“The ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ soundtrack is some of the best music by a frog, pig, bear, chickens, penguins and a—uh, whatever—ever recorded,” said Kermit the Frog. “It’s like going on tour with the Muppets, but without the messy cleanup afterwards.”
According to McKenzie, the songs are true to the Muppets’ musical reputation: they’re packed with puns, punch lines and Muppets mayhem. “All of the songs are quite story specific,” he said. “They’re very character driven.
“‘I’m Number One’ is about the bad frog Constantine being the number one criminal and his sidekick Dominic, being number two,” McKenzie continued. “It’s a power struggle, a classic rivalry song in a style that could be performed in a cabaret venue.”
“A lot of the old Muppets songs are like that—show pieces,” adds McKenzie. The soundtrack features a host of show pieces, including the fully orchestrated “We’re Doing a Sequel,” with special appearances by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, along with the whole Muppets gang.
“Something So Right” is a ballad written for Miss Piggy and celebrated performer Celine Dion. “Miss Piggy is wonderful,” said Dion. “She’s so charming and sensitive and filled with passion. She has a big heart and it was wonderful to sing with her.”
“I was magnifique,” added Miss Piggy, “With a little help from moi, I think Celine may have a big future in singing.”
The soundtrack also includes “Interrogation Song,” featuring Ty Burrell, Sam Eagle and the Muppets. It’s what McKenzie calls “a conversation put to music,” and actually started out as dialogue from the film. Additionally, Tina Fey, who plays feisty prison guard Nadya, takes center stage—complete with Russian accent—with the renowned Josh Groban in “The Big House.”
The “Muppets Most Wanted” soundtrack features 20 tracks—including 12 new recordings—plus five bonus tracks. Also featured is a score by Beck, who incorporated styles from around the world in a nod to the international locales the Muppets visit in the film. “This score was incredibly fun to write,” said Beck. “With characters spread across the world, there was opportunity after opportunity to explore many musical styles and settings.”
Beck introduced several character themes—Constantine has a Slavic theme, for example, and Kermit and Miss Piggy are accompanied by a love theme (of course) that is an extension of music from “The Muppets.”An 80-piece orchestra was sprinkled with unique instruments, including a banjo, Spanish guitar and a Russian balalaika. “The real fun was the 20-person Russian male chorus, which is heavily featured,” said Beck.
When it comes to the Muppets, Beck knows that comedy is key, but that doesn’t mean he needed to weave it into the score. His trick to supporting the funnier moments is to “let the comedy play out,” says Beck. “The Muppets exist in the real world in their films, and their hardships and triumphs are no less serious than those the audience experiences every day. The comedy comes from watching these personalities that we all love interact with each other and their surroundings. They don't need ‘funny’ music underneath—they need very serious music that supports the scale of what is happening on screen.”
“Muppets Most Wanted” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.