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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The One Where I Mistakenly Indulge in Culture: Mosh Pit on Disney

Without a doubt, this has been one of the worst - if not the oddest - listening experiences of my life. I hesitate to call it the absolute worst, because I'm sure that there's still plenty of CDs being produced and sold by professional wrestlers, ex-soap-opera-stars, Fiona Apple, and that one guy whose only job was to hold that mirror up for Morris Day, that I have yet to, err, appreciate as such. But after you've heard the first track on the inspired "Mosh Pit on Disney," an inexplicable medley of Japanese persons (and one robot?) yelling out the title of the album, you can at least guarantee it a spot on your "what were they thinking?" list.


Released in Japan in 2004, Mosh Pit on Disney features both English and Japanese artists giving their interpretations of famous tunes from Disney's toons.

The first track (that would be Track 2, after the "intro") is oddly enjoyable, and even strangely relevant: Andrew WK gives us his piano-laden rendition of "The Mickey Mouse Club March." Hey, if you like Andrew WK, you'll like this one, because it sounds exactly like every other song he's ever performed - except that he was presumably forbidden, by an executive with great foresight, from using the word "party" in any capacity. Be warned, though: if you didn't feel the compulsion to "mosh" along with WK on this one, you should probably put the CD away now, because "Mickey Mouse Club March" is the only track that ever comes close to being "mosh pit worthy."

It's all down hill from here, as the next track is a take on Aladdin's "Whole New World" by the Japanese band, Low IQ 01. The singer apparently lacks the ability to pronouce "R's" and "L's" correctly, and the song descends into an incomprehensible mess. The song is further hindered by the artists' choice of making the first half of the song take inspiration from Muzak, and the second half a partially-chewed "All-American Rejects" demo.

Speaking of the Rejects, they make an appearance on this album, too: Track 14 has their take on "When You Wish Upon a Star," which they manage to turn into a deleted scene from "High School Musical." The resulting song is so cheerfully saccharine, it makes a can of frosting look like a healthy lifestyle choice.

It doesn't all look like the aftermath of an attack from Godzilla's radioactive breath: some of it was just stepped on a little. "The Main Street Electrical Parade" sounds pretty good (at least until the kazoo breaks in), as does the ska-like, synthesizer-filled version of "Someday My Prince Will Come," which is probably because neither of these tracks include any vocals. Even Smashmouth, forever in need of another paycheck from a cartoon character, puts in a smooth and catchy version of The Jungle Book's "I Want to Be Like You," a re-imagining that seems at once appropriate, but also vaguely disturbing.

There are some artists who are noticeably absent, and who would have increased the "mosh" factor: what, Marilyn Manson, king of the cover song (and someone who can actually achieve what might be called a well-done cover), couldn't find the time to record "Hakuna Matata?" I really would have liked to hear Children of Bodom take a crack at "So This is Love?"

While you're waiting for the release of Mosh Pit on Disney Volume 2, you can purchase Mosh Pit on Disney at Amazon.com. There were two versions released by Walt Disney Records: the original CD, and a special box-set including a key chain, figurine, and stickers. Both editions feature the same tracks, and both will leave you scratching your head in bewilderment: do the Japanese really thrash around to Smashmouth and The All-American Rejects, or do they just think that we do?

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