After a number of false starts and unfortunate delays, September finally saw the release of the original soundtrack album for Disney’s smash animated series Phineas and Ferb. As this is one of only a handful of shows that continually garners nigh-universal acclaim from GeekDads across the board, I was thrilled when our PR contact was able to secure me a copy for review.
Less a typical cartoon than a cleverly self-aware animated sitcom with unabashed musical tendencies, the world of Phineas and Ferb is positively packed with songs that are both fun and engaging for children and adults. Upon the album’s arrival, I was pleased to discover in the track listing a great number of my family’s favorite selections from the show’s first season, as well as a handful from season two standout episodes like “Phineas and Ferb Get Busted” and “Unfair Science Fair Redux (Another Story).”
The album kicks off with a new take on the show’s traditional theme song. “Today Is Gonna Be a Great Day,” a track that properly debuted in the recently aired “Phineas and Ferb’s Quantum Boogaloo,” is an extended take on the theme written by Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup but based on Marsh and Povenmire‘s core song concept. While it would’ve been nice to have the original intro ditty on the album, this version is both significantly lengthier and much more polished.
From there listeners are treated to the prefab pop of “Gitchee Gitchee Goo” and the island rhythms of “Backyard Beach,” two of the show’s more popular numbers which, while likewise gussied up for the album-proper, make the jump with all the charm fans might expect. However, the soundtrack truly hits its stride with the soulful “Busted,” featuring stunning vocals from Ashley Tisdale (as Candace Flynn) and Olivia Olson (as Vanessa Doofenshmirtz) and an uninterrupted rendition of the James Bond-flavored “Perry the Platypus Theme.” Ridiculous urban dance parody “S.I.M.P. (Squirrels In My Pants)” follows, and is even credited to its in-show source, 2 GuyZ N the Parque.
The album continues to genre hop from 80′s pop (“I’m Lindana and I Wanna Have Fun”) to sticky-sweet 60′s garage (“My Nemesis”) to the song-and-dance stylings of mad scientist extraordinaire Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (“My Goody Two-Shoes Brother,”), adding another level of eclectic enjoyment to parents already weary of cookie-cutter kids’ music. There is the occasional misstep, for example the inclusion of the comparatively unremarkable “Disco Miniature Golfing Queen” from the episode “Put That Putter Away,” but even that brief diversion is quickly righted with the help of the whimsical “My Undead Mummy and Me.”
Yet somehow, amongst all the good-natured silliness, the album even manages some genuine emotional resonance. Tisdale’s delivery on “I Love You Mom,” is earnest and sweet and – after a brief punk rock interlude in the form of The Bettys’ “Ready For The Bettys” – Danny Jacob‘s take on (the admittedly ridiculous premise of) losing one’s nemesis, “When We Didn’t Get Along,” responds in kind. Of course, the genius of the malleable songwriting style of Phineas and Ferb‘s musical brain trust makes sure that these numbers manage to fit perfectly even amid the butt-rock of “He’s A Bully” and the AM honky-tonk of “Truck Drivin’ Girl.”
“Do Nothing Day” is another odd choice, but is followed by ever-pleasing blues banger “E.V.I.L. B.O.Y.S.” and the dance rock of Bobby Fabulous‘s own anthem “Fabulous.” After charming listeners with the sweetly ludicrous “Little Brothers” – chorus-hook: “Little brothers, cause you’re younger, we’re related, and you’re boys” – the Phineas and Ferb OST treats us to a pair of astronomically-themed numbers, “Let’s Take A Rocket Ship To Space” and “Queen Of Mars,” before winding down with hard-hitting work song “Chains On Me.”
The soundtrack’s closers are easily some of its best, selections that children will easily remember from their favorite episodes and songs that even adults unfamiliar with the series will find humorous and well-composed. The electro-funk of “Phinedroids and Ferbots” and soulful rocker “Ain’t Got Rhythm” lead us to our final destination: fictional hair band Love Händel‘s runaway hit “You Snuck Your Way Right into My Heart.” And, folks, if the lyrics “Like a ninja of love repelling down from above / You snuck your way right into my heart” don’t brighten your school day commute, then the problem clearly lies deeper in your carpool’s configuration.
The Phineas and Ferb Soundtrack, like the show that spawned it, is a masterwork of mass appeal. It features what can be best described as kids’ music of the highest order; not only are the songs pitch-perfect pop nuggets, but the overall ebb and flow of the album itself is exquisite. With the average track length somewhere in the neighborhood of a minute and a half and some 26 songs to choose from, it manages to capture the attention of younger listeners without ever boring us grown-ups. I also have to give it up for Walt Disney Records for including the 27th track “F-Games” as an unlockable online bonus for fans that purchase the CD version of the album, but, whether your choice is digital or physical, the soundtrack is well worth the price of admission.
Sure, there are a couple songs that didn’t exactly move my fickle brood and a few more that I would’ve loved to hear included – the infectious “Evil Love,” for example, or Love Händel’s ludicrous redux entitled “I Couldn’t Kick My Way Right Into Her Heart” – but this is easily the most entertaining children’s music album in my family’s fairly expansive collection. I highly recommend that you add it to yours, and, to that end, I am pleased to proclaim The Phineas and Ferb Soundtrack as a recipient of the coveted GeekDad stamp of approval.
See, I even attached it to this post with the help of our patented GeekDad Seal-of-Approval-inator. /in joke
WIRED: boasts dozens of delightful and entertaining tunes from the show, competently produced and superbly performed by the original voice cast, CD version features downloadable bonus track available from Disney’s “Unlock More Rock” web site
TIRED: “I’m Lindana and I Wanna Have Fun” is so catchy that you might get caught singing along with it at work and find yourself the laughingstock of your office suite. I’m just sayin’.