Maurice Sendak’s legendary children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, was carefully crafted – words and illustrations bringing a story to life. Similarly, Karen O and the Kids’ original soundtrack for the recently released full-length movie is artfully crafted. Karen O is better known as the frontwoman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but makes a bold change as the composer for the soundtrack. Karen O has a range of talent making up the “kids” from actual children singing to various “grown-up” professional artists (see the line-up here).
At first listen, one wonders if this is really a children’s album. With the dreamy and stylish instrumentals and the almost-melancholy undertones, it is definitely a departure from traditional children’s music. The soundtrack seems to be a reflection of the emotions a child is sure to experience – joy, fear, love, excitement but not necessarily what is expected from a children’s album. The titles of the songs aptly represent the emotion that is sure to be elicited from listening – Hideaway is melancholy, Animal is wild, Worried Shoes is nervous. Interestingly, Rumpus is a hyper, crazy romp while Rumpus Reprise is the same thing only with adult supervision. Karen O can be credited with capturing the complexity of what seems to be something quite simple. Through her music she is able to bring to life emotions that a child would feel navigating the big world while in other songs the feeling of comfort from a loving parent is interwoven.
All is Love seems to be the standout with its appealing light-hearted sound. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it may not seem like a likely pick for your kids but if you listen carefully, you might just find yourself…and your child. You can find the album streaming here.