Hey kids, it’s Dash Jordan here. So, in my last article, I reviewed ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. Wanna know what I did afterwards? I looked up the soundtrack. I couldn’t help myself, I absolutely love the music in this movie. By doing so, however, I may have awoken some bad memories. Well, it wasn’t all bad.
In 2008, Walt Disney Records released ‘Nightmare Revisited’; to celebrate the 15th anniversary of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. The album consists of many covers of the film’s songs from various Rock & Metal artists such as Marilyn Manson, Korn, The All-American Rejects, etc. ‘Nightmare Revisited’ also has plenty of instrumental covers and two re-recordings from Danny Elfman himself. I won’t go into the re-recordings because it’s still Danny Elfman and there’s no sense in reviewing something that pretty much sounds the same as it did originally. However, I will admit that they do sound nice, as always.
Unlike some other albums and soundtracks I’ve reviewed in the past, I have to say that I actually was not all that excited to listen to this album. I was familiar with some of the covers featured. But, bands like The All-American Rejects, Flyleaf & Plain White T’s, I’ve always tried to avoid. For good reason, as those were the worst covers I’ve ever heard. Especially, Plain White T’s cover of ‘Poor Jack’. It’s bad enough that the overall music and production sounds completely lazy, but I found myself disgusted as I tried to listen to lead singer Tom Higgenson’s awful impersonation of Danny Elfman’s singing.
Another bad cover on this album is Flyleaf’s version of ‘What’s This?’ I was never a fan of their music. Flyleaf is really nothing more than a group of Emo kids trying to make Metal. However, the opening of this cover almost sounded promising. Then, the band started playing. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, Lacey Sturm opens her mouth. To be fair though, it’s sounds a million times better than when Fall Out Boy tried covering it.
I don’t completely blame Flyleaf and Plain White T’s, however. Their music is just not that good, but I will admit that they do, at least, try. The keyword being “try”. The same can not be said for All-American Rejects’ cover of ‘Jack’s Lament’. I swear to God, when I was younger, I could not tell some of these bands apart. Hell, I used to think Green Day and My Chemical Romance were the same thing. So, of course, I thought Plain White T’s and All-American Rejects were also the same thing. As my ears have matured, however, I realized that there is a significant difference between the two bands. All-American Rejects is much more worse than Plain White T’s.
Then, we have Sparklehorse, covering ‘Jack’s Obsession’. I’ve never heard of Sparklehorse before and I really wish I didn’t. I know that the whole point of this album is that multiple different genres are putting a new spin of these songs, but I just can’t get into this mix of bluegrass and dream pop. This is by far one of the most annoying voices I’ve heard in music since Lil’ Wayne, and the music makes me want to fall asleep.
Now, let’s move away from the songs I knew would be bad, and move onto a genre that disappointed me. I, for one, actually enjoy a little bit of Psychobilly. Then, I listened to Tiger Army’s rendition of ‘Oogie Boogie’s Song’…no. That’s all I can say, no. This song does NOT work as with that Psychobilly sound. In fact, it sounds quite off-putting. Much like Flyleaf’s ‘What’s This?’, it had a great opening, but it’s all downhill once the vocals kick in.
Now look, I really hate to be negative in this review. I really want to like this album, but there is too much mediocrity and not enough talent. The bad may outweigh the good in this album, but the good is REALLY good. I;ve already showcased Marilyn Manson’s take on ‘This Is Halloween’, which I’ve already heard before I’ve actually listened to this album. We also have Korn’s ‘Kidnap The Sandy Claws’, the Polyphonic Spree’s ‘Town Meeting Song’ and a new take on the film’s Finale from Shiny New Toys. Those songs were good fun and all, but not enough to truly impress me and make me want to keep the album in my collection. Isn’t there something in this album that’s worth listening too? Just one song that’s as beautiful as its original version?
Umm…I’m gonna start crying tears of joy, aren’t I?
You may disagree with me, but Amy Lee is the best thing in this whole album. Say what you will about Evanescence, but I enjoy the band’s music. What makes the band truly shine, however, is Amy Lee’s beautiful vocals. So, you can imagine how amazing it is to hear Lee’s solo work. Sorry, Catherine O’Hara. You are amazing, but Lee’s voice is what I think of when Sally sings. Even the music itself, it has that eerie yet melodic sound that blends perfectly with this woman’s voice. This is actually my favorite cover from this album. Fantastic work again, Ms Lee!
You’re welcome. Now, as I;ve mentioned before, there’s also plenty of instrumentals on this album. I’m not going to talk about every instrumental, however, as I mainly wanted to talk about the actual songs. Personally, I think they’re all really good. If you’d like to know which one is my favorite, though…that would be Vitamin String Quartet’s version of ‘Jack & Sally Montage’.
I’m aware that I’m leaving out some other songs and I understand why some people would not want these songs covered to begin with. After listening to this album, I was left wondering where Danny Elfman’s head was at when he allowed some of the bands featured on this album to do what they did to his music. There is a little bit of light at this tunnel, however. Amy Lee, Marilyn Manson, Korn & Shiny New Toys being the only things worth listening to. Some may enjoy ‘Nightmare Revisited’, while other may consider it a mixed bag. As for me? I think of it as a disappointment…but it gets a Gold star-sticker for effort.
Beats me, Jack. Until next time, Gotta Dash!
Written by Shane Moose
Nightmare Revisited(owned by Various Artists & Walt Disney Records)
The Nightmare Before Christmas(owned by Touchstone Pictures, Skellington Productions & Buena Vista Pictures)