The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Friday Feature: “Toy Story”

with 3 comments

This week’s Friday Feature should come as no surprise. There’s one movie on more minds than any other this week: Toy Story 3, the 11th effort by Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios. Like the other films in the series, it promises to be a funny, adventurous and touching affair that adults will connect to as easily as kids. Like the others, it promises massive box office returns and universal acclaim (as of this writing, film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has not picked up a single negative review, a feat also astoundingly attained by the previous entry in the series).

And, like the others, it will feature a score by Randy Newman. One of the sharpest pop/rock writers of the latter half of the rock era, Newman’s no slouch as a film composer. That phase of his career took off with a pair of Oscar nominations for the 1981 film Ragtime and an Elmer Bernstein-esque score to The Natural in 1985. (A year later, Newman would collaborate with Bernstein on Three Amigos! in 1986 – and a bit of mind-bending trivia: Newman also co-wrote the film with Steve Martin and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels).

For the younger generation, though, Newman is renowned for those soundtracks he did for Disney films. In addition to all three Toy Story pictures, Newman scored A Bug’s Life (1998), Monsters Inc. (2001) and Cars (2006) for Pixar (as well as the stop-motion animated adaptation of James and the Giant Peach in 1996 and last year’s The Princess and the Frog). While they were all solid scores, the two Toy Story films are head and shoulders above the others.Newman shines by writing catchy, pop-oriented tunes for key scenes in the films, from the unforgettable “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” to the heart-rending “When She Loved Me” (a song that the author cannot hear without getting emotional). But his instrumental themes for the characters are heroic and hummable, and even casual listeners can hear the scores on their own and harken back to the finer moments of the films.

Though the first two scores are out of print (and the third one has only been released digitally), all three would be a worthy addition to a fan’s CD shelf. Perhaps if Disney ever gives its scores the catalogue love they deserve, we’ll see reissues of the Toy Story soundtracks in due time. (Note: spoilers abound in the track titles for Toy Story 3.)

Randy Newman, Toy Story: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records 60833-7, 1995)

  1. You’ve Got a Friend in Me
  2. Strange Things
  3. I Will Go Sailing No More
  4. Andy’s Birthday
  5. Soldier’s Mission
  6. Presents
  7. Buzz
  8. Sid
  9. Woody and Buzz
  10. Mutants
  11. Woody’s Gone
  12. The Big One
  13. Hang Together
  14. On the Move
  15. Infinity and Beyond
  16. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Duet with Lyle Lovett)

Tracks 4-15 are score tracks


Randy Newman, Toy Story 2: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records 60647-7, 1999)

  1. Woody’s Roundup – Riders in the Sky
  2. When She Loved Me – Sarah McLachlan
  3. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Wheezy’s Version) – Robert Goulet
  4. Zurg’s Planet
  5. Wheezy and the Yard Sale
  6. Woody’s Been Stolen
  7. Chicken Man
  8. Woody’s Dream
  9. Jessie and the Roundup Gang
  10. Woody’s a Star
  11. Let’s Save Woody
  12. Off to the Museum
  13. Talk to Jessie
  14. The Cleaner
  15. Al’s Toy Barn
  16. Emperor Zurg vs. Buzz
  17. Use Your Head
  18. Jessie’s in Trouble
  19. Ride Like the Wind
  20. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Instrumental) – Tom Scott

Tracks 4-19 are score tracks

Randy Newman, Toy Story 3: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records (digital), 2010)

  1. We Belong Together
  2. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Para el Buzz Español) – Gipsy Kings
  3. Cowboy!
  4. Garbage?
  5. Sunnyside
  6. Woody Bails
  7. Come to Papa
  8. Go See Lotso
  9. Bad Buzz
  10. You Got Lucky
  11. Spanish Buzz
  12. What About Daisy?
  13. To the Dump
  14. The Claw
  15. Going Home
  16. So Long
  17. Zu-Zu (Ken’s Theme)

Tracks 3-17 are score tracks

Written by Mike Duquette

June 18, 2010 at 15:22

3 Responses

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  1. Looking forward to seeing TS3 this weekend! I’m not a huge fan of Newman, but I do appreciate his songwriting chops… I also think he’s done a fantastic job as a film composer. I’ll even forgive him for his Monsters, Inc. song sounding almost exactly “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”!

    Shaun

    June 18, 2010 at 19:08

  2. Just back from the film, which is expectedly breathtaking. But it’s hard to forgive Disney for once again slapping film music enthusiasts in the face with their digital-only release of Newman’s soundtrack (Michael Giacchino’s Oscar-winning score to UP was similarly shafted). I suspect this has something to do with Steve Jobs’ prominence at Pixar/Disney and Apple, that king of all digital music providers. Disney has to know that film score buffs are among the most vocal proponents of physical media. (Heck, if I had my way, we’d see more scores released in 5.1 DVD-A/Blu-Ray format.)

    Ah well, I guess we’ll have to settle for this week’s release of TOY STORY FAVORITES, containing the new 2 songs from the movie (a Randy Newman original, “We Belong Together,” and the Gipsy Kings’ cover of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”) plus 2 songs from each of the other 2 films. SIGH…

    Joe Marchese

    June 18, 2010 at 21:10

    • Haven’t seen it myself yet (thank goodness I have a day off from work tomorrow), but I must echo Joe about the bittersweetness of getting a digital-only score. Although it’s nice to get what looks like the complete score (something that doesn’t always happen on a physical release), it’s odd that Disney is so anti-physical product (a stance which made “Up” probably the only Oscar-winning score without a CD release).

      And I’ll say it a billion times: Disney needs to up the ante with their catalogue presence. More than any label/brand in the world, they have a massive built-in audience – not audiophiles but hardcore collectors of Disneyana in general. If classic film scores with very broad appeal can get released from the indie score labels, Disney could easily set up a catalogue label, release titles with insanely broader appeal, and make bank every time.

      Mike Duquette

      June 18, 2010 at 23:38


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