Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films
A Delight for Kids and Adults
Sometimes music collections - with various artists doing covers of songs - sound weak, sound forced and are uninspiring. This one doesn't, it is the cream of the crop. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the interpretations of these vintage Disney songs. This collection is a real treat.
I was also surprised (unpleasantly) that this recording is only available on CD. Maybe extended licensing was an issue. Maybe there were too many permissions to get for MP3s or iTunes format. But this is hands down the best remakes of Disney songs I've ever heard. They have an adult take on the songs. Some of the tracks are more eery than soothing. But the quality is very much there. My husband bought this when our children were babies. We played some of it at their playtime and honestly he and I would put it on for ourselves. It is definitely not music for a baby's sleep time. This collection takes note of the darker side of Disney (the scary scenes in almost every film). I also noticed the twisted meaning of the title (the stay awake song urges sleep while the album itself will keep you awake).
The album includes artists such as Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Sinead O'Conner, The Replacements, Aaron Neville, Harry Nilsson, Suzanne Vega, Sun Ra and James Taylor. Ringo Starr sings a touching version of When You Wish Upon a Star. The medleys are all striking blends of songs. It cooks like a cauldron of soup- sometimes mysterious and smokey, sometimes achingly brilliant, spicy and sharp. Sadness and joyfulness are all represented here in this grouping. They make the Disney songs carry the meaning and weight they were meant to have.
All the tracks are good. Here are brief descriptions of four.
*Opening Medley: Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor's Life For Me)/ Little April Shower/I Wanna Be Like You The music opens at the entrance of the amusement park, you feel like you're strolling with Pinocchio while hearing Hi Diddle Dee Dee tickling the back of your ear. You keep spiraling further and further into the center of the musical maelstrom. As you spring up for air, Natalie Merchant does a beautiful airy version of Little April Shower. It ends with Los Lobos performing a jungle style, kickin' version of I Wanna Be Like You.
*Medley Five: Pink Elephants on Parade/Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah The first part of the medley has Sun Ra stomping and chugging their way with their trumpeting horns on Pink Elephants on Parade. It ends with Harry Nilsson's happy (?) version of Zip A Dee Doo Dah.
*Height Ho: Tom Waits is hammering his beat down in the caves of his imagination, singing in his usual style.
*Mickey Mouse March: Aaron Neville takes a sweet, soulful journey into this song. Very gospel-like.
Stay Awake - Disney Music in a Flattering Light
Sometimes the magnetism of a song is impossible to ignore, and it demands that it be sung in a certain way. - Tom Waits