original. It’s difficult to listen to the cut, especially at the chorus, because Pink’s soaring vocals get lost in the cacophony of electronic swooshes, clicks, clacks, stomps, and background vocals.
The rest of the soundtrack — including a Jason Mraz/Chrissie Hynde mash-up (two on one disc?) of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” and Bread’s “Everything I Own,” another Murphy track (two on one disc?), “Do It Again” by the Beach Boys,” and the requisite Robin Williams tune — aren’t much to write home about. The songs might work perfectly well in the context of the movie, but on their own they’re best skipped over.
Happy Feet has some great music, but for the discerning listener the soundtrack amounts to little more than a decent EP with a lot of filler. Still, that’s a much better fate than so many other similar soundtracks clogging store shelves and little kids’ brains.