Gary & Walter (The Muppets) – Man or Muppet

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

This is truly a non cynical post – The Muppets and the songs they’ve sung are as meaningful to me at 36 as they were when I was 8. Sure, there is a vocal segment of the fan base that refuses to like anything associated with The Muppets in the post Jim Henson era – their loss, I say. 2011 brought a reboot to the movie series with a smart and funny screenplay by Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller. A slew of high-profile Hollywood stars lent their talents to the movie (including Segel). The soundtrack was made up of songs penned by half of the New Zealand comedy / folk duo, Flight of the Conchords. Bret McKenzie imbues the songs with wit, humor, and the ability to connect with adults and children alike – a necessary ingredient for songs associated with the Muppets. Man or Muppet is the 1st song associated with the Muppets to win an Oscar, and deservedly so – it is imbued with a timeless quality that fits within the Muppets canon perfectly. A duet between Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter, it deals with the characters trying to figure out who they are – something we all face in the real world at one time or another. The segment shows Walter coming face to face with a human version of himself (Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory), while Gary faces his Muppet possibilities. McKenzie’s goal with this track was to come up with something “hilarious and beautiful”. He succeeded on every count. The track looks to the power ballads of the 80’s for inspiration, spun into a mix worth of the Muppets. It can be a machismo world, something I tend to wholeheartedly reject. I know who I am when I listen to these lyrics “If I’m a Muppet then I’m a very manly Muppet / If I’m a man that makes me a Muppet of a man”.

Rush – 2112

Part 33 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

I first heard the band Rush early in my teenage years. There is something about the joint progressive / metal music that inspires young men (and older men, as it turns out) to instantly play air guitar and sing along with vocalist Geddy Lee. Have you see the 2009 movie I Love You, Man? In the movie two grown men played by Jason Segel and Paul Rudd bond over a shared love of the band Rush. The affection between the two characters really comes into the focus as they discover this shared love. It was a brief scene, but played to perfection. It also reminded me of my own experiences hanging out with friends, blasting the “The Temples of Syrinx” section of the title track. Weekends that felt like they would never end, shared with friends playing music from every genre. This is how I came to love 2112 – a love that has only grown over the years.

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