Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sublime Soundtrack: Toy Story

Toy Story (1995) broke new ground in the animation world, being the first feature length CGI film. Even as the first of its kind, the movie has stood the test of time, as rewatching it 15 years later still doesn't give you that dated feeling like seeing terrible special effects in an old movie. It looks great, even by today's standards.

I could go on and on about the touching story of friendship, discovering your true self, dealing with loss, and accepting your identity, but I'm really here today to talk about the Sublime Soundtrack, provided by the one and only Randy Newman.

Newman is not only a singer and songwriter, but a full blown composer, and his creations for this film were amazingly catchy. They songs are a perfect blend between childlike and adult, and have a timeless quality about them.

First on the agenda is that amazing Opulent Opening number, You've Got A Friend In Me. The song not only gets your toes tapping, but sets up the film perfectly as light and fun, and also tells us a lot about the inseparable dynamic between Andy and Woody. Come on... you all know it. Sing along!

Next up is Newman's gem, Strange Things, accompanying another montage, but this time things aren't going as smoothly for Woody. Buzz has moved in and taken over his #1 spot, and he's feeling abandoned. The song is a little darker and edgier (still in a fun, catchy way) to demonstrate Woody's anxieties about the new toy in town. And if you pay close attention to the lyrics, they're very specific. Although you feel this song could play on an adult radio station, it still seemlessly references "some little punk in a rocket."

Next we have the ballad of the film, I Will Go Sailing No More... the song that accompanies Buzz's devastating realization that he truly is a toy. The song actually plays as he makes one last desperate attempt to prove he really is a spaceman, which obviously doesn't turn out as planned, and he's left with a broken arm and a broken spirit. The song captures these emotions perfectly. "No, it can't be true. I could fly if I wanted to."

And finally I leave you with an instrumental number called Andy's Birthday to fully demonstrate Randy Newman's musical genius.

Newman's original songs are the perfect compliment to the visuals of this film, and it also marks one of the first times a more contemporary soundtrack accompanied an animated, family movie.

So if you hear a car driving by with the Toy Story songs blaring and a crazy person at the wheel shouting out all the lyrics and grinning like a fool, be sure to wave... cuz it's me.


KeLLy aNN said...


I saw this Christmas week with my oldest son and stepson. I had read an article about all the little "quirks and funnies" they hide in movies, and loved knowing what they were and what they meant.

Hal said...

Randy Newman is magical. Thank you for posting this.


Some of Randy Newman's best work!


My favorite scene in all the Toy Story movies comes right after the Strange Things song.... It's the next morning and the shark pops out of the toy box with Woody's hat on.... He says 'Hey! I'm Woody! Howdy, howdy, howdy.' Funniest scene ever!

Angie said...

OBAMA - I laugh EVERY time that shark pops up. LOVE IT!! In a sad way, I also love Buzz's mental breakdown at the tea party where he's waving his own broken arm around.