Recess: School's Out


Walt Disney Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Is it me, or is Disney starting to feature a lot of music from the '60s and '70s, especially with leaning towards acid rock, in their soundtracks? It was there on Remember The Titans, and it's now on the soundtrack for Recess: School's Out, the latest animated feature based on a popular television cartoon. If kids are wearing tie-dye, chances are it won't be because it's popular.

Actually, I'm thrilled that soundtracks like these feature such songs (even if a few selections are tired and hackneyed); it allows kids the chance to experience something past the pre-packaged pretty-boy-and-girl pabulum that tops the charts these days. Plus, I admit I'm biased, since I grew up on this music, and I still love it to this day.

Anyone who listens to oldies radio will probably find themselves gravitating towards over half of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Recess: School's Out. What a collection of songs and artists - Martha And The Vandellas ("Dancing In The Street"), The Surfaris ("Wipe Out"), Human Beinz ("Nobody But Me" - at least now I know who performs this song), Three Dog Night ("One" - hey, at least they didn't pick "Joy To The World"). If anyone thinks I'm going to complain about this lineup - well, frankly, I'd like to have heard more, but that's just me.

A surprise inclusion is "Incense And Peppermints" from Strawberry Alarm Clock, a real slice of psychedelia for your preschooler. It's innocent enough for the tykes, and I'd have no problem letting my four-year-old listen to it, but I'm willing to bet this one might just re-awaken an acid glimmer in someone's eye. (Interesting nugget of trivia: Strawberry Alarm Clock featured guitarist Ed King - who later on became a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd.)

There is, however, one major letdown - Robert Goulet performing "Green Tambourine". (What, do The Lemon Pipers - the original artists - not need the royalties?) The only reason I can see Goulet included is that the kids might recognize him as the singing voice of Wheezy the penguin from Toy Story 2. Hearing a cabaret lounge singer tackle this track would be like getting Chuck D to front a country-and-western band. It just doesn't fit, and it's uncomfortable to listen to.

On the other hand, Myra's remake of "Dancing In The Street" is more appropriate, staying somewhat close to the structure of the original. Obviously included to capture the attention of the kiddies with the pretty-boy-and-girl pop, she does a good job on this version, tying things up nicely.

The one instrumental selection, Denis Hannigan's "Recess Suite," occasionally displays too boldly its synthesized roots, making the piece feel a little contrived. Then again, this is an adult talking; the kids will probably eat this one up and want more. Besides, I'm sure it fits the plot of the film well enough. (You guessed it - I haven't seen this film, but this is more because my daughter isn't into the show "Recess". Blame her, not me.)

Recess: School's Out is a disc that adults will find they can enjoy as much as the kids - in some ways, even more so. And despite a slip or two, it is a well-constructed collection that will entertain the little ones as much as educate them about the music of their parents and grandparents.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Walt Disney Records, and is used for informational purposes only.