Soundtrack Review: ALMOST ALICE (ALICE IN WONDERLAND)
I have always been a fan of Alice and the world of Wonderland. It captured that perfect sense of magic and whimsy you have as a kid that makes you think that maybe you could fall down a rabbit hole and discover a whole new world. ALMOST ALICE takes that idea of magic and whimsy and gives us a collection of new songs that are just that.
What is especially unique about this collection is that, even if you recognize some of the artists who contributed, every song is an original, but they all relate to some portion of the story that is ALICE IN WONDERLAND. The songs range from the idea of running late to taking pills that make you large or small to painting the flowers. These story arcs and themes can also be thought of in a broader context, which I felt added an extra layer and set them apart from just relating to the film. It is an eclectic and varied mix that includes all different genres of music from rock to pop to folk to R&B.
While listening to the soundtrack, I felt that it was the perfect precursor to seeing the film, as it hit on different parts of the story that I had forgotten about and reignited my excitement to see this new take on Alice. Much like the story, the music ranges in emotion from uplifting to fun to melancholy to off-putting to outright bizarre. One of my favorite songs was “The Poison” by the All-American Rejects, as it seems to be a more mellow song to lull you in and then it picks up towards the end to keep you off-kilter. I particularly loved the lyrics of this song because they were all about the way different contradictions play off each other.
Kerli’s “Tea Party” is a fun and upbeat track that plays on the whole idea of being at a mad hatter tea party of total mayhem and silliness. I especially enjoyed that it included a lyric from the children’s teapot song “tip me over and pour me out” which echoed in the chorus. It was a fun reminder that in the end, this is essentially a children’s story.
Wolfmother turns in their spin with “Fell Down a Hole” which includes driving guitar riffs and sounded like a classic rock anthem. In contrast, Grace Porter and the Nocturnals’ “White Rabbit” is a more of a folksy turn and 30H!3 answer the question of what kind of music would play in a Wonderland dance club with “Follow Me Down."
I was a little put off by Robert Smith’s “Very Good Advice,” in which the singing slows at certain points and almost seems as though Smith is just speaking rather than singing. It works in the context of the film and the fact that when it comes to Wonderland, anything goes, nothing is quite as it seems and that which seems out of place, is actually the norm. “Her Name is Alice” by Shinedown takes this idea to the next extreme and pulls actual read lines that bookend the song. The song itself is a strong rock ballad, but the spoken lines took away from the impact of the song.
Overall, I found this to be a really fun compilation of songs and it made me feel like I had fallen into and was exploring Wonderland. If there is any portion of the story of Alice you relate to, there is a song here that you will identify with. For any of us that have felt the urge to fall down that rabbit hole, this soundtrack gives you that extra push into the world that would await you.
This soundtrack is available through Walt Disney Records.
1. “Alice” – Avril Lavigne
2. “The Poison” – The All-American Rejects
3. “The Technicolor Phase” – Owl City
4. “Her Name is Alice” – Shinedown
5. “Painting Flowers” – All Time Low
6. “Where’s My Angel” – Metro Station
7. “Strange” – Tokio Hotel & Kerli
8. “Follow Me Down” – 30H!3 featuring Neon Hitch
9. “Very Good Advice” – Robert Smith
10. “In Transit” – Mark Hoppus with Pete Wentz
11. “Welcome to Mystery” – Plain White T’s
12. “Tea Party” – Kerli
13. “The Lobster Quadrille” – Franz Ferdinand
14. “Always Running Out of Time” – Motion City Soundtrack
15. “Fell Down a Hole” – Wolfmother
16. “White Rabbit” – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
*Writer's Note: There was a bit of confusion regarding my wording at the beginning of this review. By "original," I meant that these selections had not been previously recorded or released by these particular artists prior to their inclusion in "Almost Alice." Sorry for any confusion!
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