Mar 12, 2013
120 Awesome Muppet Songs, Part 5
61. "When the River Meets the Sea" from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
How have we never noticed that Paul Williams writes the most beautiful, profound, and perfect Muppet songs? What's that? We have? Oh, good. Well anyway... the greatest song from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is one of the greatest Muppet songs ever. It is poignant, it is powerful, and it is the perfect song for Jerry Nelson. Jerry performed the song as Emmet Otter, Robin the Frog, and himself with Louise Gold at Jim Henson's Memorial Service, adding to the beauty of the song. Thank you Jerry, and thank you Paul Williams, for this perfect piece of music. Favorite lyrics: "Though our minds be filled with questions/In our hearts, we'll understand/When the river meets the sea."
62. "Steppin' Out With a Star" from The Great Muppet Caper
One of the few songs to feature the awesome trio of Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo, "Steppin' Out With a Star" is the most fun anyone ever had getting ready for a date with a pig. I love the interplay between the three guys in this song. I adore Kermit when he is peppy and fun and dancing in a tuxedo (okay, sure, I love Kermit all the time, but still). It's such a great moment in The Great Muppet Caper that lets us escape from the caper plot with a bouncy number. It's fantastic. Favorite lyrics: "Have I got style?/Have I got taste?/On someone else/I swear, this savoir faire/Would be such a waste!"
63. "Couldn't We Ride" from The Great Muppet Caper
Another song from The Great Muppet Caper! Gotta love that iTunes shuffle. Thank goodness it's another brilliant, beautiful number. (Aren't they all?) One of the most technically amazing feats in Muppet history... I honestly still have no idea how some of the bike stunts were done--and I don't want to know. It is a true example of pure Muppet magic. Kermit standing on one leg on his bike is a moment I'll always see as perfectly Jim Henson. The song features some wonderful imagery and beautiful music. It never fails to make me want to go ride a bike. Favorite lyrics: "It all seems so right/It all feels so rare/Summer soft, sudden breeze/Watch the wind play tag in the trees/The world is so bright/So perfectly fair."
64. "Easy is the Only Way to Go" from Fraggle Rock
Perhaps an obscure choice, but I adore this song. This is one of the few songs on this list that is performed by a one-off character, Phil Fraggle, who was voiced by Fraggle Rock songwriter Phil Balsam. In the show, the song comes after the Fraggles make Mokey their new oracle so they don't have to risk visiting the Trash Heap. The song features a magnificent guitar instrumental that pairs perfectly with Balsam's vocals. It's rollicking and joyful and makes for a great anthem anytime good things happen. It may be repetitive, but it's repeating great lyrics. Favorite lyrics: "We found a way/To live on easy street/No more troubles/No more cares and woe/Oh happy day/It's made our lives complete/'Cause easy is the only way to go."
65. "It Feels Like Christmas" from The Muppet Christmas Carol
How can you not positively adore this song? Jerry Nelson and the Ghost of Christmas Present make this a truly show-stopping, major production number for The Muppet Christmas Carol when it definitely needed one. This song is a stand-out in an otherwise somber film, that celebrates the joy of the Christmas season with amazing music and lyrics. I have no idea why this isn't a timeless classic on the radio every Christmas season... it's a crying shame. Thank goodness we Muppet fans know it and love it all year round. Favorite lyrics: "It is the season of the heart/A special time of caring/The ways of love made clear/And it is, this season of the spirit/The message if we hear it/Is make it last all year!"
66. "Doin' the Pigeon" from Sesame Street
Oh, Bert. The nerdiest of the nerds, the dweebiest of the dweebs. Bert so weird but so reserved and delightfully boring. Who else would develop an entire song and dance around the way pigeons move? Thank goodness he did, though, because "Doin' the Pigeon" is the defining song for Bert--his "Rubber Duckie," if you will. I believe this song says everything you need to know about Bert as a character: he's passionate about odd things and he's one "coo" cat. (Get it?!) Favorite lyrics: "Every time I feel alone and slightly blue/That's when I begin to think it's what I'd like to start to do/So though it may not be the kind of thing that's quite your cup of tea/I recommend you pay attention to the little dance you're gonna see."
67. "Eye to Eye" from Fraggle Rock
So far this is the only song on the list that wasn't available in some fashion on YouTube. So if you have Fraggle Rock Season 3 on DVD, pop in "The Cavern of Lost Dreams" to hear this great song. Led by Cotterpin Doozer with back up from ancient Doozers Yeaster and Crusty, it's one of my favorite Doozer songs. The trio sing about how coming together and connecting makes things so much better. It is a great message that should be adopted all over. Favorite lyrics: "I felt so helpless, yes, I felt so blue/I never dreamed that I'd see eye to eye with you/But hallelujah, we've made the whole thing new/I'm gonna see eye to eye to eye with you."
68. "Happy Feet" from The Muppet Show
Besides "Rainbow Connection," this is probably my favorite Kermit song. He is just so happy when he's singing "Happy Feet" (fitting, I know). The idea behind this sketch on The Muppet Show, that we never see Kermit's feet, is brilliant, but it's Jim Henson's vocal performance that really stands out here. I love seeing Kermit cut loose and have fun performing--which he was born to do. "Happy Feet" is one of the best examples of that. Favorite lyrics: "Weary blues can't get into my shoes/Because my shoes refuse/To ever grow weary/I keep cheerful on an earful of music sweet/'Cause I've got hap-hap-happy feet!"
69. "Bless Us All" from The Muppet Christmas Carol
Boy, Paul Williams is all over this week's list. Thank goodness, because he rocks, of course. "Bless Us All" might just be Paul's most beautiful song. Coming at a time when the world had just lost Jim Henson and Richard Hunt, this beautiful and thankful song is really powerful. This song is another great vehicle for Robin, who never sounded better. Jerry Nelson gets to harmonize here with Steve Whitmire and Frank Oz, and it's truly wonderful. It's touching, it's uplifting, and it's magic. Favorite lyrics: "Life is full of sweet surprises/Everyday's a gift/The sun comes up/And I can feel it lift my spirit/Fills me up with laughter/Fills me up with song/I look into the eyes of love/And know that I belong."
70. "Bohemian Rhapsody" from YouTube
One of my favorite Muppet moments ever is this truly amazing 2009 video parodying the Queen classic starring... everyone. Opening with Gonzo and the chickens, then Animal, the song spotlights nearly every single major, secondary, and minor Muppet character. There are so many moments that make this song so great, but my favorite is when the Electric Mayhem comes in and brings down the house. It was a triumphant return for my favorite band. Also of note: silhouetted Pepe, Big Mean Carl eating Rizzo, Mahna Mahna, Lew Zealand, and literally every moment of this video. Favorite lyrics: "So they told us this video was going to fly/All I know is we're not getting paid tonight/Oh, baby, can't do this to me baby/Just gotta get out/Just gotta get right outta here!"
71. "Love Led Us Here" from Muppet Treasure Island
You know what's amazing? How few Kermit and Miss Piggy duets there are. Yes, there's "The First Time It Happens," but there really aren't many others. Thankfully, there's "Love Led Us Here," the beautiful romantic duet from Muppet Treasure Island. It's crazy that Kermit and Piggy performed this song entirely upside down. But really... Steve Whitmire very much hit his stride as Kermit by this point and the blending of Kermit and Piggy's voices is perfect here. Thank goodness they have this great duet that spells out their love since there are so few out there. Favorite lyrics: "Was I dumb?/Or was I blind?/Or did my heart just lose its mind?/Why'd I go and throw/Our perfect dream away?"
72. "Friendship Song" from Fraggle Rock
It seems like every time someone talks about Fraggle Rock and notable episodes of the show, "Marooned" always comes up. It absolutely should, because "Marooned" is the pinnacle of the show's power to connect emotionally to the viewers. By pitting Red and Boober in such a dire situation, we also got the beautiful "Friendship Song." This wonderful duet between the two polar-opposite Fraggles warms the heart completely. It's soft and lilting and completely beautiful. The definition of a tear jerker should be this song. Favorite lyrics: "You work all night/You work all day/You still can't keep/Those worried blues away/Try a little longer/For your friends/Try a little stronger/For your friends."
73. "Pukka, Pukka, Pukka Sqeetily Boink" from Fraggle Rock
Yay! More Fraggles! And it's a song by my favorite Fraggle! Wembley can do no wrong in my eyes, and his nonsense song is no exception. It's so delightfully goofy and abstract. The song also showcases Steve Whitmire's weird, wonderful noises he squeaks and squawks as Wembley. Steve is such a great singer on deep, powerful songs, but I just love moments like this when he gets to be goofy and wacky. Favorite lyrics: "I believe in magic words/I believe in love/I believe in buried treasure falling from above/One more time the world goes round/One more magic day/Now I've learned the magic sounds/That speed it on its way!"
74. "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" from The Muppet Movie
I'm going to be honest right up front here... this is my favorite song of all time. Not just Muppet song... song, period. The hauntingly beautiful lyrics, the emotionally gripping music, Gonzo's soul-searching movements and emotions... every single thing about this song is perfect. Paul Williams has scribed so many masterpieces for the Muppets (four of them in this week's list alone), but I don't think I could ever love a song more. Gonzo's words speak to me, and I'm sure they speak to all Muppet fans. Favorite lyrics: "There's not a word yet/For old friends who've just met/Part heaven, part space/Or have I found my place?/You can just visit, but I plan to stay/I'm going to go back there someday."
75. "Turn the World Around" from The Muppet Show
The perfect closing number for The Muppet Show becomes the perfect closing number for the list this week. Harry Belafonte was one of the Muppets' great collaborators and a good friend of Jim Henson, and this song he scribed specifically for the show is truly amazing. Harry sings so powerfully and the African mask puppets built for the song are incredible. I love the message of this song, showing how the world is all connected. Favorite lyrics: "Do you know who I am?/Do I know who you are?/See we one another clearly/Do we know who we are?"
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org