Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bob Marley’s on the Tangled soundtrack. Sure, why not?

Like many four year-old girls, Seconda is newly obsessed with Tangled, the new Disney movie about Rapunzel. It has even overtaken her Snow White obsession, and for the most part that’s not a bad thing. I mean, Tangled isn’t really any less offensive from a feminist point of view – sure, Rapunzel's not a total moron like Snow White, and she knows how to knock a guy unconscious with a frying pan – but a dashing stranger still ends up rescuing the damsel in distress, and in the process, wins her hand in marriage. So its not like some big improvement to have replaced one Disney fairytale with another, There is, however, one way in which Tangled is a real improvement and that is in terms of the music. Look, no one’s going to deny "Heigh-Ho" and "Whistle While you Work" are catchy ditties but those are two out of a dozen songs on the soundtrack which Sec has been insisting we listen to for months. The soundtrack is mainly background music, with lots of villainous swells and string instruments chirping away frantically like the bids of the forest. There's one ballad thrown in, sung in Snow White’s I-just-sucked-helium voice, which goes "I’m wishing/ I’m wishing/ for the one I love/ to find me/ to find me/today.” Not the kind of lyric or melodic complexity to sustain repeat listening. That's a nice way to say after you hear it three times in a row, you start fantasizing about a bear happening into the scene and attacking that pale, puny princess.

The Tangled soundtrack, featuring the vocal stylings of Mandy Moore, is pretty much pop crap, yes, but its nice-sounding pop crap, with creative rhymes. The best part is litening to Seconda belt out those ballads full on American Idol-style, with her vibratto shaking the walls of the car and her soft whisper quavering at all the right emotional places: ‘And at LAAAAAAAST I see the liiiiiights and the fog has somehow (whisper) lifted/ and its WAAARM and rel and BRIIIIIIGHT!" If Star Search was still on the air, Sec would be THERE.

But even Seconda accompanying Mandy Moore gets old after about two hours. So last weekend, when we were driving home from New Jersey, after we’d heard “At Last I see the Lights” at least five times, I surreptitiously selected Legend by Bob Marley on the iTouch, and “Is This Love?” started playing.

"Hey! This isn't TANGLED!" she observed.

"It isn't?" I asked.

"No, its not!"

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," But she didn't seem convinced. So rapacious is her love for the soundtrack that I could tell she was falling prey to the powers of wishful thinking, allowing herself to believe it was possible.

"Maybe its the bonus tracks!" I suggested.

"This doesn't sound like Tangled," she noted, but she was listening, now, with interest.

"But its about love!" I said, really selling it now. "Maybe its about how Flynn Rider and Rapunzel are wondering if its love that they are feeling."

She considered, quietly. The song finished, and “No Woman, No Cry” came on.

"Is this from Tangled too?" she asked.

"Could be," I said, "Maybe its Flynn telling Rapunzel not to cry, because she can bring him back to life with her golden tears."

And in thi way, we listened to half of Legend. Is there a better testament to how universal Bob Marley's lyrics are, that you can connect each of the songs to the 2010 Disney remake of Rapunzel?

By hook or by crook, baby.