Trey Parker

REVIEW: Team America: World Police soundtrack (2004)

Hosted by Vinyl Connection, it’s the inaugural…
LP stack white soundtracks – Version 2

November 1 – November 14

scan_20161013TEAM 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.

America!
Fuck yeah!
Comin’ again to save the motherfuckin’ day, yeah!
America!
Fuck yeah!
Freedom is the only way, yeah!
Terrorists, your game is through,
‘Cause you now you have to answer to…
America!
Fuck yeah!

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.

scan_20161013-3Fans 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!

3.5/5 stars

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WTF Search Terms: Unsolved Mysteries edition

WTF Search Terms XIV:  Unsolved Mysteries edition

Welcome back to WTF Search Terms.  Below you will find 10 phrases that people typed into a search engine like Google, which somehow took them to mikeladano.com.  The 10 terms below have one thing in common:  I have no idea what the answers would be.  If you can help out these people, post your knowledge in the comment section, or these may forever remain unsolved mysteries!  Enjoy.

ritchie blackmore private life

puff daddy’s embarring habit

michael jones’ ebay wealth

perks of living in san diego

make a wooden cassette box

solo pizza commercial tania creighton-castillo

knuckle dtaggers bikers kincardine ontario

dreadlocks security guard manchester

gorge and martin and elile and alice and donss facebook

what id the dimond sign minr when jazz and lebrain put it up in the

For more WTFs, click here!  Subscribe so you’ll never miss one again.

STACK

VAN HALEN rocks SOUTH PARK

This week’s episode of South Park  “Ginger Cow”

VAN SOUTH HALEN PARK

GUEST SHOT: 30 Albums that Uncle Meat Thinks You Should Visit (Or Re-Visit) Part 3

Meat is back for the final installment of his essential list:  30 Albums that Uncle Meat Thinks You Should Visit (Or Re-Visit).

Missed any?

Here’s Part 1.  

Part 2 is here.

And make no mistake, Meat wrote every word.  No messing around from me.  Enjoy!

PET SOUNDS   –  THE BEACH BOYS (1966)

When The Beatles released Rubber Soul in 1965, Brian Wilson heard something that inspired him to try and make his own masterpiece.  The result was Pet Sounds, which saw The Beach Boys discard their typical surf-inspired ditties and create an album that will always be a classic.  I remember when I first heard this album I was completely blown away that it was a 1966 album.  The overall sound of it is so full and rich, and it’s funny how everyone thinks The Beatles main influence for Sgt. Peppers was drug-related, and I am sure it was, but that classic would never have been without this classic album first.  Do yourself a favour and re-discover The Beach Boys by checking this out.

 

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE  –  QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (1998)

There are a lot of people that think that the QOTSA album Rated R, is the band’s first release.  In all reality it is their third release if you count the Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age EP. However, it is a shame that this album has been somewhat overlooked.  I think it is by far their best album.  To gauge just how much I got into this album could never be measured.  For years, I stated that this album was my favorite album ever with distortion.  Now trust me I realize the exaggeration in that statement (I have since relented) but it doesn’t take away how brilliant I believe this album truly is.   This is a true collection of groovy rock songs, so much so that QOTSA could have titled this album exactly that.  I have not been a fan of the last few QOTSA albums, and frankly I wish they could harness this approach once again.  Check out the included track “Avon”.  An absolute air-drumming seminar at its finest!!

 

ROXY & ELSEWHERE  –  FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS (1974)

One of the albums previously on this list, Joe Jackson’s Big World, was a live album containing new material.  Considering the content of this particular album, that format was never more impressive or more challenging than Zappa’s album Roxy & Elsewhere.   From beginning to end, it’s hard to believe the complexity of what was happening onstage during these recordings.  From the colourful vocals of Napoleon Murphy Brock, to the guitar-fueled madness of Zappa himself, this is my personal favorite of all of Zappa’s recordings.  Songs like “Pygmy Twilite” and “Village of the Sun” are absolute genius.  The concert film of these recordings is STILL in limbo for whatever reason.  Included is a clip of the song “Montana”, recorded during these sessions but not included on the album itself.

 

 

SCENES FROM A MEMORY-METROPOLIS 2  –  DREAM THEATER (1999)

I simply couldn’t do a list like this without including Dream Theater.   I like heavy music and I like progressive music.  This band combines those two qualities perhaps better than any band ever has, and on this album its done to perfection.  This is your classic “concept album” and tells an interesting story that needs to be experienced.  But the true experience of this album is that it is a piece of song-writing and musical brilliance.  If you have seen Rush’s biopic Beyond The Lighted Stage,   you might recognize the now-familiar voice of long-time Rush producer Terry Brown (who also produced the vocals on this album).   The album sees John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy at their monster best and requires many listens to truly appreciate.  I am not a “Rolling Stone” magazine guy myself, but it does say something that in 2012 they named this album as the Number One all-time progressive album, beating out Rush’s 2112 and Yes’s  Close to The Edge.

THE ACTION IS GO  –  FU MANCHU (1997)

This album starts off with a bang, it also ends with a bang and actually this album is just one big resounding rhythmic bang.  After a few good, but not great albums (in my opinion), new drummer Brant Bjork was brought into Fu Manchu.  This would result in one of the greatest “Stoner-Rock” albums of all time.  This is literally the perfect driving album.  Sometimes you find yourself emulating driving just sitting and listening to it.   You can hear a huge Sabbath influence on this album, at least in the sound of the instruments and the driving low end.  Sometimes the vocals can leave a bit to be desired, but it is not really singing in the first place.  Almost sounds like a dude talkin’ to himself, which adds to the coolness of this album.  One of my favorite albums of the 1990’s indeed.

WELCOME TO SKY VALLEY  –  KYUSS (1994)

Somewhere around early 1995, I walked into a Sunrise Records where Tom (Tom has been mentioned many times in Mike’s blogs) was working.  At this point Tom and I only really knew each other from local concerts we would run into each other at.  The second I walked in he begged me to check out this Kyuss album on the listening station.  I remember the look on his face when I didn’t instantly “get it”.  Years later I had to bow to him and thank him for trying to open my eyes earlier.  No one knows how to set a mood quite like Kyuss.  The last album listed was Brant Bjork’s first album with Fu Manchu.  This album is the last Kyuss album featuring Brant Bjork on drums.  No coincidence here.  This man knows how to wash songs with a subtle intensity.  Check out the song “Demon Cleaner” sometime, with Josh Homme singing and see how Queens of the Stone Age were born.  This album has been listed as a major influence for many of the heavy metal greats of the day.

 

WHALE MUSIC  –  THE RHEOSTATICS (1994)

The Rheostatics are definitely one of my favorite bands of all time, and the artist I have seen live the most in my life.  Any band that calls their first album Greatest Hits obviously has a good sense of humour.  There really is no album that quite captures “Canadiana” quite like Whale Music.  Not to be confused with the later-released official soundtrack of the same name, this album ranges from the sweet to the insane.  Take the song “Queer” for example.  “Well the screen door is still broken, since you kicked your Kodiaks through it” and “I scored a hat trick on the team that called you a fuckin’ queer”, are lyrics that paint a Canadian portrait of everyday life.  I love this album and frequently re-visit it only to find it gets better with age.  Notable appearances on this album are Neil Peart on a song called “Guns” and The Barenaked Ladies (credited as The Scarborough Naked Youth Choir).   Included here is the amazing opening track.  Check it out eh ….

WHITE PEPPER  –  WEEN (2000)

Simply put, this is my favorite “Pop” album of all time.  I am not a Ween fan per se. I cannot say I have actually connected strongly with any of their other albums.  But when this album was introduced to me, it grabbed a hold of me and it will never let go.  First of all, the sound on this album is absolutely wonderful.  Second of all, the melodies on this album (with sprinkles of Ween weirdness of course) are something very reminiscent of The Beatles.  I have always tagged this album as their “Beatles tribute”, and it was pointed out to me by a friend that “The White Album? Sgt. Peppers?  White Pepper?”. Now I have not read that in fact that is what the name truly means, but I think that is a very good guess.  I have played this album for a few musician friends of mine and the result is pretty much the same across the board.  White Pepper  simply “hooks” you in, it is that simple. Check out the Trey Parker and Matt Stone directed video for “Even If You Don’t” included here.

 

UNCHAINED  –  JOHNNY CASH (1996)

I was working at the “Record Store Chain” Ladano blogs about when I was first introduced to this album.  It was instantly a revelation of what I do actually like about Country Music, and was the reason I became a fan of the older-style albums of the genre.   Not enough can be said about the genius of Rick Rubin.  The man who changed the careers of Slayer, The Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers got a hold of Johnny Cash and re-introduced him as the icon he always was.  Hiring Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as the backing band for the second American Recordings Johnny Cash release was a stroke of brilliance.  The opening track “Rowboat” sees Cash cover a Beck song and make it his own.  “Sea of Heartbreak” is a melodic ass-kicker.  Everyone by now knows of the genius cover of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage”,  so good in fact that for a long period of time Chris Cornell refused to play it live stating “It’s not our song anymore.  It’s Johnny’s now”.  No album of this genre has ever sounded bigger, if not any genre.  A must have album.

VS.  –  PEARL JAM (1993)

This album had to be included on this list.  I understand that everyone looks at Pearl Jam’s  first album as this massive crowning achievement, but frankly I didn’t get it then and I really still don’t.  Their second album I think is the best album of their career and probably my favorite “Grunge” album ever.  Every song on this album is a classic to me and it does seem weird to call an album that was a Number One album on Billboard for five weeks straight “underrated”.  But I truly do feel this album gets overlooked and that’s a shame.  I find Ten to be kind of boring and redundant to be honest.  This album is still fresh to me.   I hope when it’s all said and done that this album is what truly defines them.