By Mike Fordham
Instead of featuring arbitrary songs and artists, the SpongeBob SquarePants soundtrack boasts songs from an eclectic lineup of artists. Of course, there are tunes sung by SpongeBob and crew, but there's a shocking amount of noteworthy artists on the disc. Groups such as the Shins, the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Motorhead, Prince Paul, and Ween all make appearances.
Most of the songs featuring the film's characters fall into the take it or leave it category. Fans and children will love them while anyone else will hit the skip button. The grooving bounce of the sing-along "The Goofy Goober Song" is bolstered by Mike Simpson (half of producers the Dust Brothers). The movie version of the theme song is amusing if only to hear a full orchestra belting the familiar song. The cute "Goofy Goober Rock" may seem familiar to older listeners since it borrows from Twisted Sister's hit "I Wanna Rock."
What really is intriguing to a college audience, however, is the slew of indie-oriented acts that dot this soundtrack. Indie sensations the Shins offer "They'll Soon Discover," yet another shining nugget of their signature indie pop. Wilco checks in with "Just A Kid," which features frontman Jeff Tweedy's son Spencer on drums. Judging by the youngster's adept drumming, musical genes have been passed on in the Tweedy family. The song itself finds Wilco harnessing more straightforward rock, reminiscent of their early material. "Spongebob and Patrick Confront The Psychic Wall of Energy" comes courtesy of trippy rockers the Flaming Lips. Synthesizers and flutes wash in and out of this whimsical number. A sense of innocence and wonder emanates from the song (much like the rest of the Lips' catalogue). Indie rapper Prince Paul leads "Prince Paul's Bubble Party," sneaking in G-rated raps amongst a tropical sound.
Lemmy and the rest of Motorhead bring their charging British metal on "You Better Swim." This song sticks out from the soundtrack since Lemmy's gruff growl does not fit with an animated sponge. "Bikini Bottom," from the German electro-garage duo Electrocute, is high on kitsch. Sadly, the song sounds dated with electroclash past its prime.
Love or hate the show, the soundtrack is a pleasant, fun-filled listen. There is enough here to keep anyone amused and excited for awhile. Hopefully, children (and older fans) will buy the album for SpongeBob and get into some of the great acts featured here.