Sunday, 10 July 2016

Music review: The Wiggles: Carnival of the Animals

As you probably already know, The Wiggles released a new album last week.

Toot toot, chuga chuga, big red pay cheque
And, not content with simply living off the songs written by their predecessors (and some would say betters), Simon, Lachy and Emma have perhaps turned in their laziest work yet. Not that I would use that as a criticism. In fact, as the Wiggles juggernaut rolls on, they may be on to something: getting somebody else to write the songs, somebody else to play the songs, and get away with, at most, just talking over the music. In fact, if the name of the last track is anything to go by, I'm not sure Lachy even does that. But he'll still be there, collecting the royalty cheque no doubt.

What the Wiggles have done here is to take a pre-existing piece of music, the eponymous Carnival of the Animals, by the original Sepia Wiggle, Camille Saint-Saëns, originally composed as a musical joke. An to be fair, it was probably hilarious af coming from this man. He intended it never to be published during his lifetime, lest it detract from his serious image. 
Get Ready, To Wiggle Your Moustache
In this edition, however, the Wiggles have added their own quaint touch. Simon 'Red' Wiggle (the only Wiggle I have had the honour of meeting), has written short rhymes to accompany each of the 14 movements, each ably played by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. I haven't listened in depth to the content of these spoken lyrics, but hearing that each verse ends rhyming 'way' with 'very day', I'm sure they would easily rank up with the songwriting of No Doubt, or any other contemporary act insisting girl and world sound a bit similar. Unfortunately, Simon's delivery lets him down: not quite keeping up with the tempo of the backing track in places, I fear, if he were to try his hand at MCing,
Si would be in danger of Vanilla Ice cooking him like a pound of bacon.

 Hot Potato melts Vanilla Ice
Another personal touch added by the Wiggles consists of renaming several pieces, to make them more acceptable to the modern age. Nowhere is this more noticeable than movement number 10 as 'Tweet Tweet Tweet,' an apparent ode to the 140 character microblog. Presumably all the birds within are small and blue.

They were going to call the verse Angry Birds, but twitter's more or less the same thing 
The chance for a few new musical jokes, however, I feel have been missed. Saint-Saëns had originally composed movement number 12, 'Fossils', as a riotous parody of several French folk songs which were just so old, kinda like if Weird Al Yankovich made a song called 'Yo' Mamma' and it was just slightly altered songs from the 1950s. What better opportunity to subtly take a dig at old Jeff or Murray than by asking if they wanted to do a guest spot? Lol forever. And  The People With Long Ears was originally written as a sly shot at music critics who had savaged Ol' Camille's recent works, not for him the Meat Loaf style of stopping mid concert to tell poor reviewers to GGF. Why would the Wiggles not try and insert the implication that, say, bitter rivals Hi5 aren't donkeys by inserting a few of their songs?  


All in all, however, Simon, the other Wiggles, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra have turned in a strong effort, easily providing a diversion for a half hour car trip. I look forward to their upcoming collaborations with other composers and bands. Hopefully including current family favourite AC/DC.

After all, it's a long way to the cot if you want to rock a doll.


No comments:

Post a Comment