The thought of squeaky, high-pitched voices for 16 tracks was initially very disturbing. Adorably cute, cuddly and irresistibly plump as they may be, no one would expect them to produce a soundtrack worth listening to. The lesson to be learnt here is, never judge an album by its singers, despite the fur and squeaky reputation.
Surprisingly, this is an incredibly foolish thing to say. For the current generation, Alvin and the Chipmunks is probably just a children’s cartoon with cute characters whose voices are best used to describe someone who has just swallowed helium. Well, let’s just take a trip back in time. A word of caution: be prepared to be shocked.
History Class : The Squeaky Success Story
Alvin and the Chipmunks actually have a very rich history and it’s one that started with music. In 1958, a very broke Ross Bagdasarian Sr. decided to write the song, ‘Witch Doctor’. He needed to find a voice to sing the famous line, “Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah Ting Tang Wal-la Wal-la Bing Bang”, so he took his then-high-tech tape recorder and increased the speed of his song. To his luck, Liberty Records agreed to release the song after much persuasion. “Witch Doctor” was released in the next 24 hours. The single soon rose to the number one position on the Billboard charts, sold over a million records and was an overnight sensation. This success may have helped Bagasarian Sr. and his family obtain their own swimming pool among other luxuries, but it didn’t solve one problem. Who was to be the character(s) behind the voice?
Then came “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” and with this 2-time Grammy award winning song came the birth of Alvin and The Chipmunks. After encountering a cheeky chipmunk while driving, Bagdasarian Sr. launched into creating his band of 3 chipmunks, Alvin, Simon, Theodore and their “Dad”, David Seville. All 4 characters, voiced by 1 person (Bagdasarian Sr.), took the world by storm and the rest, as everyone always feels compelled to say, is history. The Chipmunks continued their world success and even after 49 years, they’re back and about to have their very own motion picture, hence this soundtrack.
A soundtrack that pleases all ages
Firstly, it is strongly recommended that you approach this Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (OST) with an open mind, or at least a semi-open one because this squeaky OST, contrary to popular belief, will make you giggle and you’ll be overwhelmed with its cuteness once you listen to the opening of “Bad Day” which is a “chipmunk-ified” version of Daniel Powter’s hit single.
Subsequently, you may think that listening to another is just overkill, but don’t turn it off just yet as a perfect choice to follow the opening song, which is the very famous Christmas favourite, ‘The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’, comes on remixes with a twist. This song appears 3 times through the whole track list, one with a DeeTown OG Mix, another with a DeeTown Rock Mix with a heavy rock theme from beginning to end and the classic version.
This OST offers a mix of songs from which anyone can find a song that they like. From soft-rock with a squeaky edge with “Follow Me Now” to a cover of booty-shaking 1980s disco hit “Funkytown” to hip hop chipmunk love in “Get Munk’d” and catchy bubbly pop embodied by “Coast 2 Coast”. It’s really hard to always keep in mind that this isn’t an album but actually a soundtrack.
Though listed in the Children’s Music genre and with 5 songs out of the soundtrack’s 16 on the iTunes Store Childen’s Music top songs list, this album is not just for kids. An enjoyable soundtrack that is very easy to listen to with its diverse set of tracks and a non-annoying squeakiness that adds to each song, this is something that everyone from all ages can
What makes this OST even more special is the fact that most of the songs, even if they’re covers, are “personalised” to the chipmunks with references to them in some of the verses. In “Coast 2 Coast”, human rapper calls everyone to “Get down, get down with the Chipmunk boys”. This also emphasises the fact that this is a soundtrack and is even more of an encouragement to go see the movie to find out where the song fits it. There’s something always strangely fascinating and satisfying to hear the songs being played during the movie when you’ve listened to the soundtrack before especially with movies that have a musical twist.
I’m buying this for my niece/nephew
That’s the excuse you can give when you’re at Borders or That CD Shop, or if you can come up with something more interesting and convincing, by all means. That said, this is actually a great Christmas gift for your kid sister or baby brother, especially if you’re really sick of Hi-5 being on repeat all day. However, this is probably not a good album to listen to when you’ve had a bad encounter with an animal which involves a bite on your arm, but for any other time it’s a great listen. When you’re really happy, this is going to make you even happier.
UrbanWire gives Alvin and the Chipmunks OST 4 out of 5 stars.