Frankenweenie Unleashed! is not a soundtrack. Instead, it is “music from and inspired by” Tim Burton’s film Frankenweenie, and, as they say on the cover, it contains “14 electrifying music experiments,” with some “experiments” being more successful than others.
Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) starts things strongly with her track Strange Love, a seriously sweet and quirky little tune. It’s also one of only two songs on this compilation that appears in the film. Sadly, with the exception of the last two tracks, the rest of the album isn’t quite as endearing. Tracks by Neon Trees and Mark Foster (Foster The People) keep things going along nicely enough. It’s when you hit Passion Pit’s Almost There that things go downhill for a while. The song just doesn’t quite fit with the previous three tunes. It could be argued that that’s the nature of compilation albums; however, given the common inspiration for these songs this one just doesn’t sit neatly. An interesting inclusion is Plain White T’s cover of The Ramones’ Pet Sematary, as The Ramones recorded for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. With the potential to take that great song even further, they have sadly taken the safest – and dullest – route possible, turning it into a stale colour-by-numbers indie tune. That is quickly forgotten (in more ways than one) thanks to Kimbra’s horrendous contribution.
The remainder of the album improves, but doesn’t match O’s contribution until you hit Robert Smith’s (The Cure) unique cover of Witchcraft and Winona Ryder’s Praise Be New Holland (the only other track used in the film).
You don’t have to be a Tim Burton fan to enjoy this compilation, but it sure helps.
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