OVERALL GRADE: B
Three-, six-, and seven-year-old listeners were not interested in this CD at first beyond the picture of the Iron Giant on the cover, but once the blues and jazz motifs were pointed out to them, they became more curious. "Salt Peanuts," for instance, a Chipmunks-style song in which helium-voiced singers nearly obliterate a terrific Dizzy Gillespie solo, could be very annoying to anyone who doesn't know the musical tradition. Similarly, the Coasters' monotonous "Searchin'" (a dreadful, buzzing recording) will appeal much more to people already familiar with its musical style.
Songs like "Blast Off," "Rockin' in the Orbit" (which pairs big band sound with spaced-out whistles and beeps) and the very funny "I Got a Rocket In My Pocket" have broader appeal. The suggestive lyrics in the latter and in Jimmie Rodgers' "Honeycomb" will go over the heads of younger listeners, but adults may get a kick out of the more restrained, witty sexual terms used in proto-rock-and-roll. "Cha-Hua-Hua" sounds a lot like "Rock Around the Clock," while the Beatnik lyrics of "Kookie's Mad Pad" aren't quite like anything contemporary listeners are likely to be familiar with.
The film is better than the soundtrack, but THE IRON GIANT is still worth a listen to anyone feeling nostalgic for the space-era songs of Sputnik and the Cold War. John Waters' HAIRSPRAY offers a similar soundtrack of forgotten gems.
Kids: Six- and seven-year-old listeners became bored quickly with this CD, which will make more of an impact on children whose parents explain the musical history it reflects.
Adults: This nostaltic CD is really for adults, though the movie itself is appropriate for children.
Most of the tracks on this CD were originally recorded between 1957 and 1962. Lou Donaldson's "Blues Walk" provides an excellent opportunity to explain the blue note to young musicians; several other tracks feature distinctive jazz and big band sounds. This makes an excellent introduction to the musical styles of the late 1950s.
Several of the songs on THE IRON GIANT soundtrack were intended to be danced to and have infectious rhythms. Some may strike rock fans as monotonous, however. The final, instrumental pieces contain ominous musical themes and are not really appropriate for calming children after the spirited earlier songs.
1. Blast Off - Play
2. Rockin In the Orbit - Car
3. Kookie's Mad Pad - Car
4. Salt Peanuts - Play
5. Comin' Home Baby - Play
6. Cha-Hua-Hua - Play
7. Let's Do the Cha-Cha - Car
8. Blues Walk - Quiet
9. I Got a Rocket In My Pocket - Play
10. Searchin' - Car
11. Honeycomb - Play
12. Destination Moon - Car
13. You Can Be... - Quiet
14. ...Who You Choose To Be - Quiet