Hosted by Vinyl Connection, it’s the inaugural…
November 1 – November 14
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE – Music from the Motion Picture (2004 Atlantic)
It’s incredible to think that the world is even more screwed up today than it was in 2004. Matt Stone and Trey Parker are talented at both satire and musicals, not to mention the most vulgar of humour. Their movie Team America: World Police combined the satire and vulgarity with music, and the kind of vintage puppetry that made Thunderbirds so memorable. The sets are intricately detailed miniatures. Look at the cobblestones in Paris — they are shaped like little croissants! It’s a triumph, which is all the more amazing considering that there is a scene of puppets shitting on each other.
The soundtrack had to be equally amazing. How else could Parker and Stone top the hit song “Now You’re A Man” from the Orgazmo soundtrack?
The answer is simple: With a “Fuck Yeah”!
One warning though. This soundtrack will make little sense to you unless you’ve at least seen the movie. So see the movie – it’s unforgettable, at the very least.
From the fictional musical Lease (a parody of Rent) comes “Everyone Has AIDS”, an uppity singalong number that proves nothing is sacred to Stone and Parker. “Everyone has AIDS!” they sing with glee! “The Pope has got it, and so do you!” The easily offended have already gotten off the bus, but the song isn’t saying anything more than AIDS doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight or otherwise. Stone and Parker are known for burying messages such as this in their juvenile jokes.
“Freedom Isn’t Free” is the best patriotic country anthem you’ll ever hear. “Freedom isn’t free! No there’s a hefty fuckin’ fee!” The music is a completely serious country ballad, which could have been a Tim McGraw hit. The contrast is delightful. But that’s just a build up to the main event: “America, Fuck Yeah”, the movie’s theme song.
Comin’ again to save the motherfuckin’ day, yeah!
Freedom is the only way, yeah!
Terrorists, your game is through,
‘Cause you now you have to answer to…
You get the idea.
It’s actually a brilliantly cheesy rock theme song, something along the lines of “Dare” by Stan Bush, from the 1986 Transformers movie soundtrack. The only real difference is the use of F-bombs instead of inspirational uplifting cliches.
The terrorist theme music called “Derka Derka” is an interesting accomplishment since it is written to replicate the Star Wars “Cantina Theme”, but fitting a Middle Eastern style. It’s unmistakable, and really helped make the scene in the movie. The next artist to be lampooned is Aerosmith; rather latter-day BalladSmith. “Only A Woman” is clearly intended to be the “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for this album. If anything the song highlights how paint-by-numbers those Aerosmith ballads are. Granted, Diane Warren wrote “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”, but all those Aeroballads are interchangeable.
Fans of the movie know that the greatest character was Kim Jong Il. “I’m So Ronery” reveals the true reasons behind Kim’s evil deeds, provoking the world to the edge of war. He’s just lonely. “When I change the world maybe they’ll notice me? Until then, I’ll just be ronery…” (But is this really Kim’s soul motivation? See the movie to find out the true answer….)
From there we go to the “Bummer Remix” of “America, Fuck Yeah”. It is a somber retelling of the song, indicating that we at at the lowest point in the story. The “all hope is gone” moment. Can our puppet heroes survive? (See the movie!) The somber music continues with the ballad “The End of an Act”, which does nothing but trash Michael Bay. It is his style of film, after all, that Team America is a parody of. “All I’m trying to say is Pearl Harbor sucked…and I miss you.” Parker and Stone go as far as to question why Bay is allowed to keep making movies. (The answer, guys, is that his movies make a butt load of money. Why they make this kind of cash is because “BOOM”, “FOOSH”, “EXPLODE”!)
Any good action movie needs a montage! That’s what the song “Montage” is all about! Trey Parker sings, “Every shot shows a little improvement; to show it all would take too long!” And now you know what a montage is. “Even Rocky had a montage!” continues the song, assuring us of the artistic validity of the technique. The montage leads us to “North Korean Melody”, a silly nonsense song that pokes fun at certain cliches about Korean accents.
The CD has two distinct sections: songs, and the score. The songs are all relatively brief and comedic, while the score is a full-fledged action movie soundtrack with full orchestra. Whether it be chases, romance or villainy, there is a taste of each in the score. The final track “Mount, Rush, More” is a great example of tension-filled soundtrack excellence. Chances are that 90% of buyers picked up the CD for the songs, not the score. The songs themselves are just shy of 19 minutes of music. The score is over 28. It is perhaps a little devious that this is not indicated on the back (not even track lengths). Music fans of broad tastes won’t mind, but they are probably in a small minority. The score will especially be of interest to fans of composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who has done the soundtracks to award winning films such as The Martian and all the Shrek movies. They will be pleased to know that Gregson-Williams wrote some excellent material for Team America.
As a listening experience, you may as well consider this like listening to two albums. Or perhaps an EP and an album. One minute you’re pissing your pants at “Montage”, the next you’re knee-deep in a serious action movie score. It’s a little uneven, so perhaps you’d enjoy it better if you put the tracks in a different order, with the score interspersed. Give it a try!