Bad Copy

Nightmare Revisited
Record Review

Welcome to my Nightmare (Revisited) Before Christmas

Nightmare Revisted

September 30, 2008

Christmas is a time of joy and wonder. And right now I’m wondering why I’m subjecting my ears to the disaster that is Nightmare Revisited. But the call went out and I answered. I will preface this piece by saying I’ve never watched A Nightmare Before Christmas. I am familiar with what it’s about and some of the annoying music, but that’s about it. When it came out I felt like the movie’s target audience leaned more towards 14 year old goth girls with dreams of being the lead cashier at Hot Topic. Plus I’ve never been a huge fan of musicals, let alone animated ones. But it had two components I was drawn to: Tim Burton’s vision and Danny Elfman’s music composition. Just not enough to fork over my cash. So I went on living my life. Years went by and this movie’s presence still haunts us to this day. Whether it’s a faded Jack Skellington tattoo on the shoulder of a former lead cashier at Hot Topic or A GODDAMNED REMAKE OF THE SOUNDTRACK BY A BUNCH OF ROCK BANDS! The latter being the subject of this tirade.

In September of 2008, Walt Disney Records released this re-imagining of the original soundtrack to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the film. And what better way to show gratitude to a film whose merchandise most likely generated more dough than the film itself then to ask Korn to lay down a track? Like most things involving ‘The Mouse,’ this wreaks of a cash grab. That’s not to say that these artists didn’t put their best foot forward. But, for the most part, listening to this makes me want to fill my ears with hot glue and jab my eyes out with oyster forks. So to save myself from spending my remaining days deaf and mute whilst cursing The Polyphonic Spree’s name in my head, I will run through the playlist and what I gathered from each track. Mind you, not only have I not seen the movie, I have never listened to the entire original soundtrack either. Let’s dive in.

1. “Overture” by Devotchka: At the 0:18 mark I thought this was a Gypsy-fied version of the Simpsons theme. Then it really started to get bad. I’m not familiar with Devotchka’s music, but this sounds like a group that would be on a Starbucks sampler CD. The original is just Elfman doing his thing. It’s a good warm up for this awful workout.

2. “Opening” by Danny Elfman: It’s just Elfman narrating the opening of the film, but I’m already cringing. Where’s my black eyeliner and torn fishnet gloves?

3. “This is Halloween” by Marilyn Manson: An obvious choice to give this album some clout. Manson does a good job on the only song I know from the soundtrack. I hate this song. Not this version. Marilyn did a fine job on this. You can’t polish a turd. But track 4 really tried.

4. “Jack’s Lament” by The All American Rejects: Tyson Ritter’s voice cuts through this track like a samurai sword. And I wish for that sword to dispatch me and end this horrible charade of life. I swear I hear “Stairway to Heaven” at the beginning. It could be the residual effects of holiday intoxicants, but I digress. This is all levels of bad. The original version had no Led Zep essence to speak of. Moving on.

5. “Doctor Finkelstein/In the Forest” by amiina: Here’s another one to throw on that Starbucks sampler. There are lots of strings and ethereal sounds that make me want to go to one of those candle stores and just smell stuff. I could probably fall asleep to this. It feels like it should be raining and I should be in a over-sized sweater petting my cat by a big bay window while sipping some Earl Grey. I hate you, Kendra.

6. “What’s This?” by Flyleaf: Okay, I’ll be honest. I liked this one. If you told me this was a cover, I wouldn’t know it. It sounds a bit darker than the original version. The lead singer sounds like Haley from Paramore. And this was confirmed when someone walking by my desk at work asked if it was Paramore. Conclusion: Paramore should have been on this soundtrack.

7. “Town Meeting Song” by Polyphonic Go Fuck Yourselves: Dude, what the fuck is this? Almost ten minutes of this quasi-Pink Floyd meets Flaming Lips at Coachella in a jerk off jamboree. I hate this movie more now. The only time I’ll allow that much of my attention span to one song is when someone plays “Free Bird.” NEXT SONG!

8. “Jack and Sally Montage” by Vitamin String Quartet: Nothing groundbreaking here. Strings covering strings. This version lacks the full sound of Elfman’s orchestral muscle. Which means it’s like going to the store for Dr. Pepper but instead opting for the store brand Dr. Skipper version. Sure it’s almost like the original, but the aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

9. “Jack’s Obsession” by Sparklehorse: Okay, someone didn’t do their homework or just submitted a random song to the fine folks at Disney. This sounds nothing like the original. Stop wasting my time, Sparklehorse.

10. “Kidnap Sandy Claws” by Korn: Finally, we have a song that embodies what the film and original song were about. The group produced an amazing track that didn’t veer away from their sound all while keeping the integrity of Danny Elfman’s brilliant lyrics. When interviewed by the press as to why they chose this particular song, Jonathan Davis was quoted as saying, “Da boom na da noom na na nema boom na da noom na na nema boom na da noom na na nema boom na da noom na na nema!”

11. “Making Christmas” by Rise Against: I’ve never been a Rise Against fan. To me, they’re the Nickelback of the ‘Punk’ genre. They’re polished and talented, but with no real substance for me to sink my tobacco stained teeth into. This just sounds like Rise Against doing a generic Christmas song. Before my goal was to write a satirical piece for this record, but this band managed to suck the fun out of it with their bland music. Why isn’t Sum 41 on this comp instead?

12. “Nabbed” by Yoshida Brothers: The Yoshida Brothers are both virtuosos of the Tsugaru shamisen, a three stringed instrument similar to a banjo. Fascinated? I’m not. NEXT!

13. “Oogie Boogie’s Song” by Rodrigo y Gabriela: Flamenco instrumental version of this song. Talented musicians playing a song. I give it three out of five yawns.

14. “Sally’s Song” by Amy Lee: Anytime I hear Amy Lee’s voice I’m instantly transported to the “Bring Me to Life” video where that dude is all “WAKE ME UP!” and she’s all “WAKE ME UP INSIIIIIIDDDDEEEEEEE!!!!!!” Somewhat decent cover that ultimately turns into an Evanescence song.

15. “Christmas Eve Montage” by RJD2: This sounds like the music they use on Adult Swim when they’re announcing that evening’s line up… which is usually a long block of Squidbillies reruns.

16. “Poor Jack” by Plain White T’s: Hey there Delilah, this song sucks.

17. “To The Rescue” by Datarock: Just what this record needed, keyboards! Decent background noise while you’re staring at your phone with the TV on.

18. “Finale/Reprise” by Shiny Toy Guns: We’re in the home stretch! This whole track sounded like one note. I’m glad my ADHD guided me through those three minutes that I’ll never get back.

19. “Closing” by Danny Elfman: Mr. Elfman narrates the ending… I think. I stopped paying attention. This record gets really dull after the Korn track. I wish Jonathan Davis would have narrated this instead.

20. “End Title” by The Album Leaf: More yawn influencing instrumental music that’s in no way a contender for the original. I’ve listened to more interesting wallpaper.

21. “Oogie Boogie’s Song” (BONUS TRACK! HUZZAH!) by Tiger Army: Whoa, Nelly! Why did this get stuck as the bonus track??? If you’re a fan of Tiger Army or just some guy with a bad A.F.I. tattoo, then this little gem is right up your alley. If you’re not a fan (which I am not), then you can have a great laugh at how much this blows. Classic wackabilly set to Danny Elfman’s lyrical genius. What could be better? Literally almost everything. I’m going to lunch.

So after listening to what was easily a huge waste of a few hours, I learned that I still have no desire to sit through the entire movie. I wasn’t swayed or inspired by these artists to give it a chance. If anything this gave me a long list of music acts to avoid. Except for Korn. Korn rules. Happy Holidays.

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