"Composers always seem to exude an unbridled jubilation
with the music they create for animation. Conversely, nothing
seems to inspire animators more keenly than truly great music,
with the Disney classic Fantasia and the less celebrated, but
even better Italian production, Allegro non Troppo, being prime
Perhaps it is the entirely abstract expressiveness of both
music and animation that accounts for this wonderful symbiosis.
Whatever the reason, Randy Newman appears to have caught the Bug
– A Bug’s Life, James and the Giant Peach, and Toy
Stories 1 and 2 have all benefited from his evocative aural
landscapes in recent years.
Here, despite lacking the synergy of sound and visuals
combined, the Toy Story 2 soundtrack stands alone astonishingly
well. It begins with three infectiously melodic songs including a
rootin’ tootin’, fine fiddlin’ barn-dance
performed by Riders in the Sky; a beautifully crafted lament
– with a touchingly poignant vocal by Sarah McLachlan –
for that platonic, unconditional and enchantingly innocent love
which is ignored by the morass of cliched pop songs; and a joyous
big band swing fronted by the resonant baritone of Robert Goulet
and later reprised in instrumental form with the crisp, muscular
saxophone of Tom Scott.
The orchestral score is even better and just as accessible.
From the first post-songs track, Zurg’s Planet –
featuring a bolero figure that is a cute nod Gustav Holst --
bursts of brass interweave with cascading strings, percussive
garnishments and whispers of woodwind to render an aural creation
that is as magically delightful as a child’s favourite toy;
and just like that favourite toy, this soundtrack has only one
demand: Hit the play button."