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"Cars," "Over the Hedge" soundtracks make for great traveling music

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"Cars," "Over the Hedge" soundtracks make for great traveling music

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So I'm sitting at the computer late yesterday afternoon, inserting links in Chris Barry's "Disney Insider Yearbook" article, when Nancy says:

"You do remember that you're supposed to pick your parents up tonight, right?"

"Of course, I do," I replied. "And I've still got plenty of time. Their flight doesn't get into Boston 'til 6:45."

"5:45," Nancy corrects me. "Their flight gets in at 5:45. Not 6:45."

I then look up at the clock. It reads 5:10 p.m. I say &%$#, immediately leap up and grab the car keys.

Jumping into our newly-transmissioned Escape, I realize that I am going to need some serious help if I am to cover the 70+ miles between New Boston, NH and Framingham, MA. (I.E. Where the 6:15 shuttle bus from the airport is scheduled to arrive at 7 p.m.) in less than 80 minutes time. Which is why I decide to throw the Cars soundtrack in the CD player.

Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Records

Now I'm told that John Lasseter had some significant input on the production of this particular CD. Selecting which songs from the film would be played in what order. So that the "Cars" soundtrack could eventually be seen as the ultimate road trip disc. That CD that you would automatically throw into your player when you were about to do some serious cruising. Because the music that John chose so perfectly fits the various moods & moments that one typically encounters as you're bombing down the highway.

Well, if that's really what happened here ... Well, Lasseter has a truly great ear. Because -- as I tore down Route 3, trying to make it to Massachusetts in time to pick up my parents -- I didn't hear a single dud on this entire recording.

The "Cars" soundtrack quickly gets into gear with Sheryl Crow's "Real Gone." This song's driving beat literally make this track perfect driving music. You can't help but put the pedal to the metal as Sheryl sings " ... everybody's looking for a way to get real gone."

This track is followed by Chuck Berry's sparse rendition of that road-related classic, "Route 66." Then Rascal Flatts really tears things up with their inspired cover of that Tom Cochrane classic, "Life is a Highway."

Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Records

Thanks to those three inspirational tracks, I was able to make it over the Massachusetts border in record time. Of course, the bumper-to-bumper traffic that I then encountered on Route 128 might have been a bit depressing. If  I hadn't had Brad Paisley's "Behind the Clouds" to remind me that things weren't really quite as bad as they seemed. That this temporary traffic tie-up would eventually clear up.

Still, as traffic ground to a halt just outside of Waltham, it was nice to have a quiet moment in the car. Just so I'd then be able to appreciate James Taylor's plaintive "Our Town." Taylor does a really wonderful job with this achingly beautiful Randy Newman tune. I kept finding myself hitting "Replay," just so I could hear that song again as I waited for the traffic to clear.

Which it finally did. As I rolled onto the Mass Pike, I celebrated by singing along with the Chords. Doing the best I could with the bass part on "Sh-Boom." Which was followed by John Mayer's hard drivin' cover of "Route 66."

Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Records

Somehow, as I drove into the parking lot for the Logan Express ... Well, it seemed rather appropriate to find myself listening to Brad Paisley's "Find Yourself." Which speaks eloquently about learning to really appreciate those tiny moments of grace that you sometimes achieve in life.

Because -- as it turns out (Thanks to some traffic delays that the shuttle bus had encountered while coming out of the city) -- I was able to beat my parents to the Logan Express by a full 20 minutes. So instead of apologizing to them for being late, I actually had my parents apologizing to me because I'd had to sit around that bus terminal for so long. (Yeah. Right.)

Anyway ... After tossing their bags in the car, I then drove my parents back home to Maynard. En route, these two told me tales of their trip. From the daring rescue that they witnessed at sea to some of the more absurb moments. Like watching a boat piled high with crates of toilet paper making its way through the canals of Venice, as this over-loaded vessel stopped & made vital deliveries to each of the great hotels of the city.

Speaking of deliveries ... I delivered my parents to their front door. Then -- after schlepping their suitcases inside and promising to return for a visit just as soon as their pictures from this trip were all developed -- I climbed back in my car and headed for home.

And -- given that my return trip to New Hampshire was going to take me through some of Boston's better bedroom communities -- I decided that now might be a great time to start "Rockin' the Suburbs" by sliding the "Over the Hedge" soundtrack into the CD player.

Copyright 2006 Epic Records / Dreamworks Animation

FYI: That's one of the real strengths of this Dreamworks Animation film as well as this Epic Records recording. That the studio was able to persuade the man who actually wrote "Rockin' the Suburbs" -- singer / songwriter Ben Folds -- to come on board this project, to lend his own unique voice to this production.

Ben wound up contributing five songs to the "Over the Hedge" soundtrack, each of which help delineate the satirical suburb that this animated feature is set in. That crass consumer society where "... Mommy bounces checks while Daddy juggles credit cards." 

Copyright 2006 Epic Records / Dreamworks Animation

As I drove back to New Boston, I found myself hitting the "Replay" button on a lot of Ben's tunes. Just so I could appreciate his twisted take on suburbia. Where you can live out your days in " ... a house built safe & sound on an Indian burial ground."

That's not to say that all of the songs that Folds contribute to this animated feature are comic. For example, there's the wonderfully wistful "Still," which ponders how even things "... that are still are still changing."

You actually find two versions of "Still" on this soundtrack. Along with a special "Over the Hedge" version of Folds' "Rockin' the Suburb." Which includes an extended vocal performance by William Shatner (Yes, Denny Crane himself) as the neighbor from hell. That guy who's always complaining to the homeowners association about your son's rock band or your barking dog or the fact that your grass is a quarter of an inch too high. All you "Star Trek" fans out there really owe it to yourselves to pick up a copy of this CD just so that you can hear Captain Kirk play a crabby suburbanite.

Copyright 2006 Epic Records / Dreamworks Animation

Mind you, there were more to these two recordings than just Ben Fold's songs and/or Brad Paisley tunes. The "Over the Hedge" soundtrack features a generous portion of Rupert Gregson-Williams' witty score for this new Dreamworks Animation film. Just as the "Cars" soundtrack includes a wide selection of tracks for Randy Newman's energetic & elegant underscore for this recent Pixar Animation Studios release.

All in all, throwing these two discs into the CD player was a really smart move on my part. For they each provided me with plenty of entertainment during the four hours that I spent in the car last night.

Both of these recordings made for great listening. Whether I was bombing down the highway and/or just stuck in traffic in suburbia. Which is why I'm strongly recommending that you check out the soundtracks for "Cars" and "Over the Hedge."

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  • tee hee

    Good job reviewing both. Now no one can complain you favored one or the other.

    But on a serious note. LOVE LOVE LOVE the cars soundtrack. It IS my new offical roadtrip CD.
  • If you want the ultimate Shatner musical performances, pick up a copy of his surprisingly amazing album "Has Been."

    His cover of Pulp's "Common People" still finds itself in heavy rotation on my mp3 player.
  • The music in Cars is just great. Lasseter did a great job selecting the songs. Not a bad one in the bunch. And each one really works in the film, too.

    Speaking of the film, according to the IMDb, business is picking up:

    Disney's decision to postpone the release of Cars from November -- when previous Pixar movies have been released -- to June -- when schools are out -- could result in offsetting what analysts have called a disappointing weekend opening. On Monday, the film earned $6,445,000 -- far above the $3,802,000 that The Incredibles, the last Pixar release, earned on its first Monday in November, 2004. Likewise on Tuesday, Cars took in $5,820,000 versus $3,213,000 for the first Tuesday of The Incredibles. While initial reports had noted that the $60.1 million that Cars earned last weekend was well below the $70 million that analysts had expected, the film could exceed the gross for the first week of The Incredibles, Pixar's biggest hit, going into next weekend if mid-week ticket sales continue at the same clip.
  • Jim, do you have any idea what the missing songs are from Cars?...  The song that sends Mack off to sleep sounds like Kenny G to me but I have no idea what the title could be.  The rap track that the hot rods are playing before that is a mystery to me, also...  I've already grabbed Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner and Green Day's Westbound Sign (from the teaser trailer) in my attemmpt to put together a "complete" soundtrack...  Are there any more I'm missing?...
  • Great review Jim,I've got the Cars CD on order and can't wait for it to come.I love both Rascall Flatts and John Mayer.While it won't replace The Rocketeer as my all time fav Disney soundtrack,Im sure it'll still be a worth while addition.

    Good to hear about Cars starting to pick up speed at the box office,it goes to show that a lot of family's are waiting until the Summer holidays to start before taking the kids to see it!

  • Malin, I thought I was the only one who listens to the Rocketeer soundtrack. Glad to hear I'm not alone. :-)
  • Jim_Abell, the Kenny G song that you mentioned is "Songbird". It has about the same effect on me as it does on Mack...   :)  
  • Thanks, pschnebs.  I know the tune, but couldn't for the life of me name it!
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