Reviewed by Heather West
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Movie Soundtrack by
"...[introduces] people from all walks of life to all types of music. And as always, there is plenty of silliness to go around."
Just when we thought we'd seen the last of pirate-themed movies, Big Idea Productions returns with a swashbuckling, feature-length VeggieTales film starring everyone's favorite singing vegetables. In preparation for the film's January release, the companion soundtrack dropped early, featuring artists as diverse as Newsboys and Mandisa as well as the song that started it all, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything."
From the first flourish of "Spanish Gold" to the final, gospel-tinged reprise, the orchestral score is ambitiously grand. It has to be ambitious; transforming one of the most infamous criminal factions in history and the world's least favorite food group into lovable heroes with spiritual clout isn't the easiest thing to do. Ultimately, there are only two possible trajectories for The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything-hilarious or ridiculous. Though you won't know the final verdict on the veggies unless you watch the movie, you can hope for a glimpse of greatness in the music.
The soundtrack consists of three types of songs. The first of these are the compositions by Kurt Heinecke, which serve as bookends to the "sillier songs" in between. In fact, almost half of the tracks are completely orchestral, with titles that are just enough to get us interested without giving too much away - "Walking Rocks" "Donkey-Shaped Help" and "The Cave Medley." Most are dominated by rousing trumpet sequences, pounding drums, and contrasting moments of soaring strings. Sound like anything you've heard recently? Lest we forget which Pirates movie we're listening to, veggie buccaneers Elliot (Larry the Cucumber), George (Pa Grape) and Sedgewick (Mr. Lunt) frequently interject with film dialogue.
Next in line are the classic VeggieTales tunes, lead by "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." Though none really come close to matching it in terms of sheer laughing-fit inducing humor, there are some notable standouts. "Jolly Joes" is kind of a G-rated "Yo Ho (Pirates Life for Me)," with lyrics like "Grab your root beer, hold it high." Kids will undoubtedly enjoy this song, hopefully without doing everything it suggests! "Whack your shipmate in the eye/Yank his hair and break his nose/Ain't no place like Jolly Joe's!"
The original title track is paralleled by Relient K's 2002 cover, which is part of the remaining group - songs that are not sung by vegetables. Relient K's now-classic version brings some great dynamics to the song, by emphasizing or slowing down certain parts, without sacrificing the essential silliness. In the same vein, Christian rock group Newsboys offers a new track "Yo Ho Hero," written by Steve Taylor. The song is hilarious in it's own right, hilarity being the standard of success here, and retains that Newsboys feel, despite the fact that they are using the same "aaargh matey" voices Relient K did. Unlike "The Pirates," however, "Yo Ho Hero" contains some spiritual content for attentive kids to discover, or parents to point out: "But if you're feeling a little seasick/Rise and shine/If you want to get off the guilt-trip/Now's the time/Because of the Captain of the main ship...He could be comin' before you know/And what are you gonna show?"
TobyMac and Anointed also have a hand in the project, the latter reprises a song from the Jonah VeggieTales movie as a bonus track. Most surprising of all is an appearance from American Idol contestant Mandisa, whose song "The Right Thing" is upbeat and catchy, even if parts of it are slightly clichéd. Yet her talents add a distinct flavor to the album, as do those of the other artists. People who initially buy for Mandisa's track just might see their horizons broaden a little. The same goes for fans of TobyMac, Anointed, Relient K, and Newsboys, emphasizing the point of a compilation album - introducing people from all walks of life to all types of music. And as always, there is plenty of silliness to go around.
Heather West is a sophomore English and Communications major, who firmly believes in the concept of the Renaissance man (or woman, in her case). In that vein, her interests include everything from piano, Broadway, and gospel choir to snowboarding, missionary work, and filmmaking. Her writing is inspired by her reading; her favorite authors are Brian Jacques, Bill Myers, Timothy Zahn, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kenneth Grahame, Chaim Potok, Isaac Asimov, and Lloyd Alexander. While she aspires to be a novelist and screenwriter, Heather equally enjoys journalism, particularly in the areas of film and music. Her dream job is creating clean, thought-provoking media that will point people back to God. She has written for Infuze Magazine, more recently for SoulAudio.com, and is thrilled to start writing for TitleTrakk!